A look back at RAID Canada 1986

Here are some photos of Raid Canada 1986 that Greg Long had from when he lived in Toronto at the time.  They were taken at the end of Polson St. overlooking the Toronto harbourfront.  As you can see, more than just 2CVs participated.  There was even a H Van on the trip.  Imagine driving that across Canada.  The occupants must have been deaf by Sault Ste Marie!

(Click on any image to enlarge.)

Raid Canada 2   Raid Canada 3   Raid Canada 4   Raid Canada 5   Raid Canada 1

The long low building in the background was where John Long had his offices for Quadravision.  And those offices would also serve as headquarters for Escargot Motorcars that John and Greg would go on the create to sell “new refurbished” 2CV’s.  You can read more about Escargot here:

We also located this article by Chris Adshead chronicling the RAID Canada adventure:

From Citroen Autoclub Canada (West Coast) Newsletter – June 1986:
Raid Canada Update; Doreen Caspersen has kindly volunteered to be the clubs “social events organizer”-Thanks Doreen. She will be co-ordinating the Banquet at the end of the event, also those members who would like to join the Raid in progress, or in the interior of B.C. if you prefer, please contact her. There is an order form/explanation sheet enclosed with this newsletter, regarding the Banquet. Space is limited so let her know as soon as possible if you would like to be involved. Doreen’s address is; Ste 313 65 First St., New Westminster B.C. V3L 5K9. Phone 526 6312.

From Citroen Autoclub Canada (West Coast) Newsletter – September 1986:

RAID CANADA (OR Why Are We Here and Not in Hollywood?)

There are many memories I’ll cherish from this cross Canada Citroen run. One is of Manfred Schrade and his often used remark “Why, Chris (or Vickie, Beat, Albi, etc.), you are Here and not in Hollywood!” There was Kent counting the number of times we heard “Have a nice day!” This became one of the group’s catch phrases, 467 wasn’t it? T he main catch phrase was however, “What kind of car is that…?”  We could retire on the proceeds at $1.00 a question. On RAID USA back in 1982, Arild (from Norway), stopped at a light in New York
and a low-rider slunk up along side.  The driver opened his window and looked up at Arild, who beat him to the question.  The young driver looked most perplexed but answered, “Hey it’s a Chebby, man!” So I pulled up to the gas pump in Spragge and was served my fill up. The attendant politely asked if he could check the oil. “Yes, Thanks.” He promptly opened the trunk! “What are you doing in the trunk?” “Oh!”, he stammered, “the engine is in the front of this bug.” While checking the oil he told me his friend re‑built these bugs but he had never seen one with the engine in the front. So, after paying I said that he would have to tell his friend that he had seen a front engine/front drive Bug. “Yes.”, he said. I would love to have heard the outcome. “But, honest, I saw it!”    “B… S… !”

Anyway, the Raid started in Montreal on July 20, 1986 where we all met at the Belvedere Motel. It was organized by Adam Rief of the Deux Chevaux Club of the U.S.A. There were several visitors who came out to see us on our way.  There were SMs, DSs, and one incredible homemade “Woody” 2CV that featured bits of DS. Bertrand Sirol, our local member was present. He ended up taking more time with us than planned as three of the French 2CVs were still at sea. Organizing a rental car for the owners, he kept us company en route through Ontario. Eventually the cars arrived in Montreal and a mad dash ensued to pick up those last three Ducks and catch up with us at Ben’s Black Bear Camp. During our stay in Montreal some people, it is rumoured, discovered the taste of Seagrams whiskey at a party they put on for the Raid people, while others sampled Glenfiddick. We won’t mention that some chaps were trying to sleep off jet lag while this was going on. We had the first banquet where new friendships were started, and old ones renewed. It was wonderful to see so many Raid USA people had decided to go on this run, joined by a large showing of French 2CV enthusiasts, more Americans (than on Raid USA), but unfortunately, no Dutch or Finns. We even had an Aussie along. Mark’s Acadian had been fixed up in Britain with right hand drive, fancy paint and lots of thought.    It really hopped along as it had been converted, not to propane gas but to Fosters Lager and gets how many miles per can?

