The Grand Narrows Waterfront Development Society has hosted this Motor Sport Show for two years now and perhaps this show is the example for others to follow. This show is open to all makes, models, years, whatever. Whatever runs and attracts attention is welcome here. For that matter, judging from the hospitality shown here today, anything on wheels and everyone who can get here, are welcome as well. A true example of country hospitality shines through at this show. Now being in a county setting, pretty far from industrial Cape Breton, the words "Motor Sport" is something which describes more then the show, it also describes the drive to Grand Narrows, as the roads that lead you here are filled with great scenery, great roads and I think..... a perfect drive in these little sports cars of the BCCCB. Check it out.
The weather was iffy as there was a chance of showers. Regardless, Saturday evening I sent out an email saying "It's on" ... Sydney crew too gather at the Value Village and we would meet up with the Northsiders an Leitches Creek. I arrived at our meeting spot and only Bonnie and Francis were there waiting.... No on else showed so we drove off towards Leitches Creek via the Keltic Drive. We arrived at the car pool Parking lot at the Creek only to find no one there. Oh well.. it looks like it's just the three of us. That's fine, glad to have Bonnie and Francis along for the ride.
There are many roads that leads to Grand Narrows and one is just as beautiful as the other. Of course the Trans Canada cuts right through Cape Breton and yes this is one route. traveling through Eskasoni is another route but seeing where as we are heading to Grand Narrows, why not take the Grand Narrows Highway. This folks is a very nice drive. Leaving Leitches Creek towards Grand Narrows you pass through tiny communities such as Barrachois, Ironville, Shunacadie and the ever popular Christmas Island. A little footnote about Christmas Island. During the Christmas Season, the tiny Post Office here is perhaps the busiest in the country. Imagine sending a letter to your children from Santa or to someone special with a post mark from Christmas Island. Perfect!
I didn't mention Boisdale in the last paragraph simple because I wanted you to see the community sign in this photo. Yes we passed through Boisdale or as our Gaelic forefathers called it "BHAGHASDAIL". Now, having a French background and if I was new to the area and seen a community sign saying Boisdale, I would think that this was a French community. The word Bois is French for wood..... Wooddale..... but who am I, my forefathers are a mix of French and English descendants who made their way to Canada through Newfoundland By'e. Ohh... I almost forgot! Boisdale is where the rain had started but I forged on with the top down until we made it to Grand Narrows. Time to put the top up... for a little while at least.
Hey hey hey! What is this! We are not alone. Arriving an Grand Narrows, what should we see but Bill MacDonald's beautiful B. I went off looking for Bill in the Community center and sure enough there is Bill making new friends. Bill left North Sydney a little early and made a few stops along the way. It's good to see a little rain didn't stop Bill. Moragh on the other hand stayed home with family.
It wasn't only old cars here today, the Volkswagen Touring Club was here with us as well. Now.. I am not sure of the history here but I do believe that the Volkswagen Touring Club has been coming here for some time to gather at this beautiful spot for a tranquil weekend. Now we share one of their days here. I hope our intrusion for one day is welcome in this peaceful setting.
Now being invited to a car show at his beautiful and sometimes overlooked area of Cape Breton is all that's needed to get people to show up but this show has a plus. Rather then presenting a trophy or plaque for best car they offer up draws on some great prizes. Fourth Prize is a Celtic Colors weekend at the Barra Strait Inn. What a great prize to win as this is one beautiful spot to spend a weekend. Third was a tiller from Eric's Small Engine shop. A great prize as well. Second was a generator from Russell W. Hawkins Ltd. Who wouldn't want that here in Cape Breton. First Prize was a 22 horse power Husqvarna lawn tractor from Belmac Equipment. Woo-hoo! where do I buy Tickets?? As it turns out, you can buy the tickets at the door along with even splits. Perfect!
The Wheelhouse Cafe, something new to the community and to the Ferryman's Hall, offered up some really great tasting food. Bill and I opted for a very tasty sausage dog off the BBQ while Francis and Bonnie had... and forgive me if I am wrong.. squash soup. Now I would look at a menu and see squash soup and move on never trying it. Due to lack of cash I didn't try it today either but the aroma from this soup was hypnotic. Oh my heavens, this smelled so good. I'll have more money with me next time.
The British Car Club of Cape Breton only had a three car showing but there was no lack of Detroit Iron. Looking at these old cars and seeing the old Ferry Dock in the background, I have to wonder how many of these cars once sailed on the ferry that crossed the sometimes very rough waters of the Barra Strait. I can remember as a child in the family car crossing the Strait with waves splashing over the nose of the open deck Ferry. The new bridge replaced the Ferry in 1993 and almost spelled the end for this little community but due to the efforts of community volunteers this place is very much alive.
