More than 2,000 people braved a heat wave to visit the three-day antique truck show put on by the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society over the August long weekend.
The show—a celebration of the 100th anniversary of Hayes trucks—drew 80 trucks from around western Canada to the Alberni District Fall Fairgrounds, July 30–Aug. 1. Hayes Manufacturing was a pioneer truck manufacturer in British Columbia in the 1920s and is considered a mainstay in Canadian forestry. Hayes is a popular truck in the history of logging on Vancouver Island too, said David Hooper, who along with Bert Simpson and other IHS volunteers put on the show
Two truck owners came from Alberta—Spruce Grove and Wainwright. One arrived midway through the show from Prince George. Bill Ziesel of Shirley, B.C. brought a restored Kenworth to the show, and yet another driver came all the way from Kelowna, Hooper said.
There were some drivers who were torn between attending the Alberni Valley show and another on the same weekend in Victoria, he added, or the truck count would have been even higher.
“To me, one of the highlights of the show was when John Casanave’s Challenger truck showed up,” Hooper said. Casanave, from Port Alberni, built the Challenger mining truck to haul coal at Sparwood, Hooper said. When it was retired 30 years later he bought it back and re-built it. He recently sold it to a Campbell River contractor who intends to convert it to a ramp truck and put it back to work, but the contractor hadn’t picked up the truck yet so Casanave brought it down to the show.
There was also a mini-Challenger, owned by the IHS. It was originally a project for a metalwork class at Alberni District Secondary School and eventually completed by IHS volunteer Hank Bakken.
There were two other historical Hayes on loan for the show that piqued Hooper’s interest as well. The Campbell River Museum loaned the IHS a 1931 Hayes-Anderson logging truck, and the Cumberland Fire Department sent a 1930-31 Hayes fire truck—the only one the Hayes factory ever built, Hooper said. It was apparently the only one to go through the Hayes factory twice, according to local lore. The Cumberland Fire Dept. sold the truck after using it for a number of years, then bought it back in the early 1970s. Someone from the Hayes factory in Vancouver heard that the department wanted to restore the fire truck and they offered to do the work. The Hayes factory closed suddenly in 1975 after it was sold to a larger rival company.
Hooper posted numerous photos and historical tidbits about some of the trucks at the show on the Western Vancouver Island Industrial Heritage Society’s Facebook page. Richard Spencer, another IHS volunteer, also posted photos and video online.
Ross Stevens’ bright red 1929 Hayes-Anderson won mayor’s choice when Mayor Sharie Minions and her “advisor,” son Ben, toured the site on July 30.
Steve Alder and his son Rob brought their miniature steam train to the show for the first two days, offering rides to kids of all ages. The coal-burning steam locomotive is 25 years old, and Steve Alder built it himself.
Lou Desbiens and Greg Thompson from Courtenay as well as Ron Spencer from Nelson, B.C. were on site with their radio-controlled boats and logging operation next to the barns. The boats used the log-birling pond as their “boat basin,” with water courtesy of the Port Alberni Fire Department. There was also a Hayes History and Memorabilia room set up in one of the fall fair buildings.
“We had a few former Hayes employees come to the show; we had some guys from the actual plant in Vancouver,” Hooper said. Two people showed up from Saskatchewan, including one who sold Hayes trucks in the prairies in the early 1970s.
Artist Michael Dean from Ladysmith created a special “Hayes 100” print donated as a truckers’ draw prize; one prize among many.