An escape to Northern Ontario – the 2017 Nickelball Rally
Some things in life are easy to say “no” to. The promise of perfect driving weather, fall colours, and 700km of empty, often untraveled backroads in Northern Ontario is not one of these things. When you are handed the keys to a 911 Carrera 4S, your chariot for this adventure, even those with the strongest willpower fold. And so I found myself, on a frosty fall morning, putting on my driving shoes and heading to meet fellow Porsche enthusiasts in Parry Sound – about an hour north of Barrie.
The day started with a meet and greet with fellow drivers as the organizers of the rally went over the rules. We had a variety of Porsches on this trip – from an early 993, to varying years of the Boxster, and a brand new Panamera 4S Executive Edition that was eager to stretch its legs (no pun intended). Our Castrol livery 911 Carrera 4S drew a crowd of excited onlookers when it rolled in – and for those that didn’t notice at first, the Akrapovic exhaust did a good job of announcing its arrival. Throughout the day, we got many questions about the car and it sure put a smile on the faces of a few kids as we made our way through smaller towns north of Sudbury.
The Nickelball Rally began in 2016 in an effort to encourage Porsche drivers to explore north of the GTA and expose them to some of the most wonderful landscapes our province has to offer. Having had a cottage near Sudbury for more than 20 years now, I was surprised at all of the beautiful roads and landmarks I had never noticed before. We wound our way up Hwy 69, winding our way up and down various exit ramps to enjoy the handling characteristics that Porsche is so famous for. Stopping at the Moose River Trading Post and then the French River for sightseeing, we then hopped back in our cars and enjoying a spirited drive into the Sudbury on Old Wanup Rd.
After stopping for lunch at the Legion, which overlooked Ramsay Lake and was decorated by the various INCO stacks in the background, it was time to go again. We headed through town to see the ‘Big Nickel’, then out of the city and more amazing driving through Dowling and Cartier. Roads were clear, there was not a cloud in the sky, and the Porsche convoy sounded epic.
After a dinner and night out on the town in Sudbury, the drivers rose early again and headed out to Manitoulin Island where the rally ended with a memorable ferry trip.
The best part of these rallies is not just the driving, which was spectacular. It was meeting other Porsche enthusiasts – new to the brand and otherwise, each attracted by the very things that make the Porsche brand so iconic. We’re looking forward to supporting the Rally again in 2018.
Cheers to forever finding new and undiscovered roads.
Photocred: Greg Oldenburg & David Chisholm