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All-Brit Classic Car Run not returning to Whistler

Long-running car show relocated to Harrison Hot Springs due to RMOW climate policy
Car Show1
A line up of classic cars at the ABFM show in Harrison Hot Springs on May 22.

Fans of classic cars and revving engines are going to have to look outside of Whistler to get their fix after the annual All British Field Meet (ABFM) Classic Car Run found a new home in Harrison Hot Springs this year.

For the past 27 years, the ABFM Classic Car Run has made the drive up the Sea to Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler where the cars were put on display at Whistler Olympic Plaza. It’s an event that many in town, like local musician Greg Reamsbottom, look forward to each year.

“I’ve been a fan of car shows my whole life,” he said. “Cars are bookmarks of design, technical innovation and history. The hard work and care of preserving these cars is commendable, and the camaraderie of these events is worth experiencing. You’ll never meet a nicer group of people.”

But due to the Resort Municipality of Whistler’s (RMOW) “commitment to climate action, it was determined that supporting gasoline car shows didn’t fit the community values, as demonstrated in the Official Community Plan and Big Moves Climate Action Strategy,” said an RMOW spokesperson in an email.

“Additionally, the placement of 100 vehicles onto the Village Stroll posed safety concerns, given the increased volume of people that now are visiting and enjoying the pedestrian stroll … The dates they were asking for were on a weekend when we already had a large volume of visitors with the Victoria Day long weekend and the Whistler Children’s Festival.”

Regardless of how many reasons the RMOW gives for not bringing the show back this year, Reamsbottom said he’s not buying it and calls their reasons “classic virtue signalling” that “reek of hypocrisy.”

“This town’s entire economy is dependent on fossil-fuel burning tourists. Until the RMOW has no internal combustion vehicles in their fleet, no leaf blowers or lawn mowers. Until they ban patio heaters etc., they’re just ‘blowing smoke,’” he said.

“Not allowing this event in Whistler didn’t change anything, the event simply went somewhere else. The event’s carbon footprint remained the same (or worse) so really, what was gained by this decision? I know that people will argue that ‘every little bit helps,’ and that we ‘have to start somewhere,’ but in this case I believe it was a hollow gesture.”

Reamsbottom also noted the “obvious” financial benefits the show brings to the village’s hotels, pubs, restaurants and gas stations.

When asked about not being able to return to Whistler, a spokesperson for the ABFM Classic Car Run declined to comment, stating “we are done with this and have moved on.”