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It’s not a boat, but it still floats
Jeff Norton plans to use his novelty automobile this summer to raise funds and awareness for a cause close to his heart.
The Tuxedo resident will be touring his Amphicar — the only commercially produced amphibious automobile — across Manitoba to raise money for Parkinson Society Manitoba.
"My father had Parkinson’s Disease for 14 years and he passed away in February of this year," Norton said.
"The idea for the fundraiser arose out of some conversations we had among family and friends as to what we can do for a fundraiser for Parkinson Society of Manitoba."
The Amphicar was manufactured during the early to mid 1960s and only 4,000 of the vehicles were produced.
Norton has owned his vehicle since 2010 and said it usually attracts a lot of attention when he takes it for a cruise on the water.
Individuals will be able to take a ride in the car during Norton’s tour of the province. Although the rides will be free, passengers will be asked to make a suggested donation of $10 to the society.
"The idea was to combine the appeal of the Amphicar and a charitable cause, and provide an opportunity for people who wanted to ride in the Amphicar and at the same time raise money for Parkinson’s," he said.
"It’s also a way to raise awareness for (the disease) and the 6,000 people in Manitoba who are suffering."
Norton will kick off the fundraiser on Thurs., July 12 at the boat launch at Half Moon Drive-In on Henderson Highway. It will be the first of a series of events he plans to attend this summer.
"We’re trying to do as many locations as possible throughout Manitoba, and let people of all ages experience a ride in the car," he said.
"Everyone seems to smile when they see the Amphicar."
The car is one of only two in Manitoba and is licensed as both a car and a boat.
"It’s rated for 70 miles per hour on land, and seven knots — which is roughly eight miles an hour — in the water," Norton said.
Murray Auld, Manitoba’s other Amphicar owner, will be participating with Norton at some of the events throughout the summer.
"It will be nice to have a second car at some of the events," he said.
Howard Koks, chief executive officer of the Parkinson Society, said Norton’s fundraiser is unlike anything the organization has been involved in before.
"It has an added bonus. There’s the fundraising aspect, but there’s also the general awareness. Taking the Amphicar across the province brings awareness right across the province," he said.
Koks said it’s because of the efforts of people like Norton that her organization is able to keep going.
"We’re a really small organization and we’re dependent on volunteers. When people like Norton step up it really helps our organization," he said.
For more information on the Amphicar or for the its "swim schedule" visit offthebeachandpath.ca.
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