History of Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of America’s favorite holidays to celebrate. But do you really know the history of the first Thanksgiving?

Many people know that the first Thanksgiving involved Pilgrims and Native Americans. As it turns out, there is an elaborate story that involves the unity of the two groups.

Thanksgiving - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

In September 1620, the Mayflower left Plymouth, England, and landed in Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims onboard established a village that they called Plymouth.

Unfortunately, the New England winter was rough on the Pilgrims, especially for those who stayed on the ship. Only about half of the Pilgrims survived through March, by which time the survivors had moved ashore.

During the month of March, an Abenaki Indian paid the settlers a visit, greeting them in English. He returned just a few days later with Squanto, a member of the Pawtuxet tribe who had escaped slavery and found his way back to his tribe.

Despite Squanto’s horrible experience with Englishmen, he helped the Pilgrims by teaching them how to cultivate corn, extract sap, and catch fish. Not only did Squanto teach them how to sustain life in their new land, he also helped them make an alliance with the Wampanoag, a local tribe.

By the time November of 1621 came, the Pilgrims had their first corn harvest (thanks to Squanto). The Pilgrims celebrated the harvest alongside their Native American allies. This is what is known as the “First Thanksgiving.”

We at Bill Walsh Toyota wish you and your loved ones a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Bill Walsh Toyota – Blog – 2019 Toyota Supra Turbo

The Toyota Supra has always been around, but it’s about to gain even more popularity. This car, which has gone through major and minor innovations over the years, is becoming the all-new Toyota Supra Turbo.

Toyota Supra - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

U.S. News & World Report Writer Brian McHugh breaks down the ins and outs of the new Supra, which was first announced in 2016, a recreation of the true Japanese sports car. The Supra comes from the Toyota Celica, the original Toyota sports car from 1970.

Toyota and BMW have been working together on the Supra Turbo for a while, so you know it’ll thrill you when you see it. It will boast innovative and sleek styling with sharp body lines and an aggressive grille that will make it stand out on the road.

The Toyota Supra Turbo will have a sleek interior that screams “sports car.” Carbon-fiber materials with black leather and red accents will make you feel like a true race car driver behind the wheel.

Something else that makes the future Supra Turbo a true racecar is its power. Toyota has been hinting that Supra owners will have the choice between a four-cylinder and twin-turbo six-cylinder engine that is set to deliver 400 horsepower and 300 pound-feet of torque.

The Toyota Supra Turbo hasn’t hit the pavement yet, but when it does, be ready for a major thrill. We at Bill Walsh Toyota can’t wait to witness this sports car in action.

Things to Do: Fall Events in Ottawa, IL

Looking for fall events in Ottawa, Illinois? There’s tons to do in the area, from family fun nights to educational programs. Simply hop in your new Toyota Avalon or Camry, and you can start exploring the area today. There’s truly something for everyone in Ottawa this fall.

fall events in Ottawa - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

According to Pick Us Ottawa, one of the most popular events in the fall is the Old Town Farmers Market. Farmers markets are a great way to get fresh produce and crafts while also supporting local farmers and entrepreneurs. Plus, you can often find great deals. The Ottawa Old Town Farmers Market is held in Washington Square Park from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and the next one is on Sept. 16.

The “parkrun” is also coming up, the world’s largest organized running activity. There’s a free timed 5K, and it’s held at Heritage Harbor at 9 a.m. on Sept. 16. In fact, this event is held every Saturday, and it has run, walk, and jog options for participants. You can register online for the event at www.parkrun.us.

Two fun events for families include family board games and the Loop Group, both of which are at the Reddick Public Library. The family board games event will be held on Sept. 16 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., while the Loop Group—a knit and crochet group—will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

Finally, learn Mandarin Chinese at the Reddick Public Library on Sept. 16. This free group is open to teens and adults who would like to learn Mandarin, one of the most popular dialects of Chinese.

These are just some of the many fun things to do in Ottawa that we at Bill Walsh Toyota suggest. Many of these events happen on a weekly basis, so if you can’t go this week, you can still make it the next time.

2017 Toyota RAV4 Reviews

The 2017 Toyota RAV4 continues to be a top-selling crossover among drivers of all ages. Its sporty yet unique styling and impressive array of features make it a hard model to top. We here at Bill Walsh Toyota are happy to talk about the crossover all day, but here are a few reviews from some of the industry’s utmost experts!

2017 Toyota RAV4 - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

U.S. News & World Report noted the expansion of the Toyota Safety Sense suite’s availability in the 2017 RAV4. Reviewers were also impressed by the easy-to-understand infotainment system. An urban crossover designed for adventure, the Toyota RAV4 features plenty of space within the cabin. A long list of standard features doesn’t hurt either.

The Car Connection also noted the expansive array of standard and available safety features in the 2017 Toyota RAV4. The wide range of models, each available with different wheels, means that there’s a model for everyone. The available RAV4 Hybrid is certainly a talking point as well.

Edmunds.com called attention to the quiet, comfortable ride, a necessity for those making daily commutes. A spacious cabin leaves plenty of room for cargo of all shapes and sizes. There’s also an abundance of high-tech safety features as well. The 2017 Toyota RAV4’s fuel economy is certainly something to be proud of, too.

Here Are the Best Drive-ins in Illinois


The last days of summer are quickly approaching — how does your summer bucket list look? Did you check off most of those weekend getaways, trips to the farmer’s market, golden tans, and so on? Was an evening spent at an old-fashioned drive-in on your list? If it wasn’t, you might want to consider adding it. Or, if it was, and you still haven’t checked it off, we have a list to help you out!

Drive-Ins in Illinois - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

Here are the best drive-ins in Illinois (be sure to make it to one before the summer’s over!):

  1. Cascade Drive-In

Located in West Chicago, this old-time drive-in offers double features for just $10 per adult ($5 per child 5-11, free for kids under 5). Cascade Drive-In even has a ‘50s-era cafeteria, but feel free to bring in your own meals and snacks.


  1. McHenry Outdoor Theater

Here’s a bit of nostalgia for you: at McHenry Outdoor Theater, you need to call for showtimes! No more simply relying on Google! This drive-in has been a staple of the McHenry, Illinois, community for decades, and one trip there for a flick will tell you why. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids 11 and under.


  1. Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Movie Theatre

There is no other way to describe the Harvest Moon Twin Drive In Movie Theatre, except as an absolute classic delight. Located in Gibson, Illinois, you won’t want to miss a trip to Harvest Moon, or their well-stocked snack bar that offers a variety of goodies from pizza to pickles.


If you happen to be in the market for the perfect car to take to one of these drive-ins in Illinois, stop by Bill Walsh Toyota today and check out our huge selection of cars, trucks, and SUVs!

Toyota Named Top Automotive Innovator for 2016 by IPO

Toyota recently earned the IPO award for the