A legacy of community: Ken Agate and the Oak Bay Collector Car Festival

2024 Festival honours founder who passed away in 2023

Ken Agate was a legend in Oak Bay. The proprietor of The Blethering Place since 1981, he was known for his generosity, sense of community, and love of classic collector cars.

Ken’s pride and joy was his beloved green right-hand-drive 1938 Dodge Deluxe Touring Sedan in which he often offered friends hours-long scenic car rides, laughing and chatting all the way. He founded the annual summer Oak Bay Collector Car Festival in 2004. The event was designed to be accessible: free to the public, volunteer run, and self-sustaining by virtue of a modest registration fee for collector car owners to showcase their treasures.

When Ken learned he had cancer two years ago and anticipated eventually moving to Victoria Hospice for his final days, he asked fellow car enthusiasts and friends, Ron Dempsey and Tony Joe, to take over the organization of the event. Ron and Tony quickly rallied supporters together to create a hardworking committee that shared Ken’s vision for the Festival.

“Tony and I visited Ken last fall, while he was at Victoria Hospice,” Ron says. “Tony had put up the pictures from last summer’s event up on an iPad at his bedside at Hospice. Ken wasn’t able to speak, but he was certainly expressive and emotional.  And it was an incredible moment really to see, as we were telling him how the event was bigger and better than ever, and how we had an amazing team of a new generation of volunteers.”

Ken died at Victoria Hospice on September 11, 2023.

At this year’s Festival, expected to feature a record number 300 cars, the organizers plan to celebrate Ken’s legacy through stories and awards, and his green Dodge will be on the Center Stage of the show.

24th Annual Oak Bay Collector Car Festival Registration, Sun, Jul 21, 2024 at 8:00 AM | Eventbrite