This is how I am going to preface this story; I’m a pretty lucky guy. I often have the pleasure of trying out hot new products that hit the market and most of them show up unexpectedly. From bad-ass new smartphones, fly new kicks, handsome new jackets…it’s a cool job. To be transparent, I’m not the easiest man to please and not everything that lands on my doorstep is my favourite product in the world. We all have our own unique tastes and standards right?
Now this is how I am going to back up paragraph #1; I’m a car guy. I think it’s something you either are, or you’re just not. It reminds me a little about my old career when I worked in corporate sales and led sales teams. Either you’re a sales guy, or you’re not. It’s in your blood and it’s really not something you can teach. It’s a…natural understanding. Some people drive because it gets them from point A to point B and some people drive because they adore the experience and the lifestyle that goes with it. If I had a nickel for everytime someone told me I shouldn’t bother owning a vehicle in the big city of Toronto because the transit system is so vast, or that Uber is now so accessible, that bike lanes are the new future, that the environment takes precedent and on and on and on. Yeah cool, but I’m a car guy. I LIKE to drive. I get a kick out of it and I like caring for my vehicle the same way one with a green thumb babies their money tree posted up on the window sill.
Paragraph #3 will now put this the above in perspective. I recently found an email in my inbox from MINI Canada. It was simple and straight to the point. “Hey Daniel, we are having a little get-together at the East Room and would love for you join us and get a vibe of the MINI experience”. Well, the East Room right is here in my hood and well, I’m a car guy so…I accepted and showed up. First of all, East Room is a straight up dope space and it would be an injustice if I didn’t declare that. I guess you could call it the Soho House of the east side but with it’s own identity, not a clone. Similar in the sense that it’s a shared workspace for creatives except with natural light and decor that would make any blogger drool. That aside, I trotted in to find a few familiar faces like my boy Jonathan (@mrcavaliere) and the talented duo of Tristan Banning & Hawley Dunbar of @SidewalkHustle. I poked around, chatted with friends and eventually connected with the team from MINI. We talked old cars, new cars, the MINI brand and even other car brands we liked and appreciated. It was laid back and easygoing. The team briefly shared some insight into the brand and what the experience truly is when you drive one of their cars. Like many, I listened and appreciated their good vibes message but thought, “pretty neat little rides, but I like my whip and just not sure it’s my thing”.
So yeah, then they invited us to take a peek around the room and find the MINI crested bag with our name on it. We all smirked at one another and slowly started to poke around the room like anxious kids on Easter morning. I came across a glossy burgundy bag at the back with my name on it and now suddenly felt like an anxious kid on Christmas morning. Jonathan and I found a cozy couch to a) take IG pictures on of course and b) reveal the contents of our bag. MINI had concierged a unique trip for all of us to not only take the keys of our very own ride from the MINI collection, but to do it with a planned experience. Some were sent off to chic Montreal, beautiful Price Edward County and for me, right here in my home city with some shopping and wine & dinner at a cool local spot on Ossington called Omaw. It was dope. I go to a lot of events and meet a lot of brands but these guys did it so tastefully and cool that it left me quite impressed. Now give me my ride.
Sitting outside for me was a 2017 MINI Cooper Clubman in gunmetal grey with black leather interior. The car was stunning. The Clubman is a 4-door version of the Cooper with of course more space and more of a…gentleman’s edition kind of vibe. Now from this point forward, I am absolutely going to share my god’s honest thoughts on the vehicle because hey, I’m a car and a tough guy to please. The car is startling impressive. The first thing I always notice in a vehicle is the interior, it’s my bread and butter. All of the vehicles I have purchased in my life have all had one thing in common, beautiful, luxurious interior. The inside of the Clubman is like a…modern, stylish professor’s study room. It’s high teach AF but still warm and sturdy. Truth be told, I fell in love with the car. I drove the heck out of it for 8 days and never once looked at my car parked beside it in the underground lot simply because I had fallen for another. I was switching to sport mode at downtown intersections to blow past streetcars, bouncing from location to location doing street style shoots, loading up the trunk space with shopping bags from Nordstrom, and cruising the rural roads of Durham to visit family with Joey and Junz sitting shotgun. I GOT the MINI experience. I even bought a British inspired paperboy hat to complete my new found MINI Clubman persona and spoke to friends in a Welsh accent at the Uniqlo launch event. I remember one of the reps at East Room saying, “within a day you’ll get the feeling of how much of a community it is when driving a MINI”, and he was dead on. Like motorcyclists on the road, I was getting nods and waves from all kinds of folks simply because we both were cruising in Coopers. It was a pretty cool thing.
So paragraph #6 is simply going to say this: Tip of my paperboy cap to MINI Canada for creating such a cool experience and curating such a wicked little ride. I truly am impressed. The car guy in me enjoyed every minute of it and the honest guy in me would recommend everybody to test-drive it before they make their next car purchase. Now stay tuned for real, because I may just go out and get one myself.