Citroën Autoclub Canada as we know it today was officially started in the fall of 1983, though our roots go back even further…
A Club was formed in British Columbia in 1973 under the name Citroën Autoclub Canada. Shortly thereafter a group called Citroën Autoclub Canada was also formed in Montreal, presumably after some dialogue with the west coast folks and a desire to have a common Canadian Club with regional entities. Robert Buchanan in Montreal took over editorship of their newsletter. (In our archives we have a newsletter from them from Fall 1976 and it is issue #14, indicating there must have been at least 3 years of newsletters from the group prior to that). The Montreal Citroën Autoclub Canada appeared to run out of steam in the spring of 1978. (We have their last newsletter in our archive, issue #18).
In the mid 1980s Chris and Monika Adshead brought the Club in British Columbia back to life and kept it alive till 1992. In 1993 the Club became part of the NWCOC (Northwest Citroën Owners Club) and is still alive in a sense as events are basically organized by John MacGregor in Vancouver still under the CAC name.
In 1972, there were some Citroën owners in Toronto that formed an informal local group. I’m talking about Jack Andrews, John Mazmanian, Norman Mackenzie, Glen Fryer, Victor Wagner, John Nesikaitas and Feddie Fix to name a few. I know this from an interview with Glen Fryer where he stated; “The Club emerged from a group of teachers in around 1972, some eleven years before the founding of CAC.” As Citroën had fully abandoned the Canadian market by 1974, these guys informally exchanged tips about keeping their Cits on the road and probably the locations of Citroëns that were sitting in driveways or abandoned somewhere because their owners had some sort of issue that they felt did not warrant spending any more money on them.
In 1983, the Toronto group issued a letter that was a call to form a Citroën Car Club. In that letter (which we have in our archives) it states “We are contacting you, determined to form a local (Toronto area) Citroën club or, better still, relocate Citroën Autoclub Canada in Toronto. They managed to do the latter. On October 25, 1983 the Citroën Autoclub Canada was established with 25 members attending. Glen Fryer was elected president, and Andy and Greg Lamb became involved in the club doing its newsletters in the early years. That club, operating as Citroën Autoclub Canada. has endured to this day. I’m the current president and have been since 2001. Victor Alksnis was president before me taking over from Glen Fryer in the early 1990’s.
How has CITROËNVIE evolved? Back in 2003 the Citroën Club of North America were having problems publishing their newsletter called Citroënthusiast. John McCulloch and I had taken over publishing duties of the Citroën Autoclub Canada newsletter in 2001 and had ramped up the publication to the point it was getting accolades from everyone who read it. We were also members of the CCNA and had watched their publication, the Citroënthusiast deteriorate over the past couple of years. I suggested to the CCNA executives at the time; Judith Reiter, president, Denis Foley, treasurer and his wife Lynne Gervase, who had done the CCNA newsletter for years but had to step away for health reasons, that we combine the two newsletters, offering a common newsletter to both organizations under the Citroënthusiast name. The clubs would remain district but Citroënthusiast would have content relevant to both clubs. They agreed and for the next 6 six years John and I edited and published Citroënthusiast.
In November 2008 I was informed by Denis Foley that the CCNA no longer wanted to do a co-publication effort. From what I have been able to ascertain, there was a feeling among some of the CCNA executives that a co-publication was a loss of identity for the CCNA and they wanted to take back control of the publication. History has not been kind to the CCNA from that point. They did publish Citroënthusiast for a couple of years, but it was hardly the newsletter is was when it was published by us. Ultimately they stopped publishing all together and the CCNA ceased operating in November 2010.
As we still wanted to keep our Citroën Autoclub Canada publishing efforts alive, once we were informed that CCNA wanted to go it alone with Citroënthusiast, we created our own magazine called CITROËNVIE. Though it was now an exclusive Citroën Autoclub Canada publication, we received a lot of feedback from CCNA members disgruntled that we were no longer involved in publishing their newsletter and they wanted to get our publication. So we launched CITROËNVIE in the spring of 2009 and tailored it to not only focus on the events that Citroën Autoclub Canada organized, but to deliver news, technical articles and historical information about Citroën from a North American perspective. Since the that time, Citroën Autoclub Canada (in Toronto) has promoted and branded the name CITROËNVIE for our website, events that we hold, and the promotional booth that we have Rendezvous in Saratoga Springs NY each year.
In 2013 we shifted to a solely web-based publishing effort designing a new look to our CITROËNVIE website that encompassed Citroën Autoclub Canada as well as CITROËNVIE. This was done to integrate and enhance our commitment to provide extensive and timely online resources and deliver them on demand.
Though CITROËNVIE is our moniker these days we do still keep the Citroën Autoclub Canada name. More information on how to join us can be found here.
Citroën Autoclub Canada