There’s nothing that gets my blood pumping quite as much as the prospect of a good road trip.
So when Ellia told me that he had bought a home in Edmonton but needed to figure out how he was going to get his 370Z there it didn’t take very long for the keys to be in my hand and the car to camp out in my parkade for a few days while he got everything sorted out in the wild rose province.
In the week leading up to the drive, I reached out to a few friends in the Edmonton area and we figured that if by some fluke the weather held out we would all get together and host an event. Travis, an Edmonton local, Checkpoint supporter, and owner of the awesome cambered LS430 told me that he would do his best to bring out the best of what Edmonton had to offer.
Edmonton is certainly a strange place. With four to six months of extremely inhospitable weather every year, a downtown area that is so quiet you could hear a pin drop, seemingly nonexistent zoning laws (seriously, where else are you going to see houses built beside gas stations, marine repair shops and pharmacies?) and a road network that doesn’t quite yet fit the rapid expansion that the city has been experiencing.
All these anomalies aside, it turns out that Edmonton has a thriving, but hidden, car culture. The peculiarity of the city paired with the growing Tik Tok car scene of Ford Focus ST and Hyundais with sad stickers and replica wheels has driven a lot of the more dedicated car enthusiasts underground.
So when Travis offered the prospect of holding a meet that only featured cars that met a certain standard it peaked the attention of many. And as soon as the day came and the sun was in the sky it didn’t take long for the trainyard street to be quickly filled by quality builds.
As I walked up and down the street there was always something exciting for my eyes to look at. From Jesse’s turbo 13B swapped RX8 featuring bright yellow paint and rare Mazdaspeed aero, Vick’s S13 Silvia that had once been used as a G-Corporation demo car back in Japan, to Blaire’s JZX81 that had been used as a SerialNine demo car when it lived on the west coast.
As I left Edmonton I was left with a stark realization; even in a city where there could be seemingly endless excuses to not be a car enthusiast or build a quality car, there is still a strong desire to beat the odds and build cars that are exciting, filled with authentic parts, and enjoyed as much as possible.
It’s certainly not the city or the weather that makes Edmonton a hidden gem, it’s the people.