When you think of me, you likely don’t think of cars. That’s fine, no offence taken. I’m not what you’d call a “Car guy.” I mean, my first car was a Saturn Ion and whenever Tim Taylor was talking about fixing that car in his garage on Home Improvement, I always went to the washroom. So to quickly recap: I’m definitely not a car guy.
But movies and television shows? Well, movies and television shows, now that I can get behind.
These interests and lack there of meant that growing up, my dad and I haven’t always had a lot to talk about it. In recent years, our conversations have luckily been saved by our mutual love of Big Bang Theory repeats, but when it comes to cars, I wasn’t always his go-to son. (Which likely explains his over the top excitement when I finally learned how to drive a standard.)
My dad and I’s interests, or lack there were recently tested when during his recent visit to Calgary, the temperature dipped to -40 degrees and we were left looking for things to do indoors. Since he’s been visiting Calgary for years, we had pretty done everything. While surfing the internet, looking for something to do, I came upon Heritage Park’s Cars of the Big & Small Screen exhibit. Upon quick inspection it had everything I needed: It was indoors, there was something for my dad, something for me and free popcorn. It was literally the holy grail of father and son excursions.
The exhibit is just one of the many exhibits car lovers love at Heritage Park, which features dozens of perfectly restored cars and gas pumps, but the highlight for me was definitely the cars of the stars, which is featured in the lower level of Gasoline Alley.
The day we were there, it was pretty quiet because it was a weekday, so it was nice to have some time to really get to see the cars and hear about their history from the guides, who are seriously just so friendly and informative. I didn’t ask, but I assumed they were volunteers who were just looking for fun jobs after retirement, which is really the best kind of job, isn’t? While not all the cars are the real cars in the movies, they are practically exact replicas and the guides were able to tell us about the building process, which my dad absolutely loved.
Some of the cars at the exhibit features everything from Herbie the Love Bug to James Bond’s Aston Martin, The Starsky and Hutch Gran Torino and The Munsters’ Drag-U-La.
Since we pretty much had the exhibit to ourselves, I decided to take advantage of the costume rack. For the most part, I’ve long given up on my dreams of being a movie star, so putting on a costume and standing beside movie cars will have to do as my “Oscar moment” so I might as well live it up, right?
“Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLorean?”
Couldn’t tell you a Magnum P.I quote if I tried to!
“I may be kidding myself, but I think I can make something out of that sad little bucket of bolts.”
Honestly, it was cool to see the cars and dress up and of course, free popcorn simply and always will be the coolest, but what I loved about this experience was hearing my dad talk about the cars, because his perspective as someone who loved the shows and loves the cars is especially unique. Of course, I knew cars like the Delorean from Back to the Future and the Ferrari from Ferris Bueller, but Magnum P.I’s Ferrari 308 GTS and the Dukes of Hazzard’s General Lee were just before my memory started really working, so hearing my dad tell stories of watching the shows when he was younger, is what I’ll remember most about this trip.
Cars of the Big & Small Screen at Heritage Park runs, sorry, drives until April 21st.
This post is presented by Travel Alberta.