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Fiat Panda and Punto Coming to Canada?

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Fiat Punto Evo Abarth

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Canadians have a thing for small cars, a fact Fiat acknowledges. Reports claim that the company will offer the Fiat Panda and Punto in the Great White North. As for Canada’s Southern neighbor… well, it might just be left in the cold.

Going by Fiat 500 sales, the tiny hatchback sold just 20,000 units in 2011, failing to meet expectation. In Canada, it recorded 5,000 sales, exceeding expectations. With such a huge discrepancy in favor of the American market, you’re probably still asking yourself “why Canada?” Well, it all makes sense once you consider that the U.S. market is ten times the size of Canada’s, yet sold just four times as many Fiat 500s. As stated earlier, Canada loves small cars and Fiat’s expertise lies in making small cars.

In addition to the recently-revealed Fiat 500L, which will likely be offered in both the U.S. and Canada, the inclusion of the Fiat Panda MPV and the next-generation Fiat Punto (current Abarth model pictured above) will mean the Italian automaker’s Canadian portfolio will be more extensive than its American portfolio, at least in the short-run.

Reference: The Truth About Cars

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Canada

Sikh Motorcyclists Can Soon Ride Without Helmets In Ontario

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sikh motorcycle helmet

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Canada’s largest province, Ontario, will become the fourth province in the country to allow Sikh motorcyclists to ride without helmets.

Male Sikhs wear turbans for religious purposes. In an August roundtable interview with the Sikh community in Brampton, ON, premier Doug Ford said “It’s going to be one of my agendas, I’ll move forward with it, I’m keeping my promise” when asked about exempting male Sikhs.”

“Promises made, promises kept,” he added.

Alberta became the third province to exempt Sikh riders from helmets in March 2018, following in the footsteps of British Columbia and Manitoba. Bills regarding the matter were introduced in Ontario as far back as 2013 but were shot down and failed to pass.

The helmet law as it pertains to Sikhs was first challenged in Ontario in 2008, when the Ontario Human Rights Commission took up the cause of Baljinder Badesha, who was fighting a $110 ticket for refusing to wear his motorcycle helmet.

Ontario Court Justice James Blacklock ended up ruling against Badesha and the OHRC. In his 35-page decision, he stated that an exemption would render the province’s helmet law unwieldy since anyone violating it could simply claim they were devout, a sound argument, if you ask me, even when not considering for the safety implications.

Let us know, is it fair for only Sikh motorcyclists to be exempt from the helmet law, and is there a solid argument for the exemption? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Credit: Surjit Singh Flora

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Aftermarket

Canadians Build World’s Fastest Hot Tub

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Feastest Hot tub

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Canada isn’t known for brash accomplishments, but two engineers lit a big spotlight on the introverted country when they took a 1999 Cadillac DeVille and built it into the world’s fastest hot tub.

Why anyone would want to build the fastest hot tub is beyond me, but what Phillip Weicker and Ducan Forster managed to achieved is quite the accomplishment. Before we delve into how they were able to do what they did, let’s look back at how it all started.

Time travel to 1996, when the two gearheads were engineering students at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. Presumably after drinking a lot of Molson beer, they became inspired by the famous Ernest Hemingway quote: “Always do sober what you say you’d do when intoxicated.” Empowered by those strong, motivating words, they planned the impossible.

Weicker and Forster took an abandoned car left on their campus (a 1982 Chevrolet Malibu) and — you guessed it — turned it into a hot tub. More specifically, a fully-operational and fully-drivable, hot tub…

Fast forward several years after that ‘little’ project and the duo have landed jobs as professional engineers. And as often is the case with those born with an insatiable creative urge, the desire to go “bigger and faster” reared its head, and bigger and faster they went…

“The Carpool Deville” project they began involved purchasing an $800 1999 Cadillac DeVille and then gutting it. Its interior was removed and an elaborate, custom fiberglass tub was installed.

For driving, a marine-style steering wheel, a gauge cluster, and throttle controls were fitted, while the 427-cubic inch V8 was rebuilt to not only propel the DeVille to speeds of over 50 mph, but also to heat the pool water to a balmy 102 degrees.

Mission accomplished!

Since completing the Carpool DeVille in 1999, Phillip Weicker and Ducan Forster have become minor celebrities and emblematic of what can happen when you think creatively. Those who said that “a 50+ MPH hot tub was just a dream and could never be created” didn’t know what they were talking about. Let’s face it, the two persistent Canadian engineers have made automotive history. OK, sort of…

Reference: Hoffman Chrysler Jeep Dodge

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Canada

Hot Wheels Launches Track Builder Challenge in Canada

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Hot Wheels Track Close-up

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Thinking about the future of our young children, Hot Wheels Canada has launched a Track Builder Challenge to encourage their learning and creativity. The cross-national challenge will take place over a six-month period throughout the spring and summer of 2014.

As part of its launch, an interactive track exhibit featuring the Canada’s first Ultimate Track will be shown at the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) from March 8 to 16 during the Gallery’s March Break drop-in program. The Ultimate Track is built by a team of ‘Track Experts’ and is comprised of over 1000 pieces of track and connector, and stretches over 625ft.

“The exhibit at the AGO is the perfect benchmark for this program, as the house inspired set educates both parents and kids on the endless track building possibilities using the surfaces they have at home,” said Michael Ng, Brand Manager, Mattel Inc.

In addition to the exhibit, Hot Wheels’ website will house a nationwide Hot Wheels Track Builder Challenge contest that will allow kids to learn from the aforementioned Track Experts. It will also give them the opportunity to submit their best Hot Wheels tracks for a chance to win a custom built track in their home, and a Track Party hosted by Hot Wheels.

After its display at the AGO, the Hot Wheels Track Builder Exhibit will make its way to other Canadian locations. Entries for the contest will be open until August 31st, 2014, and the grand prize winner will be announced in September. Those interested should visit hotwheels.ca.

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