Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame, History, Evolution and Future
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame evolved over time from its origins in the Canadian International Motorcycle Heritage Museum Foundation, (C.I.M.H.M.F.) which was incorporated in March 1999 by Bar & Hedy Hodgson and Peter Derry. Its purposes included the building of a motorcycle museum in which the history of Canadian motorcycling would be preserved and available to the public, along with educational support for Canadian motorcycling. Their vision and foresight was instrumental in bringing a focus on the subject of Canadian motorcycling and the accomplishments of Canadian riders, entrepreneurs and organizations.
In 2006, the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame came into being as a major function of the C.I.M.H.M.F. following the initiative of Dave Lloyd. A Board of Directors was established for the Hall, with representation from across the country, inclusive of the many disciplines of the motorcycle sport and community.
The Hall’s mission was simple: to preserve and celebrate the history of Canadian motorcycling. A nomination and selection process was established and in the fall of 2006 the Hall of Fame held its first annual Banquet and Reunion to celebrate the initial group of inductees.
The Bar and Hedy Hodgson Award was introduced at the 2007 Induction Banquet and Reunion to encourage preservation of our Canadian motorcycling heritage by honouring a person, group or organization making a significant contribution to the preservation of that heritage. The initial recipient was Dave Lloyd whose long history in motorsports from competitor to historian was a significant part of the Hall’s foundation.
Over the following 4 years the administration and operation of the Hall of Fame and its event became increasingly complex and demanding on a volunteer Board of Directors. For example, in 2010 the event was held outside Ontario for the first time, in Burnaby, to demonstrate that the Hall is a national organization and intends to bring its celebrations to all the regions of our country.
An agreement was also reached that year with the Motorcyclists Confederation of Canada (M.C.C.) for the provision of both funding support and administrative functions which enabled the Hall’s volunteers to focus on the nomination and selection process and the annual celebration of their selections for induction into the Hall. The Motorcycle Moped Industry Council generously came on board in providing funding to the M.C.C. to support the Hall.
Over the next several years the Hall of Fame Board undertook a Strategic Planning project with the support of the M.C.C. Board and staff to develop a future game plan for its evolution. A critical conclusion was that the prospects for a physical museum would be extraordinarily expensive and beyond the foreseeable capabilities of the organization going forward. Therefore it adopted a future focus on an eventual virtual museum with its central focus on preserving history online.
Another critical decision was to ensure the organization was truly national in scope, by holding its annual celebrations across the country. This would assist in engaging industry and sport groups across the country in common cause. The annual Awards Banquet and Reunion events then carried on with celebrations in Toronto, Burnaby, Montreal and Edmonton. At the 2014 event in Edmonton the Hall’s list of inducted competitors, organizations, educators, builders and events surpassed 100 for the first time.
In 2015 the organization was ready to stand on its own and a separation agreement was reached with the M.C.C. for the Hall to operate independently. By that point its credibility had grown steadily and the Canadian motorcycle industry decided to maintain its funding support through its show subsidiary, Power Sport Services. This support has enabled the Hall to move forward in its plans and present a truly memorable event for Canadian motorcycling.
Canada has produced many world-class competitors in every branch of the sport, some of whom have become world champions. Our clubs and sports organizations have a rich history of developing and sustaining events that are renowned for their professionalism, excitement and achievements. Industry leaders have also become champions of our sport through support for competition and competitors. Our educators have contributed to the health of our sport by developing training programs that are the envy of many other countries for their effectiveness and value. The Hall of Fame has inductees from every discipline and aspect of the sport, including the tireless workers who make it all possible.
The 2019 Awards Banquet and Reunion in Toronto was the 14th annual celebration, and our list of inductees now stands at 157. A complete listing of the individuals, clubs and organizations who have been inducted can be viewed at https://canadianmotorcyclehalloffame.ca/
One of the best aspects of the annual event is the opportunity for all of the individuals who have excelled in their motorcycling careers to get together and visit their historical friends, sponsors, and competitors along with their families to refresh their memories and rekindle friendships. This gathering prior to the annual induction of a new crop of their compatriots enabled the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame to become the ‘Canadian motorcycle social event of the year’ wherever it goes.
The Hall of Fame is now embarked on its next phase of evolution. Originally incorporated as an Ontario-registered not-for-profit organization and registered charity, it is in the process of switching its registration to the national stage. The governments of Canada at both the federal and provincial levels have been overhauling and modernizing their statutory legislation and regulations governing not-for-profit organizations and part of this process is a requirement for re-organizing our own governance processes and re-registering.
As its goal is broad recognition as a national organization within the Canadian motorcycling community, the Hall’s Board believes this is best achieved with federal registration. This process should be completed in 2020. The hope is that this will enable the Hall to undertake funding mechanisms and operations that transcend provincial borders and provincial limitations. It also has some ambitious projects that will move the organization into greater prominence and recognition from coast to coast. Several of these initiatives are outlined below.
The initial capital cost of a physical museum is estimated at millions of dollars and then the operating expenses on top of that make this project totally unfeasible. However, the cost of developing a virtual museum attached to the Hall of Fame website is entirely within our financial reach in the near future. Over the years to date we have achieved a state of relative financial stability to the point where we are now planning the virtual museum. The potential of this project is enormous. It will dovetail perfectly with our annual Banquet and Reunion events to enhance the awareness of the Canadian motorcycling community of the rich heritage we share.
The virtual museum is in the planning stages now. We will be reaching out to the motorcycle community in the near future to request contributions of materials that are appropriate for preservation in this manner. Suggestions on structure and process are also very welcome as this is a new venture that will benefit from inputs from diverse sources.
National Motorcycle Museum Network
There are already a number of motorcycle museums in existence across Canada. Each is a project resulting from the passion of individuals and groups with a specific focus. Each faces its own challenges for marketing and generation of adequate financial support to maintain its operations. We consider all of them to be partners in our mission and wish to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship with them.
Our project is titled the Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame National Motorcycle Museum Network. Our goal is have a major section of our virtual museum website that provides a visual and documentary overview of each of the museums that join our network. There will be links to their own websites. We will be promoting each other and not competing with each other.
Down the road we see the opportunity to establish events and activities that enhance the linkage, such as sponsored motorcycle tourism events that reward those who visit these museums. We envisage a “Passport” for participants that would be stamped and accumulate points towards participatory rewards over time. This could be tied to a membership system at nominal cost that would include an online newsletter promoting events at the various participating museums.
Reunions & Awards Banquets
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame Annual Banquet and Reunion has become a prominent feature of the motorcycle season calendar for those who are interested in the history of motorcycling in this country. It is the hope of the Board of Directors that the annual celebration can evolve further as resources become available to expand from a single evening event into at least a daylong event with an evening celebration. This event could have various features that are viable in the region where the celebration is held, depending on seasonal weather considerations, for example.
Motorcycle Dealers, aftermarket suppliers, clubs, media and tourism promoters in the region where the annual event is held could come on board to support and participate in the event, as occurred in Edmonton in 2014. We would look to form a local organizing committee to plan such activities, while the Hall’s Directors focus on the Reunion and Awards Banquet itself.
The Canadian Motorcycle Hall of Fame belongs to the entire Canadian motorcycle community. It operates through a volunteer Board of Directors and workers who share the vision of preserving our remarkable history of motorcycling achievements. There are many opportunities for individuals to contribute their personal expertise in many areas to maintain this organization and its events.
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