Warm welcomes are part of what keeps Roy Brizio and his custom cars coming back to Canada.
The owner of Roy Brizio Street Rods in South San Francisco will be attending at least his third Northwest Deuce Days in Victoria this weekend, and he attributes the kind reception he receives in the city — from the second he arrives via the Coho ferry to the event’s final day — to his strong attendance record.
“We come off the ferry and they treat us like royalty,” he said.
Brizio and roughly 100 other custom car owners will be arriving in Victoria with their vehicles on Thursday — many from the ferry departing Port Angeles, Wash., at 12:45 p.m. and others from the ferry departing at 5:20 p.m.
Those arriving via the earlier ferry — who are expected to reach the Inner Harbour at about 1:45 in the afternoon— will be welcomed in what has become the four-day car show’s grand opening event, where a man dressed in a white tuxedo hands out roses to the arriving vehicles and a crowd of friends, volunteers and the public meet the participants.
Northwest Deuce Days’ executive director, Al Clark, said many participants are surprised by the reception.
“We’ve never had this before, anywhere,” Clark said.
Victoria’s scenery doesn’t hurt the welcome, either.
“For all these people to keep coming back to this event, there’s got to be something that attracts them. Obviously the venue — it’s pretty hard to beat the venue here in Victoria,” Clark said.
Brizio agreed, commending not only the scenery in Victoria but also the natural settings he sees driving across the U.S.’s northwest region.
“We’ve done this for years — 40 years of driving across country in these hot rods. Everyone enjoys the Canadian trip because driving up through the mountains is so beautiful, but coming across that ferry and pulling into the harbour is pretty special,” he said. “That’s a beautiful area up there and the drive is nice.”
The arrival ceremony is one of several events planned for Northwest Deuce Days, which takes place roughly every three years in Victoria. Three tours — including one to Butchart Gardens, one to the Camosun College Auto Shop and a whale-watching tour — are planned for Friday. A “poker run,” which will see participants draw cards as they drive from one Greater Victoria landmark to the next, and a gala are set for Saturday. And the showcase’s marquee event, Northwest Deuce Day, will land on Sunday.
More than 1,350 pre-1952 classic cars — including more than 600 Deuces, which are hot rods produced in 1932 — are expected to participate in the Sunday show. The vehicles will be showcased across the Inner Harbour and B.C. Legislature areas.
Brizio, as he said he does every year, will be bringing a 1932 Ford — this year, a 1932 Ford Roadster.
Northwest Deuce Days started 21 years ago. This year’s festivities mark the ninth iteration of the event.
Northwest Deuce Days: a timeline
2000: The first Northwest Deuce Day is held in Oak Bay Village
2002: The show moves to Chilliwack and sees more than 80 1932 Fords participate
2004: The show moves to Victoria’s Inner Harbour, where it’s been held since, and features 127 1932 Fords
2007: To mark 75 years since 1932 — the year of the Deuce, which are hot rods produced in 1932 — Northwest Deuce Day sees 761 vehicles register, 400 of which are 1932 Fords
2010: Northwest Deuce Day becomes Northwest Deuce Days, as the event expands to three days
2013: The event sees a record number of vehicles register
2016: Spots in the show completely sells out
2019: Close to 1,400 pre-1952 classic cars are expected to participate