I’M SURE WE’RE ALL FAMILIAR with the expression, “You get out of something what you put into it.” Membership in UCR aligns with this, and for me, resulted in the inaugural Bridges, Butter Tarts and Barbecue Driving Tour, which took place Oct. 2 on a pleasant fall morning in north Waterloo.
As the host, I was interested in running a tour in order to share some of the roads I drive regularly, but also to try and bring some of the fun of tours I had experienced as a participant to the Kitchener-Waterloo area, where I live.
Finding roads worthy of a large group of curve-hungry Porsches can be a challenge in farm country north of Waterloo, where long straights and dirt roads are common. But they are out there — and we found them.
Before we departed RIM Park for our first stop, I got a chance to greet everyone and check out their cars. What always strikes me is the amount of Porsche history represented at UCR events, and this was no exception: everything from a vintage 356 B, air- and water-cooled 911s and GT3s, to Caymans and Boxsters. Fantastic examples of the best sports cars Stuttgart has to offer.
In addition, reps from Policaro Group’s Porsche Centre Oakville dealership joined us to hand out gift bags, coffee and pastries, and update the group on the timeline for the new dealership for the area, Porsche Centre Kitchener-Waterloo, currently slated to open in 2022.
Safety and fun are always stressed for driving tours, including this one. But opportunities exist for some spirited driving, and this was enjoyed as we headed up through Elora and Fergus to Belwood towards our first stop, the Belwood Country Market. This rustic shop is a must-stop for butter tart lovers, and constantly draws fans of the classic Canadian treat from all over.
After this short break we trekked north, enjoying more twists and straights to the small town of Grand Valley, where we crossed the Grand River for the first of many times, then travelled alongside it, before heading back to Belwood. Unexpectedly, we passed another group of Porsches going the opposite direction, which was very cool to see. Crossing Belwood Lake, we headed to Fergus for a parade along its main street.
Crossing the Grand again in Elora, we eventually made our way to the West Montrose Covered Bridge, aka the Kissing Bridge. The bridge was built in 1881, spans 198 feet, and remains one of the oldest covered bridges in Canada. Naturally, the team at Policaro had their cameras ready to capture the group crossing this fascinating structure, which is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places and even received its own stamp in 2019.
After one more short stint, we put the Porsches into park to enjoy a patio lunch at the Crowsfoot Smokehaus, a German-inspired barbecue spot in Conestogo. Our group had delicious options including brisket, smoked pork, turkey, and strudel, as we admired the Porsches all lined up in their reserved spots. They definitely turned heads, including for one boy who was out for a Big Brother afternoon. He approached the UCR group and got a thrill after being offered the chance to sit in Stefan Walther’s sleek red Cayman, had photos taken with various Porsches, then sat in a yellow GT3 RS, and was even offered to turn over the flat-six engine, even though he could barely reach the pedals. A Porsche fan for life now, no doubt, maybe even a future owner and UCR member.
A lot of work goes into planning these events, but what you get out of them is extremely rewarding. I really enjoyed meeting everyone and am thankful for the feedback. Looking in the rearview mirror and seeing a huge line of awesome Porsches following closely behind and the smiles on people’s faces definitely confirmed for me — you get out what you put in. </>
Photography by Stefan Walther and James Hall