#280 Canadian Tire: every man’s happy place

Grand old Mosport has taken on an important new partner. Now the question becomes, will Canadian Tire money be accepted at the gates during this summer’s traditional Superbike double-header?

On this page last issue readers were invited to drop us a line and talk tools. The invitation was inspired by Rick Epp’s “The Four Laws of Acquisition” in that same issue. The feature recounts the various ways tools—especially the ones that have meaning—end up on our workbenches and why they stay there. Some are legacy tools, handed down father-to-son, some are gifts from friends, while others stand the test of time simply because they’re good and, for that very reason, well-used.
Long-time reader and prolific ‘Letters’ writer Richard Dinning of Mississauga, Ontario, accepted the invitation to share a tool tale, though it has a very Canadian twist. Like most Canadians, Richard loves a bargain. But who would ever believe a tool that cost one slim buck would survive the seasons?
These are Richard’s words:

“Many years ago, 1976 to 1985 to be exact, I worked for Canadian Tire’s head office at 2180 Yonge Street in Toronto. As an employee I was able to take advantage of what Canadian Tire calls ‘sample sales.’ That is, they get in many things sent to them by wholesalers and manufacturers who would like Canadian Tire to carry their product(s). After they finish testing them, these samples are sold at deep discounts to employees.
“Some of the stuff is junk by the time they finish with them, but some of it makes it through testing intact. There are tools of every shape and size. I literally equipped my shop with these tools. One advantage is if they get through CTC’s testing, you know you don’t have to worry about straining or breaking them.
“One tool I picked up not because I had any current need for it, but because I might in the future, and it was cheap: $1.00. (Yes, the decimal point is in right place). That tool is a small four-inch joiner table model designed to be fastened to a bench. Other than my electric drill, I have used that little joiner more than any other power tool in my shop. It saved an expensive desk from being thrown out, it has fixed sticking doors and literally hundreds of other little jobs.
“It has never been attached to a bench, because it’s too useful being moved around. I have a Workmate bench I clamp it into if I need it bench-mounted temporarily. I have even used it on a mounted door as a power plane when removing the door was too difficult. I have many other power tools, both that I purchased and inherited, but nothing gets used as much as my dollar joiner—other than my drill.”

CANADIAN TIRE CONTINUES TO barge its way onto this page. On Feb. 10 we learned that Canadian Tire has entered into a long term partnership with Mosport International Raceway, in Bowmanville, Ontario. The most famous race venue in this country will be renamed Canadian Tire Motorsport Park. Moreover, Canadian Tire says it intends to increase its investment in Canadian motorsports.
“Canadian Tire is excited to give back to the racing community by working with Mosport International Raceway to improve this racing landmark in Canada,” said Allan MacDonald, senior vice-president at Canadian Tire’s automotive branch.
All this sounds terrific, but there’s one question remaining. Does this mean they’ll take Canadian Tire money at the entry gates during the traditional Canadian Superbike series double-header in August? If not, why not? The pastel green, red, blue, and brown bills have become Canada’s unofficial second currency. Canadian Tire bills were first introduced in 1958 and are now accepted at full face value at countless small town restaurants, stores, gas stations and bars across the country. The money represents the most overt underground economy in the world. Canadian Tire money is still accepted on ebay.ca (I believe) and there was a a bank machine in New Brunswick that accidentally dispensed Canadian Tire bills. A west Edmonton liquor store made the news a number of years ago because it accepted Canadian Tire money at par as a form of payment during the Christmas rush.
Even many charities will take spare Canadian Tire money off your hands. So now that they partly own the joint, or at least the naming rights for the next few years, Canadian Tire has made grand old Mosport an extended store. If they refuse to take your Canadian Tire money at the gate for the motorcycle races, complain like hell. But you do have to cut them a little slack: don’t bring all your five- and ten-cent bills.

FOR MORE THAN FIVE YEARS NOW, British researcher Intelligent Energy and Suzuki have cooperated on fuel cell projects that have so far produced prototypes such as the Crosscage and Burgman FC scooter. A recent press release says the two firms are ready to take it to the next level by starting a company specifically for building fuel cell systems. According to the press release, Suzuki and IE have committed to manufacturing at least one car and one motorcycle under the umbrella of the company called SMILE FC System Corp., which formed in mid-February.

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