I wondered why the Department of Transport didn't tear down the old Ferry dock but you know... this is just one part of Grand Narrows History. The Ferry Crossing dock super structure stands proud and when tourists see this and ask questions, they will learn how important this little community is. There is so much history here, it's unbelievable. A brief look at this communities history goes something like this... "The community came to prominence during the 1880s after the Intercolonial Railway built its line from the Strait of Canso to Sydney, crossing the Barra Strait between Iona and Grand Narrows with the Grand Narrows Bridge, still in use, which is the longest railway bridge in Nova Scotia. Grand Narrows became a major transshipment point between rail and waterborne passengers and cargo. A hotel was constructed and became a popular resting spot, Canada's first prime minister Sir John A. Macdonald was among its guests". The Grand Narrows Hotel is see just below.
In the 1800s, you didn't fly in to this area or drive for that matter, you either sailed in on passenger ships or took the train. Mail boats ran on scheduled service across the lakes until the 1960's, providing connecting passenger service to the train at Iona, Nova Scotia. Before construction of the Trans Canada Highway and other roadways, ships and boats plied the Bras d'Or Lake carrying coal, gypsum, marble, agricultural and forestry products from Cape Breton to the outside world, via barge. For the passengers of these boats, they stayed at the Grand Narrows Hotel while awaiting the train.
Earlier, Peter and Sandy Smith arrived at the show in their Toyota because of the inclement weather and after a brief chat Peter and I headed over to the Grand Narrows Hotel for a look. Throughout the years I am sure the Hotel had many upgrades and renovations but it still holds the charm if the 1800s. On a visit here a few years ago, there was a ledger that held names for the turn of the century. The ledger wasn't available today nor was anyone to talk to for that matter. Anyway, Peter and I had a little look around and I snapped a few pictures. When we left, Peter pointed out the door threshold, it was severely worn. One has to wonder how many people had to pass through these doors to create such a divot in the threshold of the hardwood door frame step. Oh if these walls could talk.
Returning back to the show we passed the bikes and the Volkswagen next too a boat and I thought these would make great pictures.
Alright, lets sum up this show. It was a very nice drive to Grand Narrows. We had many delicious choices at the Wheelhouse Cafe and if that wasn't to your liking you could have some BBQed sausage dogs. There was some nice Westphalias to look at as well as some great looking cars. The view from virtually anywhere was spectacular and of course the opportunity to talk to some great people as well as a chance to win some great prizes. Surely this would be enough for any show but there is more. How about listening to to the great music or Celtic Rant. I swear these guys captivated all who attended. The area where the cars were parked was rather deserted, all were gathered at the Ferryman's hall listening to some great music. And yes there is still more!!!
I had the pleasure if chatting to Vickie Devoe for a few moments. This lovely young lady is a masseuse and she had set up shop for the day here at the Ferryman's Hall. Her business is called "Take Care Holistic Health and Wellness" and do yourself a favour, look her up or watch for her at events. I had never had a massage and I waited for someone to step up first before I had one. I watched Vickie do her thing and after she was done, I wanted one. I think we may need a little adjustment here at the chair, I am much bigger then the previous customer.
Sure enough the chair adjusts and ohhhhh man is it comfortable. Vickie started to work and Peter grabbed the camera. Ohhh my does this feel good, not a lick of pain. Yes my first massage but I am a little schooled on the subject. There are 640 muscles in the human body and a masseuse has to know each one. I know a bicep and a triceps only 638 for me to study up on..... nah.. I'll leave that up to the masseuse. I was very impressed. Vickie asked if I had a massage before, I said no, didn't think so she said, your back is like steel.... hehehe Lonnie, the man of steel.
The show isn't over just yet! Around 3, a very nice red 1967 Triumph TR4A IRS rolled in. The owners Wayne and Imelda Kelly purchased it earlier this year. With my knowledge of British Cars, I have to give this one a two thumbs up. With less then 100K on the odometer and a very solid body and nice interior, this car will attract a lot of attention where ever it goes. Very nice car Wayne and Imelda. Something to be proud of.
It's now 4 pm and the closing of the show is soon upon us but there is one more event that has everyone gathering for, the drawing of the tickets for the prizes. First the even split ,$292 .... drum roll and number check..... Winner Rodie MacNeil. No one from our group. Nice win. The Celtic Colors Weekend... drum roll...... no one from our group. The tiller went to Brian Young from the Grand Narrows area and then the generator..... drum roll.... Alene MacLean. No one from our group but a great prize to win. Now finally the grand prize, the tractor,....... drum roll.... Catherine Green from Blacketts Lake and yet again, no one from our group. Oh well... there is always next year. I'll have to bring more money next year to better my chances as my tractor is showing it's age.
So there you have it, The Grand Narrows Waterfront Development Motor Sports Show. A very nice drive to a very attractive part of Cape Breton. We surely enjoyed our afternoon here and we even had a chance to win some great prizes. What more could one ask for?
I have to thank Bonnie and Francis, Peter and Sandy as well as Bill MacDonald for coming along and with all my heart I wished one of you had won a prize. It wasn't to be, not this year anyway. Oh well.... You know how it goes. If you weren't there you missed it. Come along next time.