Fossmobile Enterprises

Year of Award:
Ron Foss, founder of Fossmobile Ent.

QAHN presented the 2022 Richard Evans Award to Fossmobile Enterprises of Burlington, Ontario. An announcement to this effect was made during QAHN’s Annual General Meeting, held on Zoom this past Saturday, June 11. Accepting the award during the online ceremony was Ron Foss, who created Fossmobile Enterprises in 2018 as a way of paying tribute to his grandfather George Foote Foss, a Sherbrooke native who in 1896 built the “Fossmobile,” Canada’s first gasoline-powered car.

According to QAHN’s Awards Committee, since its creation, Fossmobile Enterprises has worked tirelessly to raise public awareness about George Foote Foss and his ground-breaking automobile. Led by Ron Foss with support from other members of the Foss family, the group have spent countless volunteer hours researching the Fossmobile, and gathering advice and collaboration from automotive historians, restorers and other supporters in an effort to “reverse-engineer” a replica of the now long-lost Fossmobile, of which no plans (and only photographs) exist. To build that “tribute car,” the team have also had to raise tens of thousands of dollars from a range of government sources, organizations and individuals. Years of work have now paid off, however, and the Fossmobile tribute car was unveiled in Burlington, Ontario, in April, with a special community event scheduled for Sherbrooke later this summer.

larger_foss.pngThe newly unveiled Fossmobile Tribute Car. Photo - courtesy of Fossmobile Ent2022 marks the 125th anniversary of the original “Fossmobile” which was the creation of George Foote Foss, a machinist, bicycle repairman and inventor in Sherbrooke. In the winter of 1896, Foss started to build a gasoline-powered “horseless carriage.” Completed in 1897, it was the first of its kind in Canada. Although all traces of the Fossmobile are now long gone, Ron Foss and his team of volunteers and supporters have created their replica by carefully scrutinizing old photos, and using a combination of authentic period parts and newly manufactured missing parts. The completed tribute car will eventually be donated to the Canadian Automotive Museum in Oshawa, Ontario. That tribute to Foss’s legacy will help to right an aspect of Canada’s technical and industrial heritage that has been largely overlooked. It is appropriate that this nineteenth century Eastern Townships automobile pioneer should be acknowledged and his invention brought back to life.

During his acceptance of the award, Ron Foss said that he was “extremely honoured, in part since Mr. Evans is here to actually present it… [and] grateful for the recognition for the effort. I believe a lot of the recognition belongs with my grandfather… and I know that we join a long line of previous Award winners.”

Congratulating Foss for his efforts, QAHN president Grant Myers spoke about “the rich cultural heritage of Quebec’s English-speaking communities,” pointing out that “we sometimes forget that there’s a diaspora across the country and the world that reflects that heritage, and you’re part of it, and we’re pleased to welcome your family back to its roots.”