A passion for cars and a sense of community is what fuels the “Canadian Coasters.”
With campers in tow, they cruised into town last Wednesday and stayed until Friday to celebrate their coast-to-coast tour.
And they had no problem settling in with the residents of Fort Frances and enjoying all the town has to offer.
“We're loving it here,” said Norm Mulloy of his first-ever stay in Fort Frances.
“Other than those pesky mosquitoes, it's beautiful.”
While here, the “Coasters" participated in the annual "Scott Street Show 'n Shine,” as well as a car show along Front Street by the Sorting Gap Marina.
They also had the opportunity to experience some of Northwestern Ontario's “wonders,” like crappie fishing on Rainy Lake and taking a tour of Mud Lake City off Highway 611 south of Devlin.
“[John Gambill] filled his boat with the Coasters' grandkids and some adults one day,” noted Al Smith, president of the local International Early Iron Car Club.
“They couldn't wipe the smile off those kids' faces because they couldn't believe they caught that many fish,” he added.
“They loved it here.”
Some loved it so much, in fact, that they're planning to stop by again on their travels home after the tour to explore the area more.
Smith also said the “Coasters” experienced Fort Frances' sense of camaraderie when six of the cars needed some work done before leaving town and Jason Supinski at Jay's Auto rushed to help them.
“We ordered parts from Piston Ring one day and the next morning he was working on the cars,” noted Smith.
“He worked all day and was still able to make it to the '50s dance that night.”
“We wanted to make sure that they have a good time on their stop because they have a lot of travelling to do,” Smith added.
Not only did the town make a lasting impression on the “Coasters," but the "Coasters” made a good impression on Smith, who is considering joining them on their next tour.
“I got to know Fraser Field [the organizer of the 'Coasters'] quite well,” Smith said.
“I wouldn't mind going on tour with those people.”
They go on tour every 10 years, so Smith has a lot of time to decided whether or not he'll be joining them.
Meanwhile, for people like Smith and the “Coasters,” cars are a huge part of their life.
Not only do they enjoy the history and mechanics of the vehicles, but the sense of community that being part of a car club brings.
“Coaster" Betty-Anne Glover said they are "one big happy family” on wheels.
It's her second time doing the tour, and she said she continues to do it because the sense of togetherness the group brings—despite that fact she only knows about 40 percent of the members.
“It's just so exciting to see everyone get together and how everyone helps everyone out,” Glover noted.
“When someone breaks down, all the guys are rushing to help.”
“Car people are friendly," agreed Smith. ”People love to mix-and-mingle and talk.
“That's what they're all about—having fun and enjoying their cars.”