On a bright and sunny Sept 1st (the Friday before the long weekend), 21 shiny Porsches met at the Enroute station in Barrie for the start of the Simcoe County driving tour.
For yours truly, it was the inaugural drive for my brand new 718 Boxster GTS which I had just picked up the day before. Not only was the newness ogled by many but I guess the bright Racing Yellow colour also helped.
We then set off on a drive from Barrie to Orillia. No, not the quick 20-minute drive up the highway but rather up and down the scenic Simcoe County farm roads, every once in a while, down along the shores of Lake Simcoe.
After about an hour we made our first surprise stop at the Simcoe County Regional Airport. I opened my frunk and offered snacks to all participants (to tide them over until lunch), and also gave away some prizes in the parking lot to some lucky winners. Once inside the small airport terminal, I had a surprise guest speaker waiting for us. Geoffrey Campbell, one of the owners of the new Oro Station race track being built, showed us posters of the projected site and he spoke to us about this new track and all it entails. Did you know that Georgian College automotive program along with some other prominent race teams will have ‘offices’ here? We look forward to seeing Oro Station progress in the next year.
After this pit stop and bio break, we continued our meandering drive back down to the shores of Lake Simcoe and around Eight Mile Point Road (another 50 minutes) eventually ending in Orillia at the OPP Headquarters for all of Ontario.
We were greeted by retired OPP staff, Inspector Dave Osborne (no, not the same Dave Osborne from our UCR DE program) and Superintendent Doug Shearer. They explained some of the history of the land upon which the OPP HQ was built and the significance of the stones at the entrance, labeled ‘The Pathway of Memories’. These stones pay tribute to current and former OPP members, their families, and organizations that have contributed to the service over the years with personalized inscriptions on each stone.
Walking inside the OPP HQ one is greeted by security (of course), along with an array of OPP memorabilia such as a vintage OPP cruiser from 1941 (a Chevrolet Master Deluxe Coupe); a 1931 Henderson Streamline Special KL Motorcycle, and numerous display cases of fallen officers and celebrated individuals.
Dave & Doug led us first to the OPP Stakeout Café for lunch. With a new OPP recruit class in session that day, the Café was filled with new recruits in uniform, and all of us Porschephiles sat in the middle of them. It was a fun sight to see.
After lunch, the retired gentlemen took us in to the OPP Museum where although it’s set up as a self-guided museum, they highlighted a few of the items to us. Did you know that The Beatles Paul McCartney donned an OPP patch on his jacket on the album cover Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band?
I had a little fun myself as I tried on an OPP Uniform jacket and walked around the museum popping in and out of our UCR club members saying “you’re under arrest”.
The OPP Museum is a free venue and is run solely on donations, so the funds that UCR members paid to Club Reg were then donated back to the OPP Museum.
The driving tour ended at the OPP HQ and participants were then free to head back to the GTA or continue their way farther north to enjoy the Labour Day long weekend. </>