by George Dyke

The 2nd Citroën Autoclub Canada Toronto Rally has held on May 15, and it looks like it will become an annual event!   Last year’s winner, Agnes Sesboue, helped plan the route for this years event.  In fact, that is what last year’s winner is supposed to do for the following year; – to keep the event not only fresh and different, but a perpetual challenge!

CAC Rally Group  Victory Team  View our full Photo Gallery

What also makes this event special is that we see family and friends come together, not just to admire the cars and socialize, (we certainly do that) but to actively participate.   The kids really make it fun.  Watching their excitement as they search along the way, or getting your energy level up to match their enthusiasm!   The weather cooperated as well.   It was cool, but not cold.  Overcast (so you didn’t cook in the sun), and zero rain!

This year the course commenced in High Park.   We searched for the Animal Farm and discovered that Llamas live an average of 20 years!  From there the course took us across the Toronto waterfront and through The Distillery District.   We then had to venture along Queen Street East, up across the Danforth and along Pottery Road to Bayview Extension.  Along the way there were dozens of Toronto specific things we had to take note of.   We learned about familiar places and discovered new details about parks, architectural landmarks and businesses that seemed to have eluded us over the years.  Did you know that construction on the the Bloor Street Viaduct over the Don Valley began in 1916?   And that it was a prominent feature in Michael Ondaatje’s novel, In the Skin of a Lion, a book that examines aspects of the working-class immigrant experience in Toronto in the early 20th century.

With the Garner Expressway closed for spring maintenance, and many other major routes also under construction, traffic was one factor that resulted in just 6 teams participating in the course.   But for the most part the route managed to avoid the heavy traffic jams, and we spent most of the time causing our own chaos as people gawked at a fairly rare sight; classic Citroëns dashing about town.

We continued along Rosedale Valley Road, and into the well preserved mansions of Rosedale.  Then along Yonge Street up to mid-townToronto where we snaked our way back through Dupont, Landsdowne and College streets into the Roncesvalles Village area and the High Park Curling Club, where we had a BBQ lunch of fresh local sausages, salad and chips (along with Saint André beer) and handed out prizes to every team!

Jeff Teerlinck (a recent CAC member from Belgium who has lived in Toronto for just two years) and 2 French girls (Ilda Benramen and Alicia Mathis) only two days into a month’s vacation here, managed to win the rally!   That was quite a surprise!   Go figure!!   Just goes to show you, we need events like this so Toronto members can know our city better!  Second place went to Ken and Frances McGuinness.  Yours truly and my wife Marijke managed a third place finish (the same as last year).

Doug Pengelly and Jennifer Webster organized the event again this year.   And they got Princess Auto involved, who sponsored the event, to  donate a cool all-in-one tool for everyone!   It takes a lot of effort to plan and document the course, get prizes and make us all a meal.   They worked behind the scenes as well while we were off driving about.   We really appreciate their selfless dedication, and their commitment to making this an annual event.  Hats off to both of you!

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