Montreal was a delight. We had lots of fun and it is on the list of places for future trips. Leaving town we stopped in to see Steve Aillerie at Pierre Experauto Ltee, who is the local Citroen agent. Parked in the yard was a CX (for sale) with    Palma de Mallorca license plates (see Sell’n Swap) and a working 1972 DS Taxi still in everyday use. Small groups of cars headed into Ontario and first stop for many was Upper Canada Village. We did not travel in convoy across the country with all the cars together (except on a few occassions) as it is too cumbersome. It was fun to travel in 2s – 3s – 45 and often heard the comment “What is this, a car club run?” or “Your friends passed through already!” or “How many of them things are there?” There were (give or take) 28 cars with 72 people including 10 children. The cars were 2CV sedans, vans, an H van, an Ami and miscellaneous DS models coming and going; well one made it all the way there and back. (So how does your husband like the customized door, Elsie?)

The Toronto campground was situated on the Niagara Falls side of town. Yes, they are spectacular. Some of the cars did not want to park so far away so they stopped right by the Falls. When asked to move on, they proceeded to photograph the cars, falls, and each other with the explanation, “but we make official pictures for Citroen factory.” It worked!! Unlike a few days later when five cars pulled up under the Big Nickle at Sudbury only to get screamed at by an irate employee. But we kept taking photos while Doreen kept the lady talking.

Toronto interview and German team

The second night in Toronto was a Buffet Barbeque hosted by Helena Mitchell and John Long. They did a wonderful job. The side chosen was excellent as it was right in Toronto harbour with the city skyline as a backdrop. CBC Television was there to tape us for the Journal and this was to be the first of several times we appeared on TV. Leaving Toronto we headed to Restoule, and then on to the KOA in Spragge. Next scheduled was a day of rest with no driving. Some people were smart enough to say no thanks to the proposed, quote, ‘2CV convoy on a 65 km Triangle Route (which leads to the question, how many sides does a triangle have, Adam?) from Spragge to Elliot Lake via 128 Route, then to Iron Bridge via route 546, then back to Spragge. Perhaps well picnic along the way.” Unquote. The next time Gerd and Romy say they’ll stay in a campground and not go on such an outing I’ll listen. So like lambs to the slaughter we headed off on what turned out to be a disasterous, misguided day. (Pun intended). It started off on the highway, then secondary roads, then gravel, then cart track, then…cops…footpath. We did at this stage have a nice hike to see a 300 year old tree standing alone amongst the scrubs or was it a 300 foot high tree? After mass confusion of backing up 20+ Citroens we headed off only to find the road got narrower and narrower until we came to a big puddle. By now we had driven across some truly terrible dirt roads and had had to help push some vehicles up one hill. (Except for Geoff, Eunice, Darren and Mark, who went up the hill like it was a Sunday drive to Brighton.) It was then that two fellows in a huge 4 x 4 came up behind us, amazed that these “… damned little pip squeak cars dun made it so far up here!” We were not pleased with the news that the “road” did not lead back to blacktop–turn around you say? We all made it back to the campsite and most people spent the evening cleaning and fixing. It was awesome how much dust can get inside a car, even into a closed suitcase.    In fairness, this was the only problem on the run and looking back, it was kinda fun, and we got some great photos of the 2CV dust makers. It also had the effect of welding together the group as this was a shared hardship experience, crossing language and national boundaries.

Sudbury & Adam's Tree

The following day was Adam Rief’s birthday. He was feeling unhappy as his formerly reliable old DS wagon had given up the ghost, so we did not lynch him. Ursula and Kate, from Switzerland, made a birthday candle for him from Citroen tail light lenses. Next it was on to White Lake Provincial Park, Sibley Provincial Park, and then Dinorwic, Ontario and the famed Ben’s Black Bear Camp. Yes, you guessed it, the owner is Ben and there are bears. It must have been here that the moose and bear jokes. started and they continued until Vancouver. Charles Lambert bought a “bearhead” cap and some of the Americans and Fred from England bought Hmooseheadn hats. We really didn’t need to fear anything as Dennis Smith brought his German Shepard, Ace, along. Uschi got the ultimate bear souvenir with her polar bear shaped Yukon license plate. Ben turned out to be a great guy and hosted a fish fry with the help of some of the other campers. The food as excellent and the surroundings peaceful and right on the lake. That evening in the south-eastern sky we were treated to a light show (thunderstorm) that even Expo could not rival.

