“Soap Box Derbies”


Saturday, July 27, 2013


St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre, 1932 Welland Canals Parkway, St. Catharines, Ontario

How many people exhibited objects?


How many people came but did not bring objects?



St. Catharines Museum and Welland Canals Centre - www.stcatharines.ca

What was it about?

This event was originally intended to complement the Museum’s new exhibit, “Building Champions to Meet Tomorrow’s Challenge: Soap Box Derbies in St. Catharines,” but the reunion took on a life of its own!

Our goals were to celebrate the rich history of soap box derby racing in our community, provide a forum for past participants, fans and supporters to share their own stories, and give attendees a chance to reconnect with each other and the derbies that were such a big part of their childhood. Former racers and enthusiasts were invited to contribute to our first Soap Box Derby pop-up museum exhibit and share their souvenirs and memorabilia, which we hoped would serve as conversation starters!

How did it go?

We knew there was a dedicated group of Soap Box Derby enthusiasts in our local community - but we didn't fully appreciate the wide reach of this event until the day of the reunion! Past champions brought their derby cars, others brought (and wore!) their helmets, along with trophies, photos and newspaper clippings. Entire families came to the event - parents, children, grandparents and grandchildren all got a kick out of taking a walk down memory lane.

We had two reunion attendees realize that they had raced against each other in the early heats of the 1963 Derby; while another past derby contestant immediately recognized one of the cars on display as the one that bested him in the final matchup of the 1972 race. Grandchildren proudly showed off photos of their grandfather in the winner’s circle, while other derby enthusiasts reconnected after not seeing each other for decades.

The camaraderie, memories and pride generated by the St. Catharines Soap Box Derby proved to be exceptionally strong!


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