Country Run To Niagra on the lake

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Highslide JS

Our group of 5 Jaguars gathered at the Mud street Tim Hortons on a beautiful Saturday morning in August.

The first section of the route took us through a narrow winding section through the Devils Bowl conservation area and then along the edge of the escarpment on Ridge road with spectacular views over Stoney Creek and Lake Ontario. The route sheet contained a warning for vertigo inclined drivers to look straight ahead in this section! Further on, the views were of housing developments constructed on the raised beach of the ancient shoreline of the old Lake Iroquois, locally called the Tablelands.

Next, we turned north, traversed around a true hairpin bend, began the steep descent down the escarpment, along a quiet road around the Winona conservation area and ascended back up to rejoin the top of the escarpment. We then had to cross the escarpment again with more twisty and interesting bits as a section of Ridge road was closed for reconstruction taking us into and out of Grimsby. Unlike a previous run, our novice convoy leader did manage to make the turn noted as being "very easy to miss in big black letters" in the route guide. We then passed the rumoured house of Elton John, and a clutch of exotic cars in a driveway including an E type.

Uneventful till now, the drive became a bit more interesting at this point as the lead navigator discovered a spider in the hat she was wearing at the time. This created some animated discussion in the lead car which resulted in the convoy missing a critical left turn. Stopping the group, denying cries of "are we lost" from some anguished members, our leader conversed with Fred Hill in the last car. Fred calmly provided directions, likely averted a serious marital discord in the lead car and got us pointed the right way. The member with the GPS system who was rumoured to have punched in "civilization" as his point of interest at this time will remain nameless.

From then on, our route took us along King street through Beamsville, Jordan and St. Davids and into Hugh and Joanne Dow's house near the lake in Niagara on the Lake. The Dows graciously provided us with coffee and bagels as we looked around the two houses on their interesting property. Originally part of a large estate built in the late 1800s with a servant's house and a barn, the barn was later converted into a guest cottage and the house thoroughly updated with a screened in dining porch and other features.

Looking exactly like a neighbouring house is the brand new 6 car garage that Hugh has added.
For Jaguar aficionados, this was like a trip to heaven!

  • First a replica 1956 Le Mans D type,
  • a resplendent XK150S Roadster,
  • an early Flat Floor 1961 E type coupe on a hoist,
  • a 1963 Mark 2,
  • a 1976 XJ6 Cabriolet
  • and a 1986 Series 3 XJ6,
all neatly arranged in a spotless setting.

Upstairs included many model cars, some interesting paintings, exercise equipment and a large TV. Frankly, the most civilized form of man cave that one could imagine!

Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS
Highslide JS Highslide JS Highslide JS

Reluctantly tearing ourselves away from the garage, we lined up behind Hugh in the D type to get our pictures taken and to convoy to the Vintage British car show at the Festival theatre just a few minutes away on Queen street. I was fortunate enough to be right behind Hugh both to hear the D type and to watch the reactions on the sidewalk as we went along this pedestrian busy main street. We pulled into the grassy car show area attached to the theatre terrace, parked our five cars and registered.

Vintage was a bit of a misnomer for most of the assembled cars but probably not for some of our drivers! This was a small show this year, about 18 cars in total including a TR3, a Morgan, a TVR, a Lotus 7 clone, two TC MGs, two MGAs, another MG, two Austin Healeys, a 1962 E type coupe, our 62 E type roadster, our 3 XJSs and our modern XK roadster and, of course, the D type lined up in a prominent position. The setting was quite pastoral and interesting as theatre patrons coming out to the terrace for lunch or drinks would be confronted by the cars.

Much discussion with other car owners and spectators ensued including in my case, an examination of the differences between a June and a December 1962 E type engine.

Eventually, some members went for lunch, some went to the main street shops which are right nearby and a few attended the matinee performance at the theatre. Ultimately, a very pleasant day blessed with good weather, a very hospitable visit with the Dows and the sight and sound of a D type to round it all off.

Text & Photos © John Tysall

Sept 11, 2012 by Webmaster