Canada News: The Million Dollar Man
Historic vehicle owners and charitable giving go together like Studebaker and Packard. But few can top Canadian enthusiast, Jim Ratsoy, who has used his collection to raise well over one million dollars for Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients.
In 2005, the first time I covered the inaugural Rosewood Manor Garden Party Extravaganza the headline for the event read: Show of Car Collection, a Visual Feast.
Less than a decade later, access to the event has become one of the most sought-after tickets on the Richmond, British Columbia social calendar. But, arguably, even more important is the unprecedented amount of money the event has so far helped raise for the residents of the Rosewood Manor seniors' care facility.
To date, that number stands at $1,569,924.
The Leno Factor
Rosewood Manor Garden Party Extravaganza is hosted by retired General Motors Dealer and philanthropist, Jim Ratsoy, who generously opens the doors to his magnificent garden and car collection—the largest private collection in western Canada—to those who love gourmet food, live music and entertainment, and can afford the $250 per person trip down automotive memory lane.
In 2008, the function attracted the attention of noted collector and Tonight Show host Jay Leno, who has supported the party ever since by donating VIP tickets and a visit to his Big Dog Garage for four lucky people. Auctions of these tickets alone have helped generate almost $20,000.
Members of the Vintage Car Club of Canada volunteer their time by greeting and valet parking the guests' vehicles. Ratsoy has his own on-site restoration facility, which has restored the majority of the cars in the collection. Having a personal passion for British vehicles, one of my favorites in his collection is a 1949 Austin A40 pick up. The other is a rare 1934 Plymouth convertible with a fold down windshield.
For a man who made his living selling General Motors products, Ratsoy has a special place in his heart for Ford convertibles. These make up the majority of the collection with finely restored models from almost every year through the 1930s, 1940s and into the early 1950s. But all of the Fords combined cannot outshine the collection’s pièce de résistance, a stunning 1931 V-12 Cadillac convertible.
The Rosewood Manor Garden Party Extravaganza takes place this year on September 11. For more information and tickets, go to http://www.rosewoodmanor.org/home/events_projects.php