Tracing Canada’s History Through its Cars

This is a guest post courtesy of the Canadian International AutoShow.

As Canada prepares to mark its 150th anniversary, the 2017 Canadian International AutoShow will help celebrate the country’s remarkable history in the best way it knows— through its cars.

Under the title The Canadian Story, this year’s Art & the Automobile exhibit features Canada’s most important cars in context with important historical landmarks over the past 150 years. It will showcase a combination of Canadian designed and built cars that stretch back to the year of Canada’s confederation, as well as extremely rare cars owned by Canadian collectors who share a passion for fine cars — many of them with connections to important historical events. The one-of-a-kind exhibit is being hosted by Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance, September 17, 2017.

The roots of auto manufacturing in Canada are as old as the country itself. Visitors to Art & the Automobile will be able to glimpse our rich car-making history and see several examples of vehicles that were designed, built and sold here.

Among the Canadian-made vehicles are:

  • 1867 Seth Taylor Steam Buggy. Canada’s first car hit the road the same year as Canada’s confederation. The steam buggy was designed and built by Henry Seth Taylor, a prosperous watchmaker, jeweler and businessman in Stanstead, Que. While Taylor never went into the car-making business, his invention has permanent home at the Canadian Science and Technology Museum.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
  • 1910 McKay. The McKay was the only car to be commercially produced in Nova Scotia before the arrival of the Volvo in 1963. Brothers Jack and Dan McKay built cars between 1908 and 1914, producing an estimated 125 vehicles. One of only two surviving examples of the McKay, the car to be displayed at the AutoShow is owned by the Canadian Automotive Museum.1910-mckay
  • 1914 Russell. This 1914 Russell 14‐28 is a fine example of one of the most distinctly Canadian cars ever built. Both the car and its engine were designed and built in Canada, something quite rare in the history of automobile manufacturing in Canada. This is clearly a luxury vehicle designed with great attention to details and finished in the finest materials. This car is especially remarkable because it was once owned by Mrs. Elizabeth Anderson, daughter of Thomas Russell, the first president of the Russell Motor Car Company.1914-russell
  • 1927 McLaughlin-Buick. One of two original McLaughlin-Buicks hand built by General Motors in Oshawa, ON. for the use of the British Royal Family during their 1927 tour of Canada.  The seven-passenger open touring car, owned by collector Tony Lang, was built for a five-week tour by the Prince of Wales and Prince George to commemorate the sixtieth anniversary of Confederation.1927-mclaughlin-buick
  • 1956 Monarch Richelieu. Owned by collector Andy Schmidt, this 1956 Monarch Richelieu is a convertible, painted Lauderdale Blue and Continental White with all numbers matching. Only about 11 of the 163 Monarchs built in Oakville, Ont. are known to exist today.1956-monarch

In addition these fantastic showpieces, Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance has also brought together a number of rare and historic cars owned by some of Canada’s top collectors, including:

  • 1903 Columbus Electric. Total production of the Columbus Electric, built in Columbus, Ohio, is not known, but only two examples from 1903 are known to have survived. This Columbus, serial #78, is from the first year of production, during which only this folding top roadster body style was offered. The early history of the car is not known, but it was discovered in Kingston, ON by owner Peter Fawcett’s father in 1957 in fairly sound condition.1903-columbus-electric
  • 1935 Packard 1207 Dietrich-bodied Coupe Roadster. Owned by Gallery 260 Limited, this luxury roadster is one of only six such V12 cars remaining. This particular car was delivered new to the Packard Ontario Motor Car Company of Toronto, Ont. and has been owned and operated by several Canadians, including first owner Marland Woolnough, founder of National Grocers in Canada.1935-packard
  • 1936 Roll Royce Phantom III Sedanca De Ville.  Owned by Iron Band Holdings Ltd., the first owner of this beautiful car was the Marquis de Villeroy of France for his use on the continent and while in Britain during the Second World War. This is the last model of Rolls‐Royce that Sir Henry Royce was involved with prior to his death. This is one of two Sedanca de Villes bodied by Carrosserie Henry Binder, famous for the coachwork on two of the Bugatti Royals.1936-rolls-royce
  • 1949 Cadillac Concept. Owned by Steve Plunkett, this prototype Coupe De Ville Cadillac was built by General Motors for the Transportation Unlimited Exhibition of the first Post World War II Auto Show held in New York at the Waldorf Astoria. This custom hard top was the superstar prototype coupe on display at the show and became Charles Wilson’s (then President of GM) car. This is the only survivor of the four prototypes produced.1949-cadillac
  • 1965 Aston Martin DB5 Superleggera. The 1965 Aston Martin DB5 is considered by many to be the most famous car in the world, largely because it appeared in the 1964 James Bond film Goldfinger. With only 886 built, a DB5 Coupe is a rare car indeed. Dare to Dream Classic Cars is proud to be the owner of this outstanding DB5.1965-aston-martin

The AutoShow is proud to welcome back Castrol and Lant Insurance Brokers as associate partners of the 2017 Art & the Automobile exhibit. Located on the 700 level of the South Building of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the 2017 Art & the Automobile installation is a collection of fine cars and history that’s not to be missed.

The Canadian International AutoShow will be held at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre between February 17th and 26th. Please visit for more information. Follow us on Instagram @cdnintlautoshow, Like us on Facebook and join the conversation on Twitter @autoshowcanada with the hashtags #AutoShowOhCanada and #CIAS2017.


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