by George Dyke

Close to 50 Citroën enthusiasts attended the Ottawa Citroën Club Annual Meeting last weekend.  Once again it was a 3 day event, but this year held at a new location; Jaro & Betzy Dvorsky’s farm about 20 minutes north of Ottawa in Quebec’s Gatineau Hills.

View a full photo gallery of the event here.

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It was an informal gathering and really that’s one of the charming things about it.  People arrive and socialize, park in the meadow and camp if they wish.  Others stay at a local motel, and some like Simon Walker and myself from Toronto, made a day trip on Saturday to attend the main events.  (It was a bit of a jaunt but actually a pleasure in my SM.  Just 4-1/2 hours and such a sweet ride!).  At least half the participants came from the Montreal area.  And Paul and Lorraine Riccardi came all the way from Durham New Hampshire, with their Mehari in tow!

As in past years, there were the Citroën Games on Saturday afternoon, a BBQ dinner Saturday night and a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning.  This year though, things were cranked up a notch.

Bob McLeod, who organizes the games, was able to use the vast meadow at Jaro’s to stage two racing events;  First was an obstacle course of pylons mapped out on the turning circle of a 2CV with two physical co-ordination challenges and a more lengthly figure 8 course that could be driven at a reasonably high speed.   Pairs were selected; a driver and passenger that did the co-ordination challenge.  For the co-ordination challenge portion, the co-driver had to drop five 2CV seat “donuts” (the rubber seat rings that have 2 hooks) one at a time onto a wine bottle on the ground.  The second challenge was to for the co-driver to thread coloured nuts (in the colours of the French flag) onto a bolt but do it blindfolded with verbal direction from the driver.   This race was won by won by Eric deHaen and Steevie Lavoie in a 2CV.

The second event was a dual race where 2 Citroëns race together on a mirrored slalom course.  To win you needed to cross the final cone in first place 2 consecutive times!   The winner was Jaro in his 602cc 2CV narrowly beating out Christian Thurler in his DS21.  But kudos to Bruce Grant who did the course in his 425cc 2CV and managed to finish in third place!

The BBQ dinner was enhanced to a Mechoui this year with a full spit-roasted lamb being the featured item complemented with a tasty selection of home-style salads, and Baklava for dessert.   And free beer was provided by Ottawa Club members who donated a few cases of Kronenbourg 1664 given to them by the company when they agreed to provide a few of their Citroëns for a local promotional event.

After dinner a bonfire was started while Gerard La Rochelle serenaded the group with his guitar and the songs of Felix Leclaire.  Awards were handed out for the games, and then door prizes were given to virtually all present.

Sunday morning offered those that stayed over a chance to taste Jaro’s succulent cheese and onion omelet with coconut oil made with farm fresh eggs, – a pure delight especially with the exceptional breads, jams, and coffee.  There were even a couple of new arrivals, who came up just for the Sunday.

For the rest of the morning participants <relaxed at the farm and discussed all manner of subjects around the still-roaring campfire.  Michel Larouche finished up the last of his repairs on customers cars, under the admiring eyes of many participants.

As always, the Ottawa Citroën Club gathering serves as a wonderful way in August to socialize with Citroën friends in a relaxed and fun-filled manner!   A big thanks to Jaro & Betzy for their wonderful hospitality!   I’m looking forward to next year!    🙂