By Karli Vezina
Do you remember Shannonville Motorsport Park (SMP)? Some of us spent many a summer there and now it’s getting some love from new owners who are pumped to share the news.
Originally built for motorcycle racing in 1974, the park grew to welcome all motorsport activity but fell into decline over the years. Located about 20 kilometres east of Belleville, Ontario, SMP was on the market for years. No one was interested until John Bondar and his wife Dominique got involved.
The Bondars, along with Toronto entrepreneur Steve Gidman, bought the park in October of 2019. It may have looked like the sinking Titanic at the time but John Bondar knew what to do. Bondar was a promoter for the Canadian Touring Car Championship for more than a decade, another road racing series. With his background knowledge to help along the way, they got to work immediately.
With 2020 came the pandemic so life was put on hold but work didn’t stop. They took the year to repair parts of the track, pave the paddock area, and install new fencing and signage. The Bondars survived the shutdown and now that pandemic restrictions are easing in Ontario, more renovations are slated for SMP.
An event centre is planned next to the main entrance, replacing the racing schools that used to live there. The centre will have a meeting and dining area as well as a vehicle presentation area. With it SMP hopes to draw the attention of corporate event and wedding planners.
Next up, Bondar wants to make SMP more enjoyable for spectators with a picnic area and maybe even a playground. They also plan to make improvements to the existing campgrounds by getting power running to some of the RV spots.
Track work will continue over the next 4 years with plans to repave a quarter of the track each year. The main building will be totally revamped as well and Bondar is looking to add a space to showcase craft breweries from Prince Edward County.
SMP is open now with free parking and an entrance fee of $20. Kids under 12 are free. If you’re looking for a day-trip destination, hit the road!