Next-Level Luxury Adventures in a Country Built for Driving
By DC Rutherford
There’s something singular about driving a Porsche, a feeling only a select few have had the privilege to experience. Perhaps it’s the sense that you’ve tethered yourself to a tradition of precision and perfection that few automobile manufacturers can boast: slipping into a 2021 Panamera Turbo S simultaneously seats you in a 1973 911 Carrera RS. Simply taking the kids to school in your 2020 Cayenne could trace its roots to the 1984 Formula One season and a McLaren MP4/2 powered by a TAG-Porsche engine – dreams of Niki Lauda, of Alain Prost, of Keke Rosberg. Every corner a Porsche driver takes, every straightaway you master, every gear you shift, is part of something grander, of grandeur, of legacy.
Porsche isn’t simply a car manufacturer; it’s a community of automobile enthusiasts who require something special in their driving experience, whether it’s a trip to the supermarket or an F1 circuit. And as Porsche has always served as the matriarch of its community, these offerings for its aficionados in Canada enriches the already inspired.
Welcome to the Porsche Experience Canada
Porsche Experience Canada is part of the German carmaker’s ongoing unparalleled attention to its drivers. With three distinct and unique experiences – Ice Experience, Track Experience, and Travel Experience – Porsche has made Canada home to a set of highly diverse and eclectic driving experiences. With each of these unique endurances, drivers can take to the road (and off them) like never before.
Anyone born, raised, or who has ridden on Canada’s roads knows ice. The inherent challenges of driving in winter are a burden to many. But to Canadians, it’s not just a rite of passage, but a point of pride. Porsche’s Ice Experience takes that pride to a whole new level.
Whether drivers choose the Ice Trial, Ice Intro, Ice Experience, or Ice Force options, they’ll enjoy two to five days of driving instruction and adventure like never before. In a specially outfitted Porsche 911 Carrera S or 4S, guests will be treated to a once-in-a-lifetime experience where, according to the Porsche literature, “Instructors teach drivers to conquer the season on specially prepared snow and ice tracks. You’ll learn to drive a Porsche the way it’s meant to be driven with the skills that will make you a more confident and competent winter driver.” Guests will enjoy the singularity of Canadian winter in Mécaglisse, Quebec, and stay in the exclusive Estérel Resort, offering world-class dining and accommodations in a postcard-like setting.
Just 90 minutes east of Toronto is the historic Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. This track has hosted legendary drivers such as Jacques Villeneuve, Mario Andretti, Stirling Moss and more, and offers both a Grand Prix track and a Driver Development Track. Now you too can take the corners the pros have taken.
Here, professional instructors let drivers push themselves to the very limits of their driving ability. The programs “are designed in stages to increase one of the most important aspects of dynamic driving: the driver.” That mandate is apparent in every aspect of the experience. Strapped into a Porsche 911 Carrera S or 4S that tops out at 308 kilometres an hour, drivers will “focus on dynamic car control in order to build their skills and safety behind the wheel.” Half-day to three-day experiences are available for drivers of differing abilities in small groups of like-minded Porsche connoisseurs, with the idea of “Drive fast, drive safe.”
As much as you may love speeding around ovals and navigating racing circuits, driving is about going somewhere, and the Porsche Travel Experience takes that to a whole new level. “Porsche Travel Experience offers two separate programs: the fresh mountain air in British Columbia, or the friendly seaside communities on the Nova Scotian coast. During a Travel Experience, you’ll find a connection to yourself, the car, and a country regardless of which experience you choose.”
A bold promise, but one on which Porsche delivers. Whether on Nova Scotia’s South Shore and Cape Breton, or Whistler and the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia, drivers will log over 1,200 kilometres on the most beautiful roads the country has to offer, in some of the most spectacular automobiles to ever grace them. Touring in a Porsche 911 Carrera S or 4S, drivers will experience four days of driving excellence.
In B.C., the tour begins with the legendary Sea-to-Sky Highway from Vancouver to Whistler, and continues through picturesque Vernon and Osoyoos, the southernmost point in the Okanagan, with stays at Four Seasons Resort Whistler, Sparkling Hill Resort, and Spirit Ridge Resort. While in Nova Scotia, guests will visit Peggy’s Cove, the Cabot Trail, the majesty of the Atlantic and Maritime hospitality.
Porsche Experience Centre
With any of these Porsche Experiences, you can see the German luxury automaker’s affection for, and investment in, Canada as both a driver’s paradise and an important global market. Porsche recently announced that it is taking that commitment one step further, and will soon begin construction on its tenth global experience centre. The first opened at Silverstone in the United Kingdom; Canada’s will be the third location in North America, joining Atlanta and Los Angeles.
“Canadians will no longer have to leave the country in order to visit a Porsche Experience Centre,” said Porsche Cars Canada president and CEO Marc Ouayoun upon the announcement, adding, “Customers and brand enthusiasts will have the chance to experience Porsche with their head, heart, and hands – all in the Greater Toronto Area.” The project aims to be completed by 2024.
PEC Toronto will be located on a 20-acre site at the Durham Live development in Pickering, Ontario, which currently features a casino, and will include a concert venue, more than 400,000 square feet of retail space, and a luxury hotel with more than 300 rooms. The centre will be the culmination of Porsche’s investment in Canada, and a Babylon of sorts for Porsche enthusiasts. Joining the Experiences already established in Canada, this initiative is the realization of a brand. As a member of the executive board for sales and marketing at Porsche, Detlev von Platen, notes, “Porsche is more than just a car. Porsche is a promise for a unique brand and product experience.”