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Form and Function on Qualicum Beach Streets

For 20 years the non-profit Seaside Cruizers Car Club has been putting on an annual car show contributing the net proceeds back to the community. From its humble beginnings when the six founding members attracted about 65 cars, the event has grown tremendously. To say that the Qualicum Beach Show and Shine is popular is a grand understatement with no less than Oprah Winfrey herself recommending it as one of the ten best things to do on Father’s Day. This year they expect about 600 cars and over 15,000 car nuts to attend!  I had to check it out.

It was nearing noon by the time we left so we decided to stop by the Shady Rest Restaurant for a light lunch on the deck above the beach.  A burger, a sandwich, fish & chips, it was hard to decide until I saw it! Shady-made flatbread with BC shrimp and bruschetta, Fanny Bay Oysters semolina crusted  and pan fried with smoked caviar aioli and peashoots, and with a little calamari on the side, it makes for a feast among friends. Not exactly your normal pub fare but it still pairs well with a beer.
 

The service was prompt and friendly but when the plates hit the table the mood shifted. My friend and stalwart road tripper became a human possessed. I swear if you didn’t move quickly you could lose a hand.  Thankfully the portions are generous and we left for the Show and Shine with all of our appendages intact.

The weather was hot and the parking scarce but we soon found a spot near the heritage train station and walked a couple of blocks to the happening in downtown Qualicum Beach. I was blown away. The number of cars of every description were impressive to say the least, more art than transportation, and the numbers of spectators were far beyond expectation.  

With the sun beating down on glistening metal and with oldies providing the back beat, we wandered past car after car parked  cheek to jowl, on angle along the street.  I had no idea how many skilled designers, mechanics and fabricators there were on the Island until I saw the result of their work, right here on the streets of Qualicum Beach, an eclectic display of automotive ingenuity. What surprised me most was how seeing these beautiful specimens of a bygone age brought back memories of a safe and joyous time. Maybe that's what these Show and Shines are all about.

 

The winner for Best of Show  was a 1947 Mercury from Calgary but I felt the 1948 Cadillac should have been at least an honourable mention. It turns out that the Caddy won the Oh So Low award so they didn’t go home empty handed. It’s all so subjective with cars and trucks from the 30’s to the 90’s, from hot rods and customs to faithfully restored classics, and with so many choices the best in show can come down to what strikes your fancy at that moment.  

The onslaught of music, colour and chrome was almost overwhelming. We wandered about taking pictures and talking to the exhibitors for a couple of hours and still hadn’t seen everything before having to head home for a dinner engagement. Oddly, the next day I discovered that most of the photos were of grills, hood ornaments and other close-ups. Art in the eye of the beholder I guess but for me this was inspiring and a must attend yearly event.