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Porsche Tour Canada 150

O U R H O M E A N D N AT I V E L A N D A S S E E N FROM BEHIND THE WHEEL OF A PORSCHE 911

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Among the many individual­s and organizati­ons that have chosen to honour Canada's 150th year are auto manufactur­ers. Back in the spring, Mercedes-benz organized a media tour that covered all ten provinces, and this fall another German carmaker celebrated our nation.

Kicking off on Sept. 25, and wrapping up on Oct. 3, Porsche Tour Canada 150 was a 10-day, nine-night journey covering 2,960 kilometres that spans five provinces on the road from Toronto to Halifax.

And the best part, of course, is every single kilometre travelled was behind the wheel of a 2017 Porsche 911 Carrera 4S.

Interested parties register online in advance through Porsche Driving Experience Canada, and pay a registrati­on fee ($11,995 per person plus applicable taxes) to secure their spot. That figure covers the cost of all meals and hotels, plus daily activities and, most importantl­y, the fuel needed to drive a 911 halfway across Canada. The only big cost that isn't covered is airfare – participan­ts are re-responsibl­e for additional cost of getting to and from the event.

The Porsche Tour Canada 150 has eight spots total, six of which are occupied by participan­ts who are traveling the full distance, along with two rotating media spots that have been set aside by Porsche. The four journalist legs are spaced throughout the trip, with most covering two cities along the route.

I was on the kick-off leg from Toronto to Ottawa, which also included stops in Kingston and Price Edward County, a popular summer vacation spot along Lake Ontario.

While it didn't seem like a particular­ly long distance, the two-day stint covered 690 kilometres and included a one-night stay at the Drake Devonshire in the small town of Wellington, Ontario, located roughly 103 kilometres west of Kingston.

Although my time in the program was brief – two days, one night – it was memorable. The weather was ideal for driving – sunny, if a bit hot for late September (33-35C, 40C with humidity) – and our leg of the trip included a three-hour boat cruise through the 1,000 Islands on Lake Ontario between Kingston and Gananoque.

Speaking of the car, I'd be remiss if I didn't include a few thoughts on car before wrapping up.

Whether it's in comfort, sport or sport+, the 911 Carrera 4S is bound to please – it still sounds great (although different now, thanks to turbocharg­ing), the PDK is a fantastic geabox in both manual and automatic modes, and 3.0L twin-turbo six delivers ample amounts of power throughout the rev range. There was no tracking on this program, but I've tracked the current 911 Carrera 4S before, and it handles beautifull­y – planted, predictabl­e and precise.

Oh, and the Porsche Sport Response Button (included with the Sport Chrono Package) is pure bliss. For those unaware, once this button is pushed it provides maximum accelerati­on for 20 seconds. How it works, exactly, I'm not sure – think of it as a `push-to-pass' button of sorts. I had the pleasure of sampling it to get around slower traffic, and it is exactly what one of our instructor­s called it – beast mode.

Those 20 seconds represente­d the only white-knuckle moment I experience­d during the trip. Everything else was just pleasurabl­e touring – a mix of great food, conversati­on and accommodat­ions, with a slice of our nation serving as a scenic backdrop.

A great road trip, in other words – Porsche style.

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