There are literally thousands of small and large museums in Canada, hundreds in each province, and (thankfully) many involve the almighty and passion-inducing automobile.
I’ve been to a fair number of car museums in North America, as well as a few in Europe, and each time I walk away with a sense of awe, and am reminded how truly important and far reaching the impact of the automobile is on the fabric of our modern society. I’m not teaching you anything by stating that it shaped the world as we know it today. Being reminded of this fact can be fantastically rewarding, entertaining and, obviously, educational.
A short while back, I was invited to visit the Canadian Transportation Museum and Heritage Village (CTMHV) where I was submerged in a house dedicated to preserving the history of the automobile. It is located South-West of Windsor, in Kingsville, Ontario.
From the moment we enter the main building of the car museum, some very famous cars from the first decades of the 20th Century greet us. A Ford Model A and T stand at attention, but the actual displays are only a few metres away and here we’re confronted with a recreation of some of the earliest wheeled “vehicles” our ancestors used.
From there, we come face-to-face with some of the first self-propelled vehicles to travel what was a very limited network of roads in Canada. Layer upon layer of cars from the late 19th Century to the early 20th Century and so on clearly demonstrate the evolution of design, power, and amenities. Body styles, such as vans, pickups and wagons become more mainstream and then we land on what might be the jewel of the current collection: a 1946 Chrysler Town & Country convertible. Words cannot adequately describe this work of art.
The collection also includes some quirky numbers and other stunning pieces, but I won’t give any more of it away; you have to get out there and see it all for yourself.
While at the Museum, our group of auto journalists was allowed to sample a few cars that belong to patrons, fans, and volunteers of the Museum. I was given a ride in a sweet 1977 Dodge Aspen Wagon, and drove a gorgeous 1981 Dodge RAM 150 Custom Prospector. The pickup was from California and for sale… I almost drove myself to Chelsea afterward…
The CTMHV is a lovely place to spend a day with friends or family, and if you get hungry they’ve got you covered thanks to their ‘50s style diner that serves all the classics.
So, get your wheels all shined up and hit the road to your nearest car museum. For a real treat, on your way to Detroit, make sure to stop at the Canadian Transportation Museum.