The next day we motored through Kenora and on to two lovely relaxed days at the Ramada Inn
in Winnipeg. You’ll have to wait until next month to read the rest of our adventures. You will find out why 72+ people ran into a church in Winnipeg saying God it’s raining out tnere: also why Jose didn’t get his grille, and you’ll find out who Rosy was–but why was she sitting on Alan Meyers knee in a dimly lit bar?

NEXT MONTH: “On the Raid Again” (Or Was That an Earthquake or Steve Hill shaking the Van?)


From Citroen Autoclub Canada (West Coast) Newsletter – September 1986

ON THE RAID AGAIN! (OR Was That an Earthquake? – Or Steve Hill Shaking the Van?)

On the way into Winnipeg we all met at the sign of the parked GS. There was a camera crew from the CBC French network present to film us for that night’s news. We then convoyed, en mass with help from the CB equipped 2CVs to the Ramada Inn. What,an oasis!! The local Citroen enthusiasts made us welcome, we had a BBQ in the garden of Blair’s home but then
the rains came–there was a mad dash to the church next door where coffee and cake was served. Thanks, Blair, for all your effort. Having lived in Winnipeg from 1967 to 1971, it was interesting to see how the city had improved. Member Jose Rosa brought his 1970 2CV sedan along and I realized it was the same car I’d seen and lusted after back then. The AK250 van we owned was quite tired at this time and is even more so now as it functions as a “garden shed”. We were joined in Winnipeg by Claude (Double Decker) Hermans and we lost Dee Baccus and Doreen who both had other things to do. Doreen rejoined the Raid in Peachland with Die Do (her 2CV).

So, who was Rosy? In the bar at the Ramada Inn a band was playing. Part way through the show the lead guitarist came out in a long nightgown vamping up a storm, sitting on guys’ knees singing and carrying on. Yes, he was heavy!

Why didn’t Jose get his grille? Ask Miss Vicky.

Leaving the Ramada Inn, with its generous supplies of hot water for showers, we headed bravely westward towards the mountains. It was a relatively easy drive to Portage la Prairie where we heard for the 321st time, “Have a Nice Day!” Riding Mountain Provincial Park was the night’s destination and we arrived to find that Wasagaming was awash-a-tourists due to a long weekend and the whole area had descended upon this small lakeside community. Our fearless leader fought through the bureaucracy to find us a great spot by some Army cadet cabins. The evening was made by a certain person in an AK400 van (with English license plates) who had to get help changing her tires, complaining that she didn’t know how to do it, almost conned two dupes and a specialist into doing the job for her. The specialist neatly placed the wheel over the three studs after showing how it should be held and centred. Then having got it nicely in place, removed it and said, “OK, now let’s see you do it!” Wonderful what we learn in the fading prairie sunlight. The evening ended with a singsong around the campfire, as did many evenings, to the music of Albi’s Samba Whistle.

Next stop was Wynyard, Saskatchewan where Regina member Gary Howland and family joined us in their CV. The following night was spent in the thriving metropolis of Lashburn, Sask. Don’t laugh — – for those people who chose not to stay at this campground they missed the gay nightlife at the Ashburn Cafe, (Manfred is a mean Pool player), and best of all the Northern Lights. Having never seen them before we were all really impressed. They also missed the FREE ‘I love Saskatchewan’ bumper_stickers at the local Turbo gas station. Since returning to Vancouver, we get lots of friendly waves from folks in “normal” cars with Saskatchewan license plates.

