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Canadian Automotive Museum announces grant that helped it through COVID

The Oshawa, Ontario-based museum owns the world's most significant collection of Canada-only cars

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The Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario held an event in April for its supporters in honour of its efforts to engage visitors during pandemic restrictions, with help from a provincial grant. This included the popular Third Thursday talk series, where viewers could watch presentations from various automotive historians and experts from across the country.

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The Museum’s automobile collection includes the world’s most significant collection of Canadian cars, including many that weren’t made anywhere else. These include a Nova Scotia-built McKay, the only surviving Ontario-made Kennedy, a Brooks steam-powered car, and a 1914 Galt gas-electric hybrid. It was one of two prototypes made and the only one left, and recently returned home after an extended loan to the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, as part of its special display on electrified vehicles.

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Adapting the Museum’s various programs for online audiences wasn’t inexpensive, and it received a six-month, $50,000 Communities Building Fund grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation. The program was developed to help non-profits recover from the effects of the pandemic, and the grant was used to operate the facility and upgrade its digital capabilities when it was closed during COVID restrictions.

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The Canadian Automotive Museum was founded in 1963 and is located in downtown Oshawa in a building that served as a car dealership from 1921 to 1931. It has been undergoing a gradual transformation over the last few years, with interior building improvements, bilingual information boards, and new programs including the digital series, history walking tours, and March Break events for children. It has also catalogued its extensive collection of documents and photographs in its renovated Glenn Baechler Canadian Automotive Research Library, and is working with the Oshawa Public Library to make materials easily accessible to the public, including information from vintage repair manuals.

Oshawa is home to General Motors of Canada’s headquarters, but the automaker is not affiliated with the Museum.

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