After we were given the go-ahead by the Navy, we were very excited to begin our transformation of the HMCS Calgary chuckwagon as soon as possible.
Not even a snowstorm going over Rogers Pass could deter our enthusiasm. Yes, that did happen… so, we travelled to Canadian Forces Base Esquimalt to pick it up with the Alberta Carriage Supply trailer mid-October, 2020.
The weather was damp and a bit chilly when we arrived. (Perhaps we should have expected it, as that often seems to be the weather when we’re there.) Thankfully, it was a quick turnaround, and we loaded the chuckwagon with the help of three strong HMCS Calgary crew and were off again!
As soon as the chuckwagon arrived at our shop, we were able to get a better look at it. Unfortunately, the decision was made that it was in poor enough condition, that only a few original pieces were worth restoring. So we put our heads together to come up with a Restoration Plan B.
The good news? HMCS Calgary is getting a brand-new chuckwagon. The bad news? It’s taking us a bit longer than expected to complete the job. And the good news with the bad?
Our original completion date was the 2021 Calgary Stampede Parade so the HMCS Calgary crew could display the new chuckwagon as they marched down the parade route. But, the Navy had other plans. The ship has been deployed (did anyone catch the big drug bust?) until September 2021.
As a result, the restoration will be a bit more expensive than the original estimate. Because we feel the chuckwagon is such an important symbol of our history – AND because we want to continue the strong relationship our City has with its namesake frigate – Alberta Carriage Supply is donating our time and the frigate is paying for the replacement parts.
We thought it was a fantastic win/win situation.
And some extra help has come in the form of a friend of Alberta Carriage Supply. Bob Park, the Calgary Stampede Director Liaison with the HMCS Calgary, and a member of the Friends of the HMCS Calgary Committee, has been lending a hand where and how he can.
Would you be interested???
There has been interest from some members of our Alberta Carriage Supply community, to help with the restoration, in terms of donations and fundraising. We’re currently investigating this option. It would relieve some pressure off the Navy’s tight budget and we’re thinking we might have a fundraiser, with the highest bidder having a role in the rebuild – cooking the tires for the new chuckwagon, perhaps?
Would that be something YOU would be interested in donating to? Let us know.