By Jake Saltzman
After waiting more than a year for a proclamation from Nova Scotia Premier Darrell E. Dexter, antique car enthusiasts across the province are spreading the news that July has been declared Automotive Heritage Month.
The announcement came from the office of the premier last Wednesday, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association.
In an official release, the association said it was due to the efforts of another group, the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada, that Premier Dexter saw fit to sign off on the proclamation.
According Conrad LeLievre, Nova Scotia president of the association of automobile clubs, Automotive Heritage Month is something that has been long-overdue in the province.
Setting up Automotive Heritage Month
“We were the ones that requested it from the province,” LeLievre said of her group’s involvement in pushing the idea of Automotive Heritage Month forward.
“We actually requested it in July of 2012 and had the same proclamation for the month of July. But I think what happened last year is all of the car clubs knew about it, but not many other [places] in Nova Scotia did.”
This year, LeLievre is making sure he contacts not only car clubs across the province, but also news outlets and broadcasters in Halifax. He cites a weekly automobile-specific column in the Chronicle Herald as one way to inform the public.
Halifax Antique Car Club is Halifax’s largest automotive club. Formed in 1963, it meets nine times per year at the Museum of Natural History. The club also publishes a bi-weekly publication called Antics. Members attend car shows across the globe year-round, and will be holding their 50th annual show this August.
LeLievre says clubs such as Halifax Antique Car Club will be invaluable in promoting ‘Automotive Heritage Month’ both in HRM and beyond. Still, clubs can sometimes be problematic, particularly in promoting all-encompassing events.
“The problem with the clubs is that each one of the individual clubs may have particular areas of cars that they’re interested in, or types. We have a British car club that handles things like Jensens and MGs; and (we have) the Classic Chevy Club here in Halifax.”
As a result says LeLievre, certain clubs often carry certain agendas. Sometimes, those agendas do not involve promoting such a broad cause.
Automotive history not forgotten in Nova Scotia
In the three months leading up to ‘Automotive Heritage Month’ and then into July, LeLievre says he hopes not for celebration and fanfare, but instead for increased public awareness. There is no plan for a parade, (not yet, at least) and any car show will have to be put on by a club.
“I think what we need to do is just let people know that the proclamation has been made by the Premier.”
While that may be the goal of the National Association of Automobile Clubs of Canada, it is also important for the public to know that Nova Scotia has a long history in the auto industry, and that many car enthusiasts remain throughout the province.
“There’s a large gathering of automotive enthusiasts here in Nova Scotia,” says LeLievre.
“We have over 14,000 cars registered as antique vehicles in Nova Scotia at the present time. And that number keeps growing every year obviously because cars keep getting older.”