Hot Au­gust nights of fun

Thou­sands gather to look at cars, so­cial­ize

Cape Breton Post - - Front Page - BY JEREMY FRASER

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.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

Hun­dreds were on Ge­orge Street in Syd­ney on Fri­day look­ing at antique and cus­tom ve­hi­cles dur­ing the an­nual Hot Au­gust Nights event.

JEREMY FRASER/CAPE BRE­TON POST

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.

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