Hot August nights of fun
Thousands gather to look at cars, socialize
Greg Botte has vague memories of driving in his grandfather’s truck to deliver eggs to the local market.
And now Botte’s newly-born grandson, Avery Camille Joseph, will have an opportunity to make lasting memories in the same truck, only this time with his grandfather.
Botte was among the proud car-owners taking part in Hot August Nights in Sydney on Friday. Thousands of people descended on Sydney’s downtown core to see historic vehicles that had plenty of stories to tell.
Botte now owns his grandfather’s truck, a vehicle he never thought he’d see again after his grandfather, Camille Henry Botte, sold it many years ago.
In 1952, Camille Botte moved to Canada from Belgium. Upon his arrival to Cape Breton, he purchased a brand new 1952 Mercury truck in order to open his business, Botte’s Poultry Farm in Reserve.
A number of years later, Camille Botte sold the truck at the time Greg Botte was only a baby.
About 10 years ago, Greg Botte’s son, Marc, learned of a Birch Grove man who he believed owned his great grandfather’s truck. That man was Stanley MacKenzie.
“It was my grandfather’s truck, of course I wanted it,” said Greg Botte.
MacKenzie had purchased the truck, which had been sold many times before, for $100 and used it to travel back and forth to Prince Colliery in Point Aconi.
“Greg found out I had the truck and found out that it was his grandfathers to my surprise,” said MacKenzie. “Every time he saw me he would ask me to sell him the truck and I kept telling him no because I had planned to restore it.”
“I told him if I ever sold it, he would have it,”
Close to three years ago, MacKenzie, who had just turned 65, decided to sell the truck, much to the excitement of Botte.
“When I turned 65 years old I told myself that was it - it’s going,” said MacKenzie. “When he called I told him he could have it.”
When Botte heard the news he immediately went to MacKenzie’s house to buy the truck.
“I was very excited to get it,” said Botte. “I gave Stan the amount of money he wanted for the truck and I took it home and put it right in the garage and slowly took it all apart and made it what it is today.”
Botte, along with help from family and friends, completely restored the truck with modern day parts and paint.
“It’s a great thing to be able to rebuild something that your family had,” said Botte. “I have a family heirloom.”
Hot August Nights, held in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada, drew between 3,000 and 5,000 car enthusiasts to George Street in Sydney on Friday.
Antique cars and trucks as well as custom and modern day vehicles lined one of Sydney’s busiest streets between Townsend to Dorchester Streets for the event. Organizer Gary Chiasson said he was impressed with the turnout.
“I think the car people all enjoy coming down, especially for this because there are no trophies or anything, there’s no judging, and people enjoy that more than a serious car show,” said Chiasson.
Aside from the vehicles parked, many antique car owners not participating in the event could be seen driving up and down George Street with music blaring through their speakers.
“To see everyone out means a lot because it shows great support for the children’s wish,” said Chiasson. “The kids can certainly use a bright day and hopefully this helps them out.”
In previous years, the event has raised on average between $6,000 and $8,000 each year. Although the car show itself is free, money is raised for the foundation through T-shirt and barbecue sales, with all money going directly to the Children’s Wish Foundation.
The Hot August Nights event will continue today as antique cars will once again line George Street from 6-10 p.m. for public viewing.
Hundreds of people gather on George Street in Sydney to get a glimpse of their favourite antique and custom vehicles during the annual Hot August Nights event in support of the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada on Friday.
Hundreds were on George Street in Sydney on Friday looking at antique and custom vehicles during the annual Hot August Nights event.
From left, Marc Botte, Greg Botte and Avery Camille Joseph Botte stand in front of a 1952 Mercury truck during the annual Hot August Nights event in Sydney on Friday. The truck was originally owned by Greg Botte’s grandfather, who sold the truck many years ago. The Botte family found the truck and bought it and restored it.