Looking Back

In 1985 after returning from Americade in Lake George New York, three motorcycle enthusiasts got together and discussed their trip. While in Lake George they attended the open house hosted by the Harley Davidson Motor Company. It was at this open house that they saw Chapter Rockers for the first time and these Chapter Rockers had names from cities throughout New York State, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, Pennsylvania as well as other states. They decided to find out what was required in order to form a Chapter, so they spoke to the owner of Ab’s Motorcycle Shop, Ab Everest, their local Harley Davidson retailer and he spoke to the Canadian distributor for Harley Davidson Fred Deeley Imports. They told Ab what was required to form a Chapter and Ab passed the information along to the 3 riders who were Gord Barnes, Howard Siddall and Jim Haslett. Gord Barnes a local Real Estate Broker in Bowmanville and long time rider, Howard Siddall an employee of Ab’s and also a rider for many years, and lastly Jim Haslett the Branch Manager of Household Trust in Oshawa. Once they found out what the requirements of forming a Chapter they set the wheels in motion to form a local Chapter. Once they determined that there was sufficient interest to form a Chapter, a meeting was arranged to take place at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch at Simcoe Street South in Oshawa. The Executive Board Room was full and the meeting took place with various comments by those who had inquiries as to what the Chapter hoped to accomplish, what the Chapter would be called, what the requirements for membership where. Nominations for the various officers where accepted and a vote was held and the election of the first executive. Gary Pardy was the first Director elected. On “Our History” page is a picture of the first anniversary of the Oshawa Chapter #9016 and below the names of those people who were in attendance. What is interesting there are 30 people in the picture and there are 5 past directors in the picture. They are Gary Pardy, Sharon Dafoe (Lawrence),Neil Crowell, Andy Deleo and Howard Siddall.

The First organized “Ride” that took place in Oshawa was the summer of 1987. This ride was in support of the Salvation Army and their Christmas Toy Drive. The “Ride” was organized by Delores Peters and Betty Cornelius. Betty had just arrived in Oshawa and she and Delores came into Ab’s Motorcycle Shop inquiring if there was any kind of ride organized to collect toys for underprivileged children in the Oshawa area for Christmas. They found out that there was nothing and very shortly after that they had put together a ride to collect toys. The “Ride” left the Oshawa Centre, wound its way around Oshawa on the main streets and after about 15 minutes it ended up at the Legion on Simcoe Street South. This was one of the first events that took place. By today’s standards it was a small turnout but back then it was large. Many of the riders who participated were members of the new Oshawa Harley Owners Group. After the initial meetings and election of the Executive took place in the Legion.

The new chapter found a place where they would be able to hold their meetings going forward. That place was the Lake Vista Community Centre. The premises were ideal for their Chapter Meetings which were now held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month and another date was added to the monthly calendar which was the 4th Wednesday of the month. The dates were easily remembered because if you combined the the numbers together it gave you the number “2-4.” So you couldn’t forget when either meeting was.

The Oshawa Chapter was the Second Chapter to be granted their Charter by Fred Deeley Imports the only importer of Harley Davidson Motorcycles into Canada. The “First Charter” approved was the Windsor Chapter. As the only importer they were also responsible for insuring that all Chapters in Canada complied with the regulations set down by the Harley Davidson Motor Company . Each Chapter was sponsored by a local Harley Davidson Retailer. In Oshawa that Retailer was Ab’s Motorcycle Shop which was owned by Ab Everest and his wife Margaret. Ab like so many other motorcycle shop owners, was a former motorcycle racer. In fact he was the number one plate holder for Canada and the winner of the White Trophy in 1956. The White Trophy was awarded for the best performance by a Canadian rider in all disciplines.

In the first year and years to come the Oshawa Harley Owners Group would adopt as their “Charity of Choice” the Grandview Treatment Centre. The reason why this Charity was chosen was that one of the members had a child that was receiving therapy at the Grandview Treatment Centre. I do not have what the total amount that was contributed to Grandview by the Chapter in the first year, but as time went by, the amount that was contributed grew and grew. The reason for this was that Chapter would raffle off different items each year. The raffles that I remember were a Harley Davidson jukebox filled with CD’s, a special edition Harley Davidson Heritage Softail, a Harley Davidson electra glide motorcycle and two 883’s. In one of those years the contribution to Grandview was enough to purchase a lift for the pool. This lift would be used to help the caregivers at Grandview lift their clients in and out of the therapy pool. That lift can be seen at Grandview Treatment Centre and is still in use today. On the side of the lift it has a plate which is inscribed that the lift was donated by the Oshawa Harley Owners Group.

There is lots more to follow so stay tuned……