join the club: Miata Abitibi
Founded in 2011, the Miata Abitibi club has 46 members and covers the entire Abitibi Témiscamingue region. In the summer, these Mazda fans, aged between 45 and 72, enjoy exploring this region of western Quebec as well as northern Ontario.
The association owes its existence to Guylain Poulin. In 2010, he bought a 1990 MX-5. Finding no club in his city, he decided to create one “to meet other Miata fanatics just like me.” Following the advice of the Montérégie club’s president, Guylain launched a website that allowed him to reach Miata owners in the vicinity. The club’s charter is simple: no meetings, no committee, only a president to manage the site and finances.
The president is a diehard fan of the brand. Since 2010, he has owned MX-5s from 1990, 1999 and 2008 and he currently owns a 2019 model. So he can rightfully boast of having owned every generation.
Guylain explains: “We started with three members and quickly others joined us.” During winter, they prepare a program, with suggestions from members. Their routes, which last up to two weeks, run through western Quebec and northern Ontario.
In 2016, the club organized a provincial meeting in Rouyn-Noranda, with the cooperation of local dealer Paquin Mazda. Mazda owners from Quebec City, Montreal, Montérégie and Ottawa took part in the celebrations. “We make sure to prioritize tours with tourist attractions. Once a year, we organize an outing outside the region for a long weekend,” says Guylain. At the end of the summer season, the members meet one last time for a festive supper.
Today, the club has a vice-president, Serge Mélançon, who is as obsessed about Mazda as the other members. Everyone loves the MX-5 and Mazda in general for its sporty driving and responsiveness. Guylain recently bought a CX-30 because driving pleasure is the main reason for having a Mazda.
IMSA prototype drivers confirmed
Mazda is running a familiar line-up of drivers in this year’s IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Harry Tincknell and Jonathan Bomarito (above) are pairing up in the No. 55 Mazda RT24-P. They are being joined in the Michelin Endurance Cup by Ryan Hunter-Reay. The No. 77 car sees Olivier Jarvis and Tristan Nunez team up, with Oliver Pla joining the pair for the longer races.
Things got off to a flying start for the team at the season opener, the legendary Rolex 24 At Daytona on January 26. With Oliver Jarvis putting the No. 77 car on pole, anticipation for podium success was high and the team delivered in style when after 833 laps, the car finished the race in second place.
The No. 55 car was not quite as successful, sustaining bodywork damage and a penalty during the race. Despite this, No. 55 was in contention for the win for much of the 24 hours, ultimately finishing in sixth place (and securing a healthy chunk of championship points).
Keep up to date with Mazda Motorsports progress here, and meet Nelson Cosgrove, Mazda’s new Director of Motorsports, in our interview by clicking the link below.
Mazda wins most IIHS “TOP SAFETY PICK+” AWARDs
Mazda vehicles have been awarded more IIHS Top Safety Pick+ honours than any other manufacturer in Canada by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), an independent, non-governmental safety-testing organization.
The 2020 Mazda3, Mazda3 Sport, Mazda6 and CX-5 all received the highest safety designation available from IIHS (when equipped with optional front crash prevention technology). The Mazda CX-3 subcompact crossover also earns an additional 2020 Top Safety Pick award when equipped with optional front crash prevention and specific headlights, and the CX-9 receives the TSP award with specific headlights.
Mazda Canada President and CEO David Klan was delighted that the marque’s commitment to safety had been recognized: “Mazda is dedicated to the safety of our owners, first and foremost, and receiving these 2020 Top Safety Pick and Top Safety Pick+ awards for our vehicles is a reassuring signal to them that our commitment is unwavering. Offering the most advanced safety equipment along with class-leading driving dynamics goes hand-in-hand to ensure that our owners feel confident and secure every time they get behind the wheel of their Mazda vehicle.”
mazda3: 2020 World Car Design of the Year
The Mazda3 has won the 2020 World Car Design of the Year award, beating formidable competition in the Peugeot 208 and Porsche Taycan. The award celebrates a vehicle that pushes established boundaries in style and innovation and 86 journalists from 24 countries concluded the Mazda3 does just that.
Upon receiving the award, Mazda President and CEO Akira Marumoto said: “We are truly honoured to be able to receive the World Car Design of the Year award in this special year marking the 100th anniversary of Mazda’s foundation. We will continue providing our customers with unique products, designs, technologies and experiences.”
Watch Mazda Stories’ trip down California’s Pacific Coast Highway in the Mazda3 Sport, above.
Elsewhere, the Mazda3 has been awarded the Canadian Car of the Year for 2020 by the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC). The model also scooped the Best Small Car in Canada—the sixth time that it has won this accolade in recent years. Both awards were received after months of testing by AJAC members.
Finally, there was even more success for the Mazda3 when it was named Best New Car of the Year by The Car Guide. It’s the 22nd award Mazda has received from The Car Guide in the past five years. The model was praised in particular for its refinement and stylish design, which was compared to that of a luxury car. The judges also hailed i-Activ all-wheel drive and the performance on offer from the 2.5-litre engine.
“I was always a big fan of Japanese cars and as soon as I saw my RX-8 I knew that I had to have her. I love the special sound that a high revving rotary engine makes—it feels like they have a soul in there somewhere.”
“This car makes me want to enjoy and live life to the fullest. I wrapped it because I like to stand out from the crowd and wanted to get people’s attention. I also changed the steering wheel and laminated the interior with carbon fibre.”
“I’ve had my Mazda6 for four years and it now has 180,000km on the clock. The durability of the engine and the traction of the all-wheel-drive make it the perfect car for any journey. I’ve also started to restore a 1979 RX-7 SA22C.”
“Mazda cars put a smile on people’s faces, whether we race on the track, put the car to the test in competitions or go on our daily drives. It’s a community that I want to be a part of for a long time.”
“Mazda is a car brand for car people. As well as my current 2012 model I’ve also owned a 2007 Mazdaspeed 6 and a 2003 Mazda6. My goal is to eventually take my car to all the U.S. states—I’ve driven to six so far!”
“The main reason I bought my Mazda is down to the design. I’ve been driving it since 2017 and I have taken many road trips across Europe. My favourites include Lake Garda and reaching the coast of the Baltic Sea.”
“My Mazda is a way of running away from the chaos of daily life. One of my favourite road trips was driving 1,500km through Turkey and I love exploring roads that I don’t know in my home city of Ankara.”
dealership sponsors Major JUNIOR Hockey LEAGUE
In a great example of community spirit, Quebec dealership L’Ami Junior Mazda has sponsored the local Major Junior Hockey League: Les Saguenéens de Chicoutimi. The team, which regularly attracts 4,000 people to its games, bears the Mazda logo on the club jersey.
canadian car photographer on what mazda means to him
To celebrate Mazda’s centenary, car photographer Andrew Holliday from Vancouver, British Columbia, answers the question: What Does Mazda Mean To You?
“In 2012 I purchased my first Mazda, which I still own and love. Looking in the classified ads, I found the red 1990 MX-5 with low mileage and in impeccable condition. My wife was out with our car at the time, so I hopped on my bicycle and rode to the owner’s home several towns away. I bought it on the spot.
Many times now my wife and I have packed the trunk with camping gear and set off on long road trips, camping the whole way. Not a month into ownership we drove 7,000km down the coast to Los Angeles, east to the Grand Canyon, and back up to BC.
My wife’s version of the story has been highlighted in a video called Mazda Dreams. She had always wanted an MX-5, so owning this car has been a dream come true for her. I started taking pictures for Mazda Canada in 2013, photographing the new Mazda3 around Vancouver for Mazda’s media division. Since then, I’ve worked with Mazda Canada throughout the Okanagan, Whistler and Vancouver to photograph new models such as the CX-5, CX-9 and Mazda6. My most memorable job took me beyond the Arctic Circle in Alaska. Our group embarked on a road trip in two Mazda3s under the midnight sun, driving on famous roads such as the Denali and Dalton highways.
I appreciate both Mazda’s Kodo design and Jinba Ittai philosophy, and I’ve truly enjoyed capturing the design elements of each car. The assignments have provided some of my shooting career highlights and Mazda has given me many of my best driving memories.”
technician with distinction
This issue we speak to Master Technician Natasha Lee—the only woman to currently hold this status at Mazda Canada—who works at 401 Dixie Mazda in Mississauga, Ontario...
Congratulations on your achievement! How does it feel?
I’m very proud of myself—it’s a fantastic accomplishment. It brings me great joy knowing that I’ve made a lot of people happy and that the brand is proud of me. I never expected this to happen in a hundred years.
Has it been a long-term dream of yours?
I wanted to set an example to all of the women out there working in our field. Growing up in Trinidad, I’d see my dad fixing cars and would assist him by handing over tools or holding the light in place. At school I became the first woman in my country to start attending mechanics classes, which paved the way for other women who were interested in this subject too. Once I’d graduated, I began working with cars full-time and the rest is history. Of course, I’ve had lots of support along the way: my parents, colleagues, husband Ramesh Sirjue and best friend Patrizia Resendez have been a massive help.
What inspired you to move to Canada?
Back home there isn’t much car technology. In order to move forward in both my personal life and career, moving abroad was the best option. I sent out some résumés and Mazda was the first company to give me an opportunity. What I have acquired in five years working here is something that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve in a lifetime in Trinidad.
Do you own any Mazdas?
I’ve always driven Mazda3s! I owned two sedans before, but now I have two hatchbacks: a 2007 model in True Red and a 2009 Galaxy Grey model. I love visiting new places and the Mazda3 is fun to drive while being safe and comfortable in any season.
What’s the most rewarding part of your job?
It pays off to see that I have crafted my skills over the years to be able to fix cars no matter the problem. Sometimes it’s like a jigsaw puzzle. You have to pull apart engines and transmissions in order to find the problem. I feel happiest whenever a car has been fixed, especially if it was a difficult case! It’s worth just seeing the smile on the customer’s face.