Meet your neighbour
Fred Pierce doesn’t let a lake or river get in his way when he wants to go for a drive in his car.
His vintage Amphicar travels the roads of Bennington Heights and Leaside as easily as it rides along the water of Lake Ontario or Lake Simcoe.
Amphicar was the only mass produced amphibious passenger car ever made.
Pierce’s is the longest continually owned one in the world. It was one of about 4,000 produced in West Berlin in the mid 1960s. Pierce got his from his father-in-law years ago.
“It does take a lot of maintenance,” he says, “and the only mechanic for amphibious vehicles lives in Orillia.”
This past summer he had his car in the water at least 20 times, driving it into the lake at Ashbridges Bay or Bluffers Park.
Apart from driving on water, he runs his own business as a manufacturer’s rep. His latest offering is a lightweight, foldable electric bike soon to make its appearance in Costco.
How long have you lived in Bennington Heights?
We (his wife is Chris) moved into Bennington Heights from Cabbagetown in 1987 when we were looking for a more family-friendly area for our two young children, David and Michelle.
Our first home was on Heath, and then we moved to Bayview Heights Dr.
Have you been involved in the community?
I’m a past member of the Leaside Garden’s management board, and former president of the Bennington Heights Residents’ Association. Our kids were active too. My daughter, Michelle, was co-chair of the student council at Leaside High School.
What do you like about the neighbourhood?
Bennington is very quiet, so it just doesn’t feel like you’re in a big city. And you can get anywhere from here.
Favourite places in the hood?
The Bayview strip. We especially enjoy shops like the Elegant Garage Sale and the restaurants. The merchants along Bayview work very hard.
(Last summer Pierce supported an evening event at The Smokin’ Cigar by parking his Amphicar out front to attract attention, which it did.)
Anything you’d like to change?
Yes. The needless stress inflicted by Hydro One. (That is the result of the Hydro One Midtown Electricity Infrastructure Renewal project, underway since 2011.)