When the Canadian Coasters rolled into 100 Mile House for a show and shine, they were just days away from completing a summer-long journey.
Several of the members left their homes in June to take part in the 2022 Cross-Country Tour, organized by the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada. They started by dipping their back tires in the Atlantic Ocean in Newfoundland and aimed to dip their front tires in the Pacific to complete the journey.
Among them were Ontario natives Ron Morley and Allen McKnight, who were both first-time Coasters. Of the 60 cars they set out with, only 30 arrived in 100 Mile, others leaving due to the cost of fuel and vehicle maintenance.
“Coming close to the end now, we’ve really enjoyed it, we’ve really seen Canada,” Morley said. “You do give up your summer to do this but I would be interested in doing this again.”
Morley was inspired to join the trip following a motorcycle tour along Route 66. He said he was disappointed he didn’t get to see much of Canada on that trip and when he found out about the cross-country tour, he jumped at the chance to take his 1947 Ford out for a spin.
McKnight, meanwhile, signed up after being asked to arrange a food truck for the tour while they travelled through Ontario. After doing some research he decided to participate himself.
“I asked my wife ‘do you want to go on a cross-Canada trip?’ Right away she was like ‘yep, let’s go,” McKnight said. “I already had the old vehicle that was required, a 1972 Chevrolet Suburban towing a vintage trailer along behind it. We met up with them in PEI.”
This year marked 55 years since the original tour was conducted in 1967. It’s happened every decade since as a way to celebrate Canada’s transportation heritage. All vehicles involved had to be older than 25 years.
The path the tour took from Eastern Canada to Western Canada wasn’t direct and had a slow pace, Morley said. On previous cross-Canada trips, he said they stuck mainly to the well-travelled highways. This time they used back roads and visited communities he’s never been to.
“We’re all different as you go across the provinces and you see that with this tour,” Morley said. “In the end though, we’re all Canadian.”
Donna Barnett, a spokesperson for the 100 Mile House Cruzers Car Club, said the club was happy to welcome the Coasters for a show and shine and Gustafson’s Central Chevrolet GMC. She said it was nice to many locals came out to greet the Coasters and check out their “beautiful antique cars of all shapes and sizes.”
“It’s nice to see them stop here, they love the place and giving them a good welcome will bring them back,” Barnett said. “Cars shows are probably one of the biggest economic generators, believe it or not, in the country right now. They go from town to town, spend money and make lots of good friendships.”
Both McKnight and Morley agreed the best part of the trip was getting to know their fellow Coasters and the people they met in communities along the way.
“The people have been incredible. In some of the communities we’ve rolled into they’ve treated us like royalty,” McKnight said. “That is something you have to experience.”
After their show and shine in 100 Mile, the Coasters left to catch the ferry to Vancouver Island for their final banquet on Sept. 6 in Duncan.