Frisky Fish

A LATE, AND MUCH APPRECIATED, addition to the 2021 PCA UCR driving tours season was the Oct. 3 Fall Coastal Salmon Run, which was meticulously put together by Randy Gananathan. He is the PCA National SUV registry advocate for Canada and the USA, and former Provinz editor. Many previous participants had requested this tour again. With a delayed start to the driving tours season, apparent pent-up demand with tours selling out in minutes, if not seconds, grabbing a coveted spot on a tour was becoming competitive, with speed — like Porsches are known for — being a key factor to success in registering.

With the shift from summer to fall, one thing was certain: uncertain weather. And so the morning drive brought fog, mist, drizzle and rain depending on where you started from, to reach the start or rendezvous point at Automobil, better known as Heimrath’s Porsche service shop, one of Porsche’s original racing workshops in Toronto, that also sold new Porsches.

Twenty-eight Porsches arrived, some ‘80s and ‘90s classics like Eddie Caze’s 1988 928 S4 plus Randy’s own 1991 Carrera C4 cabriolet, the latter which was substituted for a black Cayenne with Florida plates, thanks to weather forecasters. There were Porsches of all colours of the rainbow, including a white one with Martini Racing livery stripes. Everyone arrived on time and shoe-horned their way into parking spots, adjacent to the garage, following specific pre-tour instructions on designated parking areas.

Heimrath’s old garage is now operated by Raj Persaud, formerly of Downtown Porsche. This is one of the most unique Porsche garages any of us had ever seen. Once your precious Porsche is out of warranty, or if you have a classic, it’s places like these you consider going to for trusted maintenance and repair. None of the expansive showrooms, tall windows, skylights or state-of-the-art service bays here. This place is the real deal. Traditional-style working garage, dimly lit, oil marks on the floor, and dirt on walls holding up Heimrath’s original signage. A semi-dismantled car on the lift and more Porsche works in progress throughout. Below the original Heimrath Porsche service sign, to our surprise and a welcome sight for most to an early Sunday morning start, we were greeted by a continental breakfast of assorted pastries, muffins, snacks, juices, tea and, of course coffee. Some of us keeners like me, rising at 5 a.m. to drive two-plus hours, mostly in dark, drizzle and fog from Lake Erie, required a second breakfast, as fuel for our tour.

A combination of city, highway 401 and rural roads, it was all laid out in a phased approach, with military-like precision, complete with pre-departure briefing. And the most important instruction: “If you always keep the Porsche behind you in your rearview mirror, nobody gets left behind or lost.” It hadn’t happened to me yet, I mean getting lost that is. Solo again, in my new Shark Blue GT4, maps and route directions, on my trusty clipboard, GPS running, key rendezvous locations, pre-programmed, I crossed my fingers thinking the Porsche in front will keep me in sight at all times, because there is no way I could possibly read these fancy maps and directions while driving. However, having them like a flight plan next to me was comforting.

Off our Porsche convoy went, in lead-follow style. Winding our way up onto the 401, to exit 440 to our first photo stop at Bond Head Park in Newcastle. It was downright “down-easty misty” with drizzle and fog, right on the north shore of Lake Ontario. Next, we headed towards the location of a mysterious phenomenon, jumping salmon on Ganaraska River, following a coastal route displaying a mix of green with yellow, orange, and hints of red in the changing leaves of autumn along the countryside. We arrived at the riverside fish ladder, next to a historic mill, a log cabin as well as concrete dams protecting the estuary where water flowed down-river over the fish ladder. Salmon were sighted, evidence caught on camera by our UCR photographer Eshel Zweig who then rounded up all of us for a group photo in front of the mill. By this point, we had worked up an appetite for what turned out to be a delicious lunch peppered with lots of chatter between new and old friends. Railside Restaurant staff in downtown Port Hope had assigned table seating that made it easy to deliver pre-ordered meals. From there, after a hearty lunch, more rural roads followed along Lake Ontario. Next stop, scenic Wicklow beach. A stretch, then photos, and I like that Randy said he “could imagine this place on a summer’s day.”

There are so many sites to see and places to discover along this scenic route. I could envision a follow-on tour, perhaps a winery, as we neared Prince Edward County. Deja vu! Randy has done this too. He promises to host his 2022 Fall Coastal Salmon Run to include some yet-to-be discovered exotic venues, so be sure to keep your eyes open when registration opens next year.

Next on the tour was a stop to wander and shop at a farm market that has its own orchard, sells apples, locally grown fruit and vegetables, preserves and honey. A few Porsche frunks became filled with bounty here.

Mid-afternoon already? Where had the day gone? Our final stop and tour end spot was at Primitive Designs, a unique venue of eclectic collectibles from around the world, including giant metal dinosaur sculptures, where we bid farewell. We were now on our own to make our way back home. We climbed back into our Porsches, engines revving, sports exhausts turned on, as we rolled out of that roadside stop. No evidence of our presence but tire tracks. Vroom, vroom-a-zoom, vroom.

Our colourful Porsches, the fun drive, awesome food, interesting stops, all put smiles on our faces. We just had a salmon run, and oh what fun. </>

Photography by Eshel Zweig

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