Cross-Canada vintage car tour rolls into Essex County

The Canadian Coasters Car Club, a group of vintage car lovers from across the country, are celebrating Canada 150 by driving from Victoria, B.C. to St. John's, Newfoundland. They rolled into Essex County on Friday.

Vintage car enthusiasts celebrating Canada 150 by driving from Victoria, B.C. to St. John's, N.L.

Victor and Kristy Leger are from Allison, New Brunswick - just west of Moncton. They drove their 1951 Chevrolet pickup truck across the continent to get to the starting point of Victoria, B.C. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

When Victor and Kristy Leger roll into St. John's, N.L. on August 30, they'll have crossed the continent not once, but twice in their Canadian-built 1951 Chevrolet pickup truck.

The couple from Allison, N.B. are part of an armada of roughly 100 vintage cars travelling from Victoria to St. John's this summer as part of the Canadian Coasters Car Club. 

To get to the starting point, the Legers left home June 5, choosing to get to the west coast through the U.S. in order to avoid doing the same trip twice.

On Friday, the tour rolled into the field behind the Canadian Transportation Museum in Kingsville, where they will spend the night. While some stay in hotels, most opt to tow their accommodations with them. 

Victor Leger custom-built his teardrop-style camper, which includes this nifty open kitchenette. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

The Coasters Car Club, which bills itself as "the only car club in the world that travels coast to coast" embarked on its first tour in 1967. A tour has taken place roughly every decade since.

"[The tour is] actually from ocean to ocean," Victor Leger said. "We touched our wheels [in Victoria] ... when we get to Newfoundland, we'll touch our wheels there."

Drivers have a detailed itinerary for each day of the journey. Greetings from the premier preface sections dedicated to each provincial leg. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

Each participant gets a detailed itinerary for the entire trip, which is complete with letters of welcome from provincial premiers. Despite being on their first journey with the club, the Legers helped organize the itinerary for their home province, which they expect to reach on Aug. 8.

"The most wonderful thing is that I'm getting to meet a lot of fellow Canadians," Leger said. "Car people have a real brotherhood. They're all the same no matter where I go — it's like my neighbours."

Inside the tour's Essex County stop

While a small number of drivers opt to stay in motels, the majority of participants haul campers. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Others opt for much larger accomodations. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Many participants have adorned their campers with decals commemorating their journey. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Commemorative licence plates have been issued. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
This Pontiac Bonneville hails from Newfoundland. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Pat Johnson from Alberta has become known for handing out a seemingly endless supply of black licorice. She says it helps digestion on long road trips. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
This vintage ambulance is driven by Fraser and Dorothy Field, the tour's main organizers. (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)
Most of the participants are spending Friday night camping behind the Canadian Transportation Museum in Kingsville (Jonathan Pinto/CBC)

About the Author

Jonathan Pinto

Jonathan Pinto is a reporter/editor at CBC Windsor, primarily assigned to Afternoon Drive, CBC Radio's regional afternoon show for southwestern Ontario. Email jonathan.pinto@cbc.ca.