ROOTED: The club, which has over 300 passionate members, has raised over $125,000 for charity through classic car shows, themed get-togethers and weekly cruise nights.
There’s nothing more typical of summer than seeing a long line of classic cars winding down a country road on a hot day.
Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club members have been enjoying this experience together for over 10 years, coming together from as far away as Wasaga Beach and Niagara Falls to enjoy the love of classic cars, fun events and good friendship that more like “the family.”
Founded in the summer of 2010 by current President Danny Facchini and a small group of friends, the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club today has over 300 members with a wide variety of vehicle gems – cars, trucks, classic motorcycles , modern, tuner and euro , boats and even vintage tractors.
With membership numbers ranging from just two years old to 90 years old, it’s safe to say there’s a vehicle out there to grab the attention of anyone – and everyone.
“We love seeing all the smiles in the parking lot,” said Bryan Elliot, vice president of the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club. “There’s too much drama and depression in the world today, so it’s nice to get away from it all for a few hours a week, have fun and not think about everything else.”
Elliot, a member of the club for nine years, caught the classic car bug from his father. The love for cars turned out to be a family tradition, with his brother also having a passion for the hobby.
Elliot made headlines last year as the organizer of the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club Graduation Cruise, which saw 65 classic cars race a route past Newmarket High Schools to celebrate students from the high school who were unable to attend traditional graduation ceremonies due to COVID -19.
Inspired by the disappointing virtual graduation options offered to his son, Zachary, the event was a socially distanced way to celebrate the hard work of students who had to endure difficult online learning — and unexpected success.
“We spread the word, expected 10 or 15 cars to show up, and ended up with 65,” Elliot said.
The 2021 Graduation Cruise isn’t the only event hosted by the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club in recent times.
The club is perhaps best known in the region for its series of annual events that bring the community together to raise money for charity in fun and unique ways.
This year, they’ve had four standout “big shows,” plus smaller monthly events like Women’s Nights, Kids’ Nights, Pet Nights, and weekly Cruise Nights.
The season opener this year was the 10e annual season opener Show, Shine and Smoke Out in Bradford, which included a burnout competition, hot rod burnout pit and charity barbecue.
Bothn/a The annual summer festival was held at Sharon Temple in August and hosted an impressive array of over 400 cars.
Bothn/a The annual Drive-In to Drive Out Cancer Car Show was held at Sharon’s Stardust Drive-In Theater and featured a free movie and show, 50/50 raffle, silent auction, DJ and movie cuts. $8 hair – with all proceeds going to Locks of Love and the Canadian Cancer Society. In just five hours, the event raised over $10,000 in donations.
Earlier this month, Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club’s 12e Annual season finale car show in Gormley which featured 75 cars, live music, food trucks and vendors, ultimately raising $3,000 for Big Brothers Big Sisters of York despite a rainy weather.
Even more annual events involve driving, such as the club’s “Apple” cruise, which involves a two-hour group ride through Gray County, ultimately ending at a local apple orchard.
To date, the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club has raised over $125,000 for charity, supporting organizations such as Southlake Regional Health Centre, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Doane House Hospice, Hockey For Grace and Canadian Crime Victims Foundation.
The club is 100% non-profit and supports a different charity for each of its weekly Tuesday meetings.
“We try to help as many local charities throughout the year as possible,” Elliot said.
Those interested in joining the Highway 11 Cruisers Car Club are invited to attend one of their weekly cruise parties, held every Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Harvey’s and Home Depot parking lot in Newmarket (17850 Yonge St.) .
Membership is completely free, with the club only asking you to volunteer your time where possible throughout the year to help organize and run their various events.
“The biggest advantage is the family. You don’t just have a group of people with the same hobby. You become great friends…everyone is welcome,” Elliot said.