Club Executive Members
The Thornhill Cruisers Car Club Inc. was started in the spring of 1994 by a group of guys with modified cars who hung out at Mike Hosking’s engine rebuilding and racing shop. This group was made up of Gord Maxey, with a 1923 T-bucket with 350 Chev. power; Dave McNally driving a 1933 Chev. 3-window coupe with 350 Chev. power; Mike Hosking and his much modified 1948 Thames panel truck with a 383 small-block Chev. in it; and Nate Salter, with his1933 Plymouth with a Hosking-built 340 Mopar motor under the hood. We all commiserated about the fact that we had to travel many miles to participate in cruise nights, and we knew that there were lots of similar minded people in the Thornhill/Richmond Hill area of Toronto who would most likely be interested in a local event. Taking a page from the old Andy Hardy movies, we said, “Let’s have our own cruise night here at the Thornhill Community Center.”
The original plan was to have an event on the first Monday of every month; and we got the word out to all our friends that it was going to happen on Victoria Day [May 24th], which is a civic holiday Monday here in the great frozen north. On that first day we were encouraged when 35 cars showed up in the parking lot; and with the excitement generated that afternoon, the decision was made to do it on a weekly basis. From that humble beginning, as the weeks progressed, our attendance steadily climbed; and by the end of the 1994 summer we would see upwards of 100 cars in the lot. Our attendees included everything from the coolest of street rods, the wildest of customs, to restored and original cars and just about anything else out of the ordinary you could think of. That was the basis we used to arrive at the entrance rules: “If it’s your special set of wheels and you love it, come on in and join us.”
As the years went by, the cruise night continued to grow; and then we started something else that has become a tradition, now we kick off each season on Victoria Day, by asking each participant to bring a can of food or other non-perishable food item as admission, with the object of breaking the rear springs on Nate Salter’s Ram pickup. Thanks to the over 200 who attend the opening event, we not only fill the back of the truck, but are able to make a sizeable donation to the local food bank. To repay the generous crowd, we have a live band playing some of those great old tunes from the 50’s and 60’s.
By the 10th season, 2003, the Cruises kept getting better. But towards the end of that season we got devastating news. We would no longer be able to use the parking lot at the community center because condominiums were going to be built there. With everyone scrambling and a lot of effort by some members we were introduced to Bayview Glen Church, after explaining to them what we our about, they agreed to let us hold our cruise nights there.
This relationship has been better than we could ever have hoped for. The folks at the church have added so much more to our cruise nights. With their Higher Ground Grill doing the catering, folks can still have their traditional burger or sausage, but for those watching their waist line, chicken salads are now offered, along with ice cream on the hot nights and coffee for those evenings that are not so warm. We now have a beautiful location with trees for shade and grass to sit and relax on. In 2005 our 50/50 draw (proceeds of which go to our Participation House project) raised a record amount, despite the weather not being terribly co-operative, so yes, we are still getting better. Why not come down and check us out, remember there is no charge for cars or spectators.
Well, our tenure at Bayview Glen came to an end in the fall of 2012 when we were notified that we could no longer have our cruise there. We had to move our equipment from their storage shed which we helped to build and had to begin the search for a new venue.
The best we could come up with at the time was a Canadian Tire store on High Tech Road in Richmond Hill. We had a very enthusiastic manager there who helped us make the car cruise on their parking lot successful. That same summer of 2013 we had another setback. Our former President and founding member, Nate Salter had passed away. We gave him a memorable sendoff that included a funeral procession made up of some of our nicest classic cars.
We began the year 2016 with an announcement that we found another Canadian Tire store that would be more to our liking and it is located at 2900 Major Mackenzie Road in Markham. We seem to be moving further away from Thornhill, which was our birthplace, but since there was never any mandate that said we had to stay in Thornhill we decided the club is really about its members and it seems this new location appears to be more favourable. Not only are we more visible from a major thoroughfare, we also have a location that features several choices for excellent dining. Swiss Chalet and Harvey’s has always been a favorite and in addition we now have Starbucks, Montana’s and Boston Pizza too. So not only can people come to see a great display of classic and historic vehicles, they can sit down and enjoy a fine meal. Why not come down and check out our new digs and remember … there is never a charge for show cars or spectators.