British Cars at Van Dusen

It’s been a holiday weekend in BC as we celebrate the birthday of Queen Victoria (born May 24 1819), the monarch on the throne when BC became a Province of Canada. Now in it’s 23rd year, a show featuring British cars is held at the VanDusen Botanical Gardens on the Saturday of the long weekend. Being a lover of most things automotive (with the exception of the previously mentioned Pontiac Aztek), I dragged the family off to the Gardens for the All British Field Meet. Although my first love is still Alfa Romeo, having recently rediscovered being English I wanted to take a look at what Vancouver could offer – I was not disappointed

There must have been 500+ vehicles on display covering so many long forgotten British marques that have been lovingly cared for or restored in British Columbia.

The array of old Triumph TR2’s through to TR8’s, Morgans by the shed load, E types aplenty, Jensens, Sumbeams, real MG’s and Mini’s and so on, all set in the beautiful grounds of the botanical gardens which is named after a local lumberman and philanthropist W J Van Dusen. What a spectacular show in wonderful surroundings, even to the extent of being slightly surreal as I listened to a brass band play ‘Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines’, surrounded by old British cars with the spectacular North Shore mountains appearing like painted movie scenery in the background.

Finally, a non-grainy video. Here’s the All British Field Meet at vandusen

Outside the gardens I had another really pleasant surprise. Not one but two Alfa’s, including a stunning 2600 Spider. Until now I’ve only seen a couple of more recent Alfa’s, so this was a real treat for me.

The Alfa Romeo 2600 Spider

In some ways, what really made the day was the weather. After a number of false starts, spring hit Vancouver big time with the temperature rocketing to around 30 degrees, in fact, it was almost too hot. I’m certainly not complaining though, it was an excuse to finally break out the shorts.

Reflecting on the day as a whole, it was indeed a strange day. I decided that I’d get up just before 7am local to watch the FA Cup final, so I had a very English start to the day. However, the day finished with a distinct Gallic feel as the family attended a farewell party for friends moving back to Quebec. English speakers were definitely in the minority, but that’s what living in the Lower Mainland seems to be about, one of great cultural integration, and that’s why living here is so interesting and enlightening. It’s amazingly humbling when one realises that one is the minority.

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