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Proud to be a Vette owner? Then join the club.
Formed in 1962 by a small group of Toronto-area enthusiasts, the Corvette Club of Ontario is Canada’s oldest Corvette owners association.
“When I joined in 1984 there were about 30 members, but we have had as many as 200 at our peak,” said John Marino, who has in the past served as the club’s president, vice-president and competition director.
The Ontario club, which currently has about 100 active members, is putting out the word to associates from the past about its 50 anniversary celebration this year.
They’ve organized a weekend anniversary bash at a Grand Bend resort June 22-24.
The CCO raises funds for the Spina Bifida & Hydrocephalus Association of Ontario and other charities that benefit children through monthly 50/50 draws and special events and campaigns.
A Bell Canada technician, Marino is currently the CCO’s ambassador to the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green, Ky.
“I’ve met a lot of good friends over the years. To me it’s more than just a car club. It’s my passion, it’s my hobby.”
He currently has a Nassau Blue 1999 FRC Corvette and has owned a 1965 Stingray, 1980 L82 and a 1988 convertible — all in shades of blue. His garage and a basement recreation room are packed with club trophies, plaques and a ton of Corvette memorabilia. Marino’s wife Judy, their daughters and even the family pooch embrace his Corvette commitment.
Marino’s reverence for the legendary Chevrolet sports car and the club runs so deep he’s had the CCO’s uniquely Canadian crest tattooed on his upper arm.
“I waited a number of years before getting the tattoo and then one day I realized I really wanted it. When I’m cruising, people know the club I belong to and the car I love,” he said.
The Ontario group is one of about two dozen Corvette clubs across Canada that can be found in almost every province from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Most are members of the Canadian Council of Corvette Clubs (CCCC) formed in 1974.
Marino’s group has been associated with a national council in the U.S. since 1964 and they decided to continue as members of that association.
“We join because of our Corvettes but we stay because of our people,” is the CCO’s motto and it echoes the sentiment of just about every Corvette club on the planet.
South of the border, where the Vette holds the prestigious title of “America’s Sports Car,” there are about 16,300 members in 265 clubs across 16 national regions registered with the National Council of Corvette Clubs, Inc. (NCCC) — the council to which the CCO belongs.
Founded in 1959 by a small group of Corvette enthusiasts, the U.S. national council celebrated its 50th Anniversary in 2009.
Just three years after the car’s debut, the Corvette Club of America — the world’s oldest — was established in 1956, bringing together Vette owners in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.
The first Corvette was a convertible designed by designer and GM vice-president Harley Earl and introduced at the GM Motorama in New York City in 1953 as a concept car. Myron Scott is credited for naming it after the small and manoeuvreable warship called a corvette.
Originally built in Flint, Mich. and St. Louis, Mo., the Corvette is currently assembled in Bowling Green, where the national museum documents the car’s worldwide history and hosts its annual Hall of Fame induction celebration and anniversary event on Labor Day weekends.
There are Corvette clubs all around the globe, including organizations in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
So it’s just a matter of time before a Corvette club is organized in China.
Past members of the Corvette Club of Ontario are invited to contact the club through the CCO’s website at http://www.corvetteclubofontario.com
The club also welcomes new members who share a passion for Vettes.