EDMONTON!!! Before making our way to the West Edmonton Mall we paid our respects to the people at Pioneer Motors. Their dealership is tidy, well run and they seem to have lots of Citroen parts stocked. (Elsie and I both spotted an enamel Citroen sign hanging in the parts department and unison said, “How much do you want for the sign?” We ended up buying it together and splitting it. No, she did not get “Cit” and I “roen”! It was a heavy double sided sign, so we both have a complete ‘Citroen” for our den walls. Before leaving Pioneer Motors four of us decided to meet for dinner at 6:00 p.m. in the mall outside the submarine ride. The West Edmonton Mall was entirely as advertised, unbelievable! As a result of people meeting each other from our group in the mall during the
day,’\when we arrived at 6 pm there was close to 40 Raid people milling around demanding to know who’d called the meeting! We sensibly adjourned to the British pub for dinner and imported draft beer.

That night at Stoney Plain was truly the revenge of the mosquitos. Poor Lisa suffered terribly. The residual effects were so severe that by the night of the banquet in Vancouver her hair had changed colour. If you don’t believe me ask anyone who was there.

Ah the mountains! Jasper, land of bears and little metal huts to put your food in at night. Don’t leave it in a soft top car or worse a tent. We shared our campsite with two minibus loads ofWest Germans from Nurnberg – we guessed they were from the tax department when they noticed, immediately upon arrival, that one of our German cars didn’t have a particular sticker. Commented owner of the offending 2CV, “Typical German bureaucrats!” The next day was spent exploring the area. Some canoed, some rode horses, some hiked, some went white water rafting and one just lay in the hammock. South to Castle Mountain and Banff. We drove by ancient receding glaciers, “wild” mountain goats and Lake Louise. The campsite that night was the scene of perhaps our loudest and best singalong to celebrate Max’s birthday. Thanks to Christian we learnt the words to some French drinking songs and carried on well into the night as we knew the next day was one of rest and exploration in the area. Brian joined us in Banff and quickly became an accepted member, probably due to his knowledge of the words to the song ‘Frere Jacques’, not to mention some rugby songs.  On to Peachland, B.C. Quote “This is a very long day driving (535 km) so get an early start from Castle Mountain.” This turned out for me to be the best single day’s drive. The gradual change of scenery made it a most rewarding day via #1 to Revelstoke (with its impressive Hydro Dam Project) and #97 south through the Okanagon. Yes, we did stop to do some wine tasting and fruit buying. During the nights in Peachland we were visited by 2CV owners, Tom Anderson from Summerland, and Thijs Dohnt from Peachland. Two beautiful Charlestons from Washington state joined us for the final drive to Vancouver. Water-skiing, swimming and Andre’s birthday were enjoyed along with gallons of ice cream, cake and local wine at the last night of camping’s “bring-your-own-meat BBQ”. Lots of fun!

Finally the last day on the road into Vancouver back on home turf. Sad? a little. Fun? you bet. For me the holiday ended at this point but for the others it was a chance to explore the world’s most beautiful city (just a little prejudice, you say?) and Expo 86. The last Hurrah was a banquet at the International Plaza with prizes, gifts for some, an excellent dinner and dancing. Adam had his leg pulled by Albi, Uli and Beat with the presentation of a special tree as a memento of “Raid Elliot Lake”. It was also a time for frantically swapping addresses, saying goodbyes, and the evening ended when Henri led us all in a song, which naturally flowed into Auld Lang Syne in 3 languages.

On Friday morning before people dispersed and went their separate ways there was a final chance to be on TV with CBC in Stanley Park. Then It truly was over.

Anyone for Portugal, 7th World Meeting of 2CV Friends, July 1987? How about Raid Australia 1988?

UPDATE:  Thomas Anderson of British Columbia sent us the following photos he has kept all these years, most of them taken at a campground in Peachland:

Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 11   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 10   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 9   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 8  Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 7   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 6   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 5   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 4   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 3   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 2   Canada RAID 1986 - Peachland 1

1 comment

  1. Hello
    I participated to the raid Canada with the French team, I’d like to meet again Vicky and also Brian
    Is there someone who is still in touch with them ? Thanks
    Alexandra Komaniecki

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