Birthday celebration part of Steam and Gas Show

Filed under: Headline,In Our Community |

Steam&Gas1 by Fred Groves

Some people like to spend their birthday with a little quiet time. Not Morris Kurzuk.

Sunday was his 82nd birthday, and he spent the day at one of his favourite events, the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum’s 33rd annual show.

Held over three days in McGregor, the event once again allowed Kurzuk to show off his immense collection, which includes a very interesting Autotrac.

The Autotrac is a cross between a Model A car and a tractor that was available in the 1940s by Otaco in Orillia. It came in a conversion kit and was built by hand when tools were limited and tractors were expensive.

Steam&Gas2While Kurzuk’s display was one of the largest at the show, he admitted he did not bring everything he owns to see.

“I still have about 50 tractors at home and a 1917 touring car. I’m just one of those antique collectors. I’ve geared down. I’m only doing four shows this year,” he said.

Kurzuk is a familiar face at parades and shows, such as the coming Harrow Fair, when he brings along his hulking 1920 steam engine for attendees to see.

Over the weekend, he also showcased an old chuck wagon he found in a barn and restored to mint condition, and his favourite, a Minneapolis-Moline tractor that was first used by his father.

“I’m a farm boy from Saskatchewan. I came here when I was 19,” he said.

This year’s show featured entertainment, children’s activities, a sanctioned tractor pull, working saw mill, and some very old bicycles.

Mark McGuire is a collector of many two-wheel beauties, one that he figures dates back well over a hundred years.

“Most of them I get at antique sales,” McGuire said.

Most of McGurie’s bikes were made by the Canada Cycle Motor company (CCM). Some of their bikes were made from the scrap metal used in Massey-Harris tractors. One of his favourites is a model made between 1937-40 that had curved forks.

“In today’s money, it would be worth $5,000,” he said.

McGuire hosts his fifth annual Southern Ontario Vintage Bicycle Open House on August 27 on the 6th Concession of Amherstburg.