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For Canada 150, Porsche goes on an unforgettable drive to the East Coast

26 Nov 17
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Porsche does not assert its guided tours are cheap, but it does guarantee they will be unforgettable — and it’ll be tricky to forget this year’s Canada 150nbsp;Tour.

There were not many takers for the 10-day collapse drive from Toronto to Halifax, but the two couples and two single drivers who signed up were enthusiastic fans of the new. They had to be: It cost $12,000 per person, plus airfares, to signnbsp;up.

“We dithered a great deal on this due to the cost,” said Paz Fernando, a podiatrist from Winnipeg and confessed Porsche Snob who flew in with his wife Lisa. “We thought of going on the Provence Porsche excursion, or possibly Morocco before it was cancelled — I feel that the mountain roads shattered the Cayennes — but we wanted to find the East Coast. We have nevernbsp;been.”

And in case you can, it is a good idea to drive there in a . The culmination of the tour was in the Cabot Trail, 300 kilometres of Cape Breton curves. Along the way, the four cars with different hosts and guides visited Ottawa, Montreal and Quebec City, before going through New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island to Novanbsp;Scotia.

Since Porsche’s website stated, Canada’s “world-class cities, rich history, vibrant coastlines, rugged terrain, and lush, understated wilderness provide new sights and sounds with each turn. And during each new experience, you are going to rely on one thing and one thing just to get you there — anbsp;Porsche.”

The idea appealed to JoAnn Van Engelen, a twice-widowed Boxster and Macan proprietor from southwestern Ontario; she is taking advantage of her liberty now that the family farm was sold and the children have left home. She is still frugal, however. “I saw it and thought, well, this is excellent, until I got to the cost, and I thought, ‘Oh,'” Van Engelennbsp;stated.

“And I thought, well, what about just knowing where they begin and after along? But then I have got to do resorts, and I didn’t have any clue how they are filling in the remaining hours. I spoke to my children about it and they said: ‘Oh mother, justnbsp;proceed.'”

The resorts are top-notch (the Andaz in Ottawa, the Queen Elizabeth in Montreal, that type of thing) and the food is high end, but the participants saw these as distractions in the driving. “We’d rather skip lunch, we are here for the cars,” said Paz Fernando. “Let us get out of bed early and get on it while we have access to thenbsp;street.”

This was the couple’s fifth Porsche tour in as many years, after trips to Italy for the Stelvio Pass and Romania for the Transfagasaran street, among others. “These excursions work best when everyone gets along and nobody takes themselves too seriously,” said Lisa Fernando, before dissing on a prima donna in Romania who ticked offnbsp;everybody.

Here in Canada, everybody did get together. The tour was rounded out with a Chinese property developer from Seattle and a wealthy Australian couple who take part in a number of such trips annually, and everyone agreed they would like more driving, with fewer citynbsp;tours.

The cars, after all, were terrific: Porsche 911 Carrera 4Ss, the same $150,000 cars used for Porsche’s performance driving school. Porsche offers a lot of different “customer experience” events each year, including performance driving schools at racetracks and brief tours that finish at racetracks. Internationally, Porsche offers many events and tours. This 3,000-kilometre drive to the East Coast to commemorate Canada’s 150th birthday, however, was anbsp;original.

“It is more of a branding exercise, building the brand and building the connection these attendees have with Porsche, and providing them a lifelong memory,” stated Daniel Ponzini of Porsche Cars Canada. “There’s a business case for all these events, such as all drive experience occasions, but it does more — it exposes clients to various styles of automobile and reveals them newer vehicles. It builds the brand in a differentnbsp;mild.”

There were originally 20 available spots for the one-off Canada 150 Tour but only half were sold. There was some grumbling during the driveway once the cars were in procession on the Trans-Canada Highway, sticking to the speed limit, but when possible, the manuals would leave the multi-lane highway and discover a country road with smooth asphalt and tightnbsp;corners.

In the end of it all, there was the promise of the Cabot Trail, Canada’s crown jewel of driving streets. “The deeper we got into the Maritimes, the greater the streets and the attitudes obtained,” remembered Paz Fernando afterwards in an email, following the trip was complete and everyone returnednbsp;dwelling.

“Obviously, the Holy [Cabot] Path was the highlight and rescue for 2 stubborn black SUVs that blocked us for a while from the Keltic Inn on the next day, the drive was the best. And lobsters and oysters were shown nonbsp;mercy.”

The author was a guest of the automobile maker. Content wasn’t subject tonbsp;acceptance.

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Courtesy: The Globe And Mail

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