Canadian Motorsports Heritage Foundation and Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame Historical Background
The initial concept for the facility was a place to honour and recognize the efforts, achievements and contributions that Canadians have made to the realm of Canadian Motorsports.
The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame was officially opened in 1993, and began inducting honourable members in that year. The first set of inductee recognition panels was displayed in a special section at the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds. The space permitted the display of only one vehicle. This first vehicle was the 1983 March Indycar of Jacques Villeneuve (Sr.) There soon was a need for a larger facility and the search began for a new home for the museum.
In November of 1997, the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame moved to 777 Bay Street. The 7,500 square foot space offered more room and a better display environment for the museum’s exhibits and soon attracted a steady stream of motorsports enthusiasts.
In 2001, the Hall of Fame moved to the Warplane Heritage Museum in Hamilton, Ontario for a short term before moving to the Sports Hall of Fame building in Toronto’s Exhibition Place, home of the Molson Indy Toronto race. The 7000 square foot venue housed Canada’s most significant collection of important race cars, motorcycles and a record setting Grand Prix boat.
From there, the collection moved to another temporary location at Legendary Motorcar in Milton. The restoration facility, owned by television personality Peter Klutt, also serves as the stage for the popular show, Dream Car Garage.
Currently, the collection is housed in secure storage as the board seeks to procure a fitting, long term solution. More vehicles are coming available to the collection and a massive archive is being accumulated documenting Canada’s motorsport history. The Board is now looking to the future needs of the Hall of Fame and embarking on a partnership to help secure a facility, which will allow the collection and the archives to be housed in an expanded common building.
The Hall of Fame now has 171 inducted honourable members, who have been recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to Canadian motorsports. These men, women and companies have earned the privilege to be a part of the Hall. Categories for induction include: Competitors, Motorsport Builders, Team Members and Significant Contributors.
An International category was recently added and Carroll Shelby, Professor Sid Watkins, Bobby Rahal and Michael Andretti have been inducted for their contributions to Canadian motorsports.
The annual black-tie induction dinner has become a popular and important event to the Canadian Motorsport industry. In the past, it has hosted such auspicious guest speakers as John Surtees, Dan Gurney, Jacques Villeneuve, Andrew Craig, Ron Fellows, Don Panoz and Brock Yates. The most recent dinner held April, 2012 was attended by nearly 300 people and included a very successful silent auction. The dinner and auction are the primary fund raising activities of the Hall at this time.
To continue the upgrading of displays and archive collection, fund raising programs are being developed on both short and long term fronts.
The “First One Hundred” campaign is directed at generating 100 patron donations of $2500 each to establish sufficient funds to hire a full-time General Manager and provide adequate operating capital in our present location.
For the long term, a campaign will be focused at supporting the efforts of the Board to ultimately provide for a significant larger facility. This will allow the CMHF to broaden the scope of the collection and its marketing activities.
The Canadian Motorsport Heritage Foundation now operates as a not-for-profit charitable institution. In the new millennium we continue to honour and recognize those who have made significant contributions to motorsports in Canada. As funds permit, we will seek out new additions to the collection and continually improve and upgrade our display environment.
The Hall of Fame comes under the jurisdiction of the newly formed Heritage Foundation, created by a group of leading international businessmen.
The Foundation aims The Foundation aims to continue to preserve the collection and exhibits of the Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame, as well as provide a comprehensive and interactive look at the long and storied history of motor racing in Canada.