The automotive enthusiast community in Southern Ontario has been in a bit of a tizzy over the past 24 hours about the story of a convoy of MINI drivers that was pulled over on Sunday afternoon north of Toronto.
This is a story of driving, questionable journalism and even more questionable policing. It affects each and every driving enthusiast in Ontario.
Late last night I received an e-mail from Leighton Irwin asking if I had heard anything about how the OPP had “nailed a whole convoy of Minis on #11 North of Barrie on the weeekend. From the footage shown there were several cruisers pulling out and pulling over a lot of the convoy of Minis (new version) Supposedly nailed several for 50 over and seized cars etc. Also apparently 11 cars (not sure if they were all Minis) had children in them and the OPP are involving the Childrens Aid Society.”
I found and watched the news report on A Channel, which were there for the event. As I listened carefully, I was astonished to find that the news coverage had been scripted in such a manner that it sounded like the car siezures, 50 overs and CAS involvement had applied to the convoy of MINIs. I decided a bit of digging was in order.
The news report with the offending verbiage was removed from the A Channel web site at some point earlier today. So much for the accountability of traditional media vs. new media, but that is another topic. Sort of. Another time perhaps.
Through the power of the interwebs, I have been speaking with one of the MINI drive event organizers. He has done such a great job outlining the day’s events that I have no choice but to respect his request for anonymity:
The “Rattler Cruise” Background:
We hold a cruise up in the Muskoka area in the Spring and the Fall called the Rattler (My wife and I came up with the name because of the effect that the run has on both your body and cars and the fact that Torrance Barrens is one of the last strongholds of the Massasauga Rattle snake). The cruises are designed as family friendly days out and pretty much mark the beginning and end of the ‘cruising’ season. This is the 5th running of the spring event which started out with only 20 or so Minis. The spring and fall cruises now attract some 40 and 60 plus Minis respectively.