Article 21 August/September 2009

Swift Current Frontier Days Parade

I never imagined there would be a parade in Saskatchewan with a lineup of classic ambulances. But that changed when Bob Dyke, co-owner of Swift Current and District Ambulance Service organized their entry in Swift Current's Frontier Days summer parade. Bob called to say he intended to enter an entire contingent of classic and current ambulances to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their ambulance service.

As promised, I brought my 1957 Pontiac ambulance to Swift Current (a.k.a. Speedy Creek) on the weekend of June 27th. To my surprise there were three other classic ambulances at the ambulance base. This was going to be fun! We formed up and took our designated place in the parade lineup. All along the parade route we received compliments, applause and 'thumbs up' from the people who had come to watch. Young people shouted 'Ghostbusters' while the older folk nodded and smiled, no doubt
remembering when cars such as these were commonplace. After the parade we lined up the four classics and took some photos.

The blue ambulance is my 1957 Pontiac which was manufactured by National Custom Coaches in Knightstown, Indiana. Originally this car served with Mac's Ambulance Service in Medicine Hat, Alberta, and after that it was in the neighboring town of Bow Island. In 1990 we bought it to use as a public relations car at Ambucraft and Crestline.

The second ambulance is a 1967 Pontiac that was manufactured by Superior Coach in Kosciusko, Mississippi. This car served in Winkler, Manitoba when it was new and was later purchased by the Dutchak family of Saskatchewan to serve as a parade car for their North Central Ambulance Association. Keith and Diana Woytiuk of Blaine Lake Ambulance Care drove this classic to Swift Current.

The next vehicle is a 1969 GMC Suburban ambulance manufactured by Strathroy Body Service in Strathroy, Ontario. But this is no ordinary Strathroy Suburban - this one has a lengthened body aft of the rear wheels! It must be one of a kind; at least I have never seen another like it. This ambulance originally served at the International Nickel mine in Thompson, Manitoba and has been restored by Jim Pollock, owner of Duck Mountain Ambulance Care in Kamsack, Saskatchewan.

The fourth ambulance is a 1974 Superior Pontiac, owned by Bob and Shirley Dyke. This ambulance originally served in Pincher Creek, Alberta and was recently purchased by Bob, complete with all the original equipment.

Together these four ambulances make an impressive lineup. In total, including my other ambulance - a 1975 Superior Cadillac - there are now five classic ambulances in the Province of Saskatchewan. Not bad for a population of only a million people!

Copyright 2009 Peter Adsten

Lineup of classic ambulances celebrating the 30th anniversary of Swift Current & District Ambulance Service. Column