The tradition of Derby Car Racing is one with a rich history in St. Catharines. Dating back decades, the Soap Box Derby was once a thriving local event that saw young people build cars that cost no more than $50 in construction and race them. The St. Catharines Soap Box Derby, in its day, was sponsored by St. Catharines Standard and Drinkwater Motors, and saw a celebration beyond the day of the event as the winning vehicle was put on display at the Canadian Legion on Church St. in downtown St. Catharines.
Founded in 1946 the St. Catharines Soap Box Derby was truly quite a spectacle to be had. With parades, impressive prizes and plenty of coverage in the local papers this event drew quite the crowd, especially because the winner of the St. Catharines event had a shot at the American title. Boys would build their cars and would typically be sponsored by a local company. The winner would have an all expense paid trip to Akron, Ohio as their grand prize where they would compete in the International Finals for the supreme title of American Champion.
While St. Catharines no longer hosts a Derby Day, we certainly haven’t forgotten the excitement that abounded as a result of this major local event. In fact, the St. Catharines Museum is hosting Derby Day, a St. Catharines Soap Box Derby Reunion at the St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre on Saturday July 27th. This one day event is accompanied by an exhibition that will run in the St. Catharines Museum titled “Building Champions to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenge: Soap Box Derbies in St. Catharines,” where the history of the sport in our community will be detailed and showcased for the public to view.
The one day event promises to be an exciting walk down memory lane as a pop-up exhibition will also take place where former competitors and enthusiasts will bring their memories and artifacts to be on display for public viewing as well.
Date: July 27, 2013
Time: 1:00 – 5:00
Location: St. Catharines Museum & Welland Canals Centre