by John McCulloch

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It was a near perfect day for an excursion – sunny, warm with just enough breeze to keep us comfortable. Restorations for land and sea was the theme of our club tour.

We began our trip with a wonderful crêpe breakfast at the home of George, Marijke and Elizabeth Dyke. Nothing like crêpes, blueberries, strawberries and whipped cream to start a Citroën outing day – come to think of it, it’s a good way to start any day!!

The convoy left chez Dyke around 10:30 and headed north up old Leslie Avenue. George and Marijke led the group in his Traction 11B accompanied by his parents Ruth and Gordon Dyke. Larry Lewis also in a Traction followed George. Behind them were John McCulloch and Chris Deja in their 2CV and racing behind them Doug Pengelly in his St André 2CV Truckette. The trip took us over the low rolling hills of the Moraine, past small farms and the ever encroaching spread of suburbia. We turned west across the moraine and drove through the old part of Newmarket and on to our first stop: the town of Bradford. We met up with Everett and his wife Gloria and their two friends who joined us from Peterborough in their beautiful blue and
white DS.

The Guild of Automotive Restorers was our first stop. The Guild has moved about in recent years but its new permanent home is on the main street in Bradford in what was once a fruit market. The spacious facilities hold metal shaping, filling, assembly and paint shops all under one roof. The club was fortunate to have a first class and detailed tour. We went behind the scenes of the operation. Among the interesting items was the English roller machine, – an apparently simple device which is used to form new pieces of metal to replace lost or damaged parts.

Among the cars under restoration were a fully dismantled Buick Riviera, frame parts for a Bugatti and a 1956 Rolls Royce belonging to Conrad Black. On display in the showroom was a 1959 Chrysler Imperial used for the Royal Tour of the same year. The car has been sold to the Chrysler museum in Detroit because not enough funds could be raised to keep it in Canada.
Around two o’clock the group, now less Doug P. left for the journey to Gravenhurst via the 400 and 11 highways respectively.

The Gravenhurst wooden boat show brings together some of the finest restored boats in Canada. The great names represented were Ditchburn, Duke, Greavette, Shepherd – all were sleek, mainly mahogany craft built between 1900 and 2000. There was also a display of antique outboard motors dating from before the First World War. Each one had been lovingly restored to better than original condition. Many of the fittings on the motors were of brass or copper and all had been burnished to a gleaming finish. Smaller wooden boats were also on display along with canoes and kayaks.

When I inquired about the restoration of a 1934 Ross double-ended rowboat, the gentleman I was speaking to said to me “Of course you can restore it, after all it’s only wood!”. Perhaps it is, but the “wood” here has been shaped and finished and buffed to a high shine for the sparkling Muskoka Lakes.

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The day ended for some around 5:00 when the Davys and their friends left for the trek back to Peterborough. Others set out for Orillia and dinner and a cold beer. It was a marvelous day, well organized and really interesting. Hope to see you there next year.

A big thank you goes out to George and Marijke Dyke for organizing and leading our Gravenhurst tour.

 

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