Jeep enthusiasts gathered at a Trunk Road parking lot Saturday morning were doing their part to ensure that a Canadian flag is passed across Canada as part of the first-ever Pass The Flag Across Canada event.
The event, which began by dipping the flag in the Pacific Ocean in Victoria, B.C. last Sunday, has already seen hundreds of Jeep lovers taking part in the cross-country adventure, which will conclude by dipping the flag in the Atlantic Ocean.
“We just tell people when we’re meeting, then people just show up,” said Daphne Lavoie, member of a local club known as Sault Ste. Marie Jeeps.
Lavoie, owner of a green Jeep dubbed ‘Daph Punk,’ showed up at the Sault Ste. Marie stop Saturday with fellow club member Pam Kennedy, who has nicknamed her red Jeep ‘Fireball.’
The pair has been using the lead-up to the stop in the Sault as a way of making a donation to the Sault Ste. Marie Community Soup Kitchen.
“Community, togetherness - this kind of stuff,” Kennedy told SooToday. “We’re pulling together and trying to do something positive, and raise some donations for the soup kitchen.”
As Pass The Flag Across Canada travels across the country, Jeep clubs along the way make sure to place their club’s sticker on a billboard.
“You’ll see all the stickers on the billboard there - each club has put a sticker on the billboard as it passes across the country,” Lavoie said.
So far, the flag has been dipped in the Pacific Ocean, Lake Superior and more recently, the St. Marys River.
Kennedy says there’s a sense of community among Jeep lovers.
When members of the local Jeep club went up to Wawa in order to meet the convoy of Jeeps headed east from Thunder Bay, Kennedy recalled, they ended up helping out a stranded group from Chicago while on their way back to the Sault.
“On the way down from Wawa we were driving - a group of five [Jeeps] - and there was another Jeep that waved us over,” she said. “Stranded, out of gas. We pulled in and one of our Jeepers - one that came from Thunder Bay - had a gas can, and we were able to give him gas.”
There are a number of Jeep enthusiasts, like Joe Kveton and Cindy Martin of Winnipeg, who just want to get out and ride in order to see where the road takes them in his 2018 Jeep Rubicon JKU.
Kveton says he’ll probably go as far as Sudbury, where the next handoff of the flag is slated to take place.
“I drove Jeeps since I was in the army - my army days back 40 years ago,” Kveton said, when asked about his love of Jeeps. “Ever since, it kind of stuck on me.”
Kveton showed SooToday a number of modifications that people have made to their prized Jeeps.
He can even tell you what activities the drivers are into just by eyeballing their rides.
His Jeep Rubicon, he says, will eventually undergo some upgrades to the tires, as well as the front and rear bumpers.
“Right now it’s stock, but eventually it’s going to be built up as I go along,” Kveton said.
Kennedy says she’s more than pleased with how the Sault Ste. Marie stop for the cross-Canada Jeep rally.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I wasn’t sure how many people would come, I don’t know if any people knew exactly what was going on.”
“For everybody to show up at this point this morning, it’s fantastic.”
Those interested in Pass The Flag Across Canada can monitor the progress of the Jeep journey through the event's open Facebook group.