Cobbel Beach Concours d’elegance
It’s a tradition that began in 17th-century France and has since travelled the globe — and on Sept. 14th, 2013, Concours d’Elegance, the renowned celebration of the craft and culture of luxury vehicles, revved its engines on Canadian soil. Or rather, sand: Cobble Beach golf resort community in Owen Sound, Ont., was the stomping ground of over 4,000 auto enthusiasts and collectors who gathered from across the world for the first-ever Canadian edition of the competition. With its 574 acres spanning 1.6 kilometres of sparkling Georgian Bay shoreline, the resort was the perfect pedestal for the legendary event. “If ever there was a Pebble Beach of the north, this is it,” says Steve Plunkett, special adviser to Cobble Beach Concours d’Elegance. “Breathtaking scenery, wonderful countryside and close to home.”
The guest list boasted some of the automobile community’s most revered names, from actor-director Jason Priestley, the event’s honorary co-chair, to 103-year-old Margaret Dunning, a longtime darling of the industry. Dunning’s trademark 1930 Packard 740 Roadster made an appearance, along with over 100 vehicles hand-picked from private international collections. The lineup featured pieces from the early 1900s on: from four circa-1930s Rolls-Royces, to Gilles Villeneuve’s 1970 Ferrari 312T3 F1, which won him his first Formula Grand Prix, to the Montreal-crafted 2013 Allard J2X MKII, to a rare 1949 Cadillac concept Coupe de Ville, the “competition of elegance” left guests dazzled. While the Concours successfully whet the palates of auto lovers, it did so for an incredible cause: funds raised were given to Sunnybrook Foundation to help construct a state-of-the-art helicopter pad on the roof of the Toronto hospital. And this wasn’t the only worthy cause backing the event: the environmentally conscious design of Cobble Beach golf resort community made the Canadian instalment of the competition an eco-friendly one.
The resort, which was brought to life under the direction and vision of Access Capital Corp. founder and president Rob McLeese, is innovatively “green.” From the resort’s five-star Inn and Clubhouse, which utilize geothermal heating and cooling, to the golf course that uses one-third of the pesticides, herbicides and water of a typical course, Cobble Beach was McLeese’s passion project. “It was my father’s vision to develop a brand new Greenfield community from scratch,” McLeese says, “one that is compatible with environmental and McLeese principles.” The journey of Concours d’Elegance, which spans over three centuries, turned a new page at Cobble Beach, celebrating North America’s 100-year-old love affair with its vehicles.
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