I visited Niagara a couple of weekends ago. The plan was to meet up with some ZR-1 friends from Southern Ontario also David, President of the ZR-1 Registry, was coming up to visit from Baltimore. We got together on Friday night and had a nice dinner at The Keg in St. Catharines.
On Saturday we dropped my wife off at the Pen Center to do some shopping while me and David went to get the cars cleaned. Finding somewhere turned out to be more challenging than you’d imagine, but eventually we found Superior Car Wash & Express Detailing who helped us clear the hundreds of kilometers of dirt off the ZR-1s.
The owner of Superior had owned several Corvettes and also worked for a time at the GM engine plant in ST. Catharines. So we idled the time while the detailing was done sharing stories of ‘vettes, engines and horsepower.
After that we fitted the gorgeous oil-coolant hoses with help from Rizzardo’s Auto Service. Ray was very friendly and quickly had the new hoses installed. He related how he’d had a lot of fun in a borrowed C6 ZR1 for a while. The cooler lines are made by one of the guys on the ZR-1 Registry Forum (Hi, Yun!) and are quality pieces that look as pretty as they are functional. With the “chores” out of the way it was time to collect Hil and find some lunch.
We made our way to the Ravine Vinyard for lunch and some wine tasting. This had been recommended to us by our server at the Keg and we weren’t disappointed, the food and wines were delicious and the service excellent. While we were there the heavens opened up and the rain came down in a series of waves that left our cars looking like they’d not been cleaned in months!
We didn’t let that deter us however and visited several other of the wineries in the area including Trius and Marynissen. If you’ve never tried Ontario wines you should do. There is a range of different styles and flavors available and some really excellent ones available that can rival the best in the world.
Saturday night we visited Johnny Rocco’s, an Italian restaurant also in St. Catharines. Again the food was delicious (the Surf and Turf ravioli was mouth-watering!) and a few drinks helped everything go down smoothly. I wondered why they’d named the restaurant after the nasty character played by Edward G. Robinson in the classic movie “Key Largo”, but it turns out it was actually named after an Italian chef!
Sunday we were up early to secure a good spot at the show. It’s hosted by the Reif Estate Winery, a wonderful, picturesque location right on the Niagara Parkway. I’m not sure how many cars were on display but I would estimate around four hundred or more. And not just Corvettes, just about every form of motorized transport was on show from vintage cars to motorcycles, muscle-cars to exotics. Luckily the weather had cleared and we had a warm day with a nice breeze.
The Winery conducts tours and tastings during the show and they also produce a red and a white “Corvette” wine that typically sells out fast. The event was as packed as ever and everyone had a great time. We had six ZR-1 owners there, including two who’d bought their cars in the last month!
There was a warm sense of camaraderie as we discussed and compared our cars and got some memorable shots of the cars and owners together. I’ve been to the Niagara show before and usually have the only ZR-1 there, so it was great to see the turnout and I hope we can continue to use the show as a future “meeting venue” for the ZR-1 brothers.
There was also a surprise exhibit at the show too. The new C7 Corvette Stingray! This was the new ‘vettes second Canadian appearance in public and is definitely an indicator of how widely regarded the Niagara show is. There was a constant crowd around the C7 with people sitting in it and checking out the new features. If only GM would have allowed test drives!