A Tribute to Tom Mann

Written by Laura Simmons  /  Published: Monday, 04 January 2016

The Wharf Rat Rally board and staff members were deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Mann, executive producer of Biker TV, in December.

Tom’s great support of the Wharf Rat Rally showed through not only his TV productions, but through his kind words and caring demeanour. His story telling ability was second to none and his sincere appreciation of people and motorcycles was always evident. Tom’s involvement with the Wharf Rat Rally helped us grow into what he proclaimed the “largest multi-day rally in Canada”. Because of his advice and enthusiasm, the Rally was a better event for both our visitors and our organizers.

A colleague, a mentor, a friend … Tom, you will be missed.

Tom Mann at hospital     Tom Mann interviewing










Photos by JD Boyd



Darren Williams Remembered

Written by Laura Simmons  /  Published: Sunday, 21 June 2015

A Wharf Rat Rally Hero Remembered

It was with heavy hearts that the board of directors of the Wharf Rat Rally learned of the passing of Darren "Willie" Williams on Saturday, June 20th near Hillier, Ontario.

Williams had been stationed at CFB Greenwood and was president of the 2nd Canadian Army Veterans Fortress Europe chapter when he became involved with the Wharf Rat Rally.

Board member Wayne MacDonald remembers how the relationship evolved. "I met Darren and the CAV members when I was President of the Legion in Annapolis Royal. He had arranged a ride for the CAV that spring, and they wanted to have the Legion as one of the stops. We saw it as an opportunity and decorated the bar and put on a spread for them. They kept coming back."

MacDonald helped connect the CAV chapter with a local motorcycle riding club, the 74th Crusaders and the CAV members camped on the 74th Crusaders' property during the Wharf Rat Rally that year, with some of the meals catered by the Legion. Darren Williams 3

With MacDonald also on the Rally's board, the natural progression took place with the CAV joining forces with the Wharf Rat Rally to provide guided tours to Brier Island. From there, the Rally offered vendor space on Admiral's Walk where Darren gathered names for the tours and tirelessly solicited support for the Rally and its chosen charity. One year, a sewing machine and operator were onsite, providing service to people who purchased patches for their vests - service while you waited!

In 2013, Williams approached the CAV national executive to use the Wharf Rat Rally as the starting point for its Annual National Ride. CAV members from coast to coast joined together - and invited all riders to join them - to ride from Conway to the Afghanistan Memorial in Hebron. This memorial lists the names of all the Canadians who lost their lives in Afghanistan during the involvement of Canada, and held a special place in Williams' heart as he had also served in Afghanistan. The monument was the realization of a dream of the local Boys and Girls Club and, together the local Legion, an outstanding commemorative service was held. Williams was a founding member of the Ride to the Afghanistan Memorial committee and was the liaison with the Wharf Rat Rally in the planning and implementation of the ride. Through the work and support that Williams had done with the Rally, he was asked to sit on the board of directors and became an active director in October of 2013, just a couple months before his career led him to Ontario.

Joe Pacquette, another of the founding members of the Ride to the Afghanistan Memorial, remembers Williams: "I know he would still be on the Wharf Rat Rally board of directors if he wasn't following his dream to be the best Loadmaster in the Canadian Air Force. He was also the proudest Dad and Grandfather I have ever seen and that says a lot."

A member of the 1st CAV Paardeburg Unit also lost his life and a third CAV member is in hospital. Three of the eight motorcycles on a ride as part of 1st CAV Gathering/Rally hosted by Afghanistan Unit @ CFB Trenton were struck by a car that crossed into the oncoming traffic. Williams was a member of the host chapter.

Darren Williams was a great supporter of the Wharf Rat Rally. He was instrumental in the growth and the excellence of the event. His boundless energy and infectious enthusiasm consumed everyone around him and provided the inspiration to excel. He will be missed.

The Wharf Rat Rally board of directors and staff send our condolences to his CAV family, his relatives and all who knew, respected and admired him. We were truly lucky to have been able to spend time with him.

Noel Facey and Guy LeBlanc, Co-chairs

The Wharf Rat Rally Motorcycle Association

Darren Williams on his bike












mv Fundy Rose Offers a Trip to Remember!

Written by Laura Simmons  /  Published: Tuesday, 16 February 2016

I recently had the opportunity – no, pleasure – of crossing the Bay of Fundy in the Bay Ferries’ pride of 2015, the mv Fundy Rose.

I’d made the trek many times in both directions on the Princess of Acadia and found her both functional and comfortable, and was expecting more of the same. Boy, was I in for a surprise!

The first thing I noticed (well, after looking for motorcycle tie-down latches!) was an escalator. Do you remember that steep set of stairs that greeted you through a big creaky door? Gone! Quiet, sliding door and a shiny new escalator. Imagine that.

We emerged from the escalator into a welcome foyer and the next thing I noticed was a lady walking past with a big plate of great smelling poutine. She went down the shiny aisle and we followed. Along one side were tables and benches – practical seating for working or socializing. Directly opposite was a movie theatre and along farther up, a Truckers Lounge. 

As we came to the bow of the ship (there’s NO calling this lady a boat!), we were greeted by the Mid Ship Café complete with Starbucks coffee. The entire bow was filled with a good variety of lounge seating not to mention a great view!



Watching for a place to plug in my laptop, I found a phone charging station and a business office. The entire ship has WiFi but I couldn’t find a proper electrical receptacle so I asked a crew member. He directed me to the purser who provided me with an adapter to get the proper power. I don’t even remember the Princess of Acadia having a purser!

On the way back down the port side of the ship, we passed by a gift shop, a play area for the little ones and another movie theatre. Across the stern, just past the welcome foyer, we found the delightful Acadia Eatery with ample seating and a full menu, and we ordered some of that wonderful poutine. It was reasonably priced, and it tasted as good as it looked!



The outside deck afforded a breathtaking view of Nova Scotia as it retreated into the sunshine, and I headed back inside to relax and enjoy the rest of the voyage, reminding myself to make reservations early for my next ride on this glorious ship.

What Our Visitors Said

  • Helmets off to all those involved in organizing this event and to all the volunteers for their hard and dedicated work. It's people like you who make events like this such a huge success. Stewart P. Deveau
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