After 2018 was finished, I posted a series of pictures from that calendar year that I hadn't posted anywhere else. Some were intended for various 2Cents columns, but didn't make the cut. Others were one-offs that never made it into a column or onto social media. I enjoyed the result, so I'm going to try and do it on an annual basis. And so, I present to you my outtakes and little-seen highlights from 2019.
Every few weeks, Dave Grant and I get together for an early weekend breakfast at a local diner. Occasionally, we'll bring some minor show-and-tell, or little gifts for each other, but more often than not, it's just two guys having a quiet breakfast before weekend family responsibilities take hold. One morning last winter, Eric Vettoretti joined us. He had a pending trade with Dave, as I recall, and brought the yellow dealer plate that you see here. He brought a little surprise for me, which I wasn't expecting: a Nunavut bear passenger plate. Many years before, Eric and I went junkyarding together and somehow came away with a Nunavut bear plate from a local yard. It was truly a joint find, so we invented a card game, with the winner keeping the plate. Eric won the game, and he still has the plate. Anyway, the pictured bear plate was a small part of a large batch of plates that Eric acquired, and he gave it to me as a late birthday present, to even out our mutual Nunavut find from long ago.
Don't get excited. This single plate is a repaint, and there's no telling what year or number it may have originally borne. I came across it at an Ottawa antique show. The price tag was $75. It was affordable, I suppose. But to me, it's essentially a piece of artwork. I didn't buy it, but I did take a picture of both the front and back. Someone etched the word "REPAINT" into the back. I approve of that... it's obvious to me that's a repaint, but a newbie collector might not know enough about plates to realize it.
I took this picture at Eric Vettoretti's house a couple of days after he acquired his number 591 Ontario leather. I hardly ever flaunt the one that I have, and it's usually secure in its safe spot, but I couldn't resist the chance to commemorate the occasion with Eric.
I love finding old derelict vehicles that still bear a plate. I'm past the point of wanting to separate the plate from the vehicle, because really, the magic comes from seeing the both of them together. There was a time when it would have pained me to leave the plate behind, but I'm not a teenager anymore, and besides, this truck is sitting on what is obviously private property (the owner was OK with the picture being taken). The truck sits on Highway 21 in Huron County, and has presumably been there since March of 1977!
A small version of this picture was actually posted in a 2Cents article last spring, but the rugged beauty of the plate and barn wall is so much clearer here. This '42 Quebec plate hangs in the workshop of a small business in Huron County. I love this picture. The plate is right where it belongs!
A local Ottawa dairy has a small fleet of Grumman ice cream trucks. My wife, kids, and I are big fans of The Merry Dairy. They're nut-free, which means that our whole family can have ice cream without worry (one of us has a severe nut allergy). When the owner approached me about getting a set of registrable 1970s-era plates for one of her trucks, I jumped at opportunity to make it happen. She later invited me over for a little impromptu plate-switching ceremony. Here I am in my Ontplates.com shirt, holding a blueberry-lemon ice cream cone, and posing with the freshly-installed front plate.
I love old VW Beetles, especially when they have YOM licence plates registered to them. I was in Bothwell, at the huge car show, and found this original '58 plate, mounted on a Bug with a period-correct dealer frame from nearby Chatham. I couldn't get a decent picture of the car, because the field was jammed, a tree was blocking most of the sunlight, and the rear deck lid was popped open, which makes it hard to get a nice picture, especially if the owner isn't right there to lower the lid. But I took a great picture of the plate, anyway.
One of my all-time favourite restaurants is Spaggedy Eddy's in London. I discovered it as a university freshman in 1993. I keep coming back for the great food, generous portions, and the plates, whenever I find myself back in town. In the '90s, they glued their menus onto the backs of common Ontario quarterly plates. This great 1918 plate is displayed on the wall near the bar. I love old vinyl now, too, and a 45 found its way into the picture.
Another car show sighting, this time in Ottawa. This 1925 Maxwell has a beautifully repainted Ontario plate on its front end. It's not a YOM registration, though... the rear plate was a regular Historic Vehicle plate. Still, it's a dazzling sight.
Here's a rare bird! This picture was taken the same day as the Maxwell image above. This 1924 Ontario dealer plate has been repainted and is mounted to the front of an operational 1924 Model T. It's just a single plate, with the rear of the car sporting a historic vehicle plate. My eyes popped out when I saw this!
I was at another car show in August, and spotted one of my Ontplates clients in the field. The short plate number fits really nicely on this '59 Corvette. The sticker on the plate shows that it's a live registration, as opposed to a show decoration. When I saw that the doors, hood and trunk were all closed, I spent a good five minutes photographing the car from every angle imaginable.
Now, here's an example of when the trunk should be popped at a car show!
I found this old Mercury pickup in Goulais River. The truck itself has seen better days, but the plate is as shiny as the day it was made, aside from the lawn trimmings that are stuck to its face. The truck is right on the roadside, and is the centrepiece of a flower garden. The property owner saw me photographing the truck... so I pointed at the truck and gave it a thumbs-up. I could see her laughing through the window of her house.
In October, I drove a U-Haul van across the province with my sister, going from Sault Ste. Marie to London. We took the Chi-Cheemaun between Manitoulin Island and the Bruce Peninsula. I always found it interesting that Highway 6 continues in both directions on either side of the ferry route (although the northern leg on Manitoulin used to be signed as Highway 68 until it was changed to Highway 6 in the 1970s, to offer better continuity). On the left is the first shield sign to be encountered by northbound traffic when it disembarks in South Baymouth. It's a relatively new sign. On the right is the first sign that's encountered by southbound traffic after disembarking in Tobermory. This is a fairly old sign to still be in service, given "The King's Highway" legend and some minor peeling. The directional "South" tab has the old "MTC" logo. The current Ministry of Transportation was known as the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MTC) between 1972 and 1987.
Here's the group shot for the Ottawa plate collectors' Christmas dinner. It was a fun evening, with trading, gabbing, and good food and drink. I might ordinarily devote an entire 2Cents installment to it, but I was pretty tired and needed a break from writing. John Hayes (bottom left) is holding some rare Ontario highway safety flyers from the 1930s. Next to him, Tom Zimmerman is holding a heavy porcelain Ontario Motor League sign. Eric Vettoretti (top, second from right) has a 1914 Ontario dealer plate. Yours Truly (bottom right) is holding a french-language Ottawa Redblacks plate. I generally don't go very ape over graphic plates, but this is the first one issued of this type... and I have no idea why "DZ" was used as a letter series, so melikes it.