The idea of forming a group started in the autumn of 1968, when a motorcyclist named Peter Gagan mailed an invitation to fellow vintage enthusiasts to attend a meeting on November 4 at his home in Port Credit, Ont. A dozen guests arrived and agreed that it would be a good idea to continue getting together to share their interest in old bikes. At a second, larger gathering three months later, those present decided to organize a club dedicated to the use and preservation of old motorcycles. They began a series of monthly meetings and soon settled on the name Canadian Vintage Motorcycle Group, proposed by Eric Dawson as having fewer negative connotations than "motorcycle club." From the 13 who attended the first meeting, the group now has more than 2100 members across Canada. Members today own more than 7,000 motorcycles covering 200 different makes.
The early years of the Group saw several events being organized at venues such as the Ontario Science Centre and Mosport, culminating in the organizing of the first of the highly regarded Annual Rally at the Welland MCC Grounds in 1973. It was that same year that the Group stopped “passing the crash helmet” around and established an annual fee of $5.00 for members. By 1979, the Group was registered as a non-profit organization and the basis of the current constitution was fully developed.
Patterned after the slightly more senior organizations in Britain and the United States, sections were formed across the country under the guidance and supervision of the National Executive. Today, 31 sections organize and host rallies, shows, displays and sporting events as well as lending support to many other varied community affairs. Support of the sections through moral or fiscal help was envisaged as a National responsibility as sections are, in effect, local operating parts of the main National group, responding to the vintage motorcycling needs of the local members.
The Paris Annual Rally continues to be popular and the major event in the CVMG calendar. Over the years, the Rally has been located in Welland, Barrie's Molson’s Park, Cayuga and, for the last decade, in the fairgrounds in
. The Rallies have grown in size over the years reflecting the gradual but steady growth in membership, a growth due, in no small measure, to constantly improving communications within the Group through a superior national newsletter and the use of sectional and national based website
To fulfill a mandate to encourage the preservation of all records, data, objects and miscellanea pertaining to the history of motorcycles and motorcycling, the CVMG went one step further than it’s much larger neighbouring institutions and established the seeds of museum located in
. Also under the leadership of dedicated volunteers, the collection uniquely pertains specifically to motorcycling in
Canadacontinues to grow into a central resource that will benefit all enthusiasts interested in the restoration and preservation of the heritage of motorcycling in
An institution is formed to perpetuate the ideas of the founding members but the CVMG has found in the last 40 years that within the club, as in all social institutions, the whole is always greater than the sum of its parts and the organization will always strive to be attentive to the needs of the individual members without losing sight of fundamental mandate of preserving vintage motorcycles.