I have seen it with my own eyes, but I still cannot believe it!
In the midst of a simple chicken farm lays the most extensive collection of 50’s & 60’s memorabilia one could ever imagine, and you can see it all for only $5.00. Through 30 years of collecting, Abe & his wife have amassed a display which can only be described mind-blowing. Forethought, attention to the most minute details & impeccable recreation of this era guide you into a past that most of us have not lived through or know much of. It is a wild experience seeing & touching a past that most of us have only ever experienced via TV or the big screen.
What started out as a simple hobby for Abe’s wife (collecting smaller nostalgic items) soon gathered steam when Abe started adding car parts to the mix. On one shelf (in a second smaller garage) Abe has a display of fenders, bumpers & hoods in various stages of originality. When I asked him if he was going to use these pieces for future automotive restoration projects, he quietly noted that it would be unlikely as he just likes the look of the parts sitting there on the shelf. I also asked him if he was interested in adopting me, but his bashful smile & subtle chuckle told me “not today, but maybe some other time”.
Although he has spent hundreds of thousands in restoration work on his 18+ fully restored vehicles, not every auto in the collection is intended for restoration (I counted 33 total). Abe told me most of the items were found in Alberta – a treasure trove for more than just great beef, miles of wheat fields & country music (for those taking notes).
This 14 car garage was once a two-story barn, which Abe converted into a showroom with 14 individual garage doors & bays for each of his showroom condition cars. The second floor has been cut out to create a perimeter walk-around mezzanine to allow you to view the cars from above. Abe always found this perspective appealing, which is why he designed the garage this way. In the smaller Garage (Willy’s Sales & Service), you are taken into what appears to be a classic 50’s car sales & repair business with a canary yellow car (think American Graffiti) in the picture window. On the far wall is the Willy’s parts department.
Hidden within the various buildings are little niche’s of nostalgia, such as the printer’s office, the school-house (Little House On The Prairie styled), a fabulous 50’s diner, a dentist’s office & a beauty salon. Frankly, the only thing that surprised me is that Abe hasn’t painted one broad sided barn white and used as a drive-in theater screen!
Yes, one could definitely get lost in space & time meandering through Abe’s property. You will find old telephones that actually work (go ahead, call back to the future!), the dinging pressure hose as you drive up to the gas station pump & the welcoming rocking chairs that adorn the front stoop of the General Store. If you find yourself hankering for a couple of penny candies at the end of your tour, you’re not alone…only in today’s world penny candies cost .50 cents each and don’t taste nearly as sweet.
Do yourself a favour & check out Shady Grove. It is without a doubt THE sweetest way to spend $5.00. Shady Grove is located at the corner of King Road & Clearbrook Road, Abbotsford, BC. Call ahead to book a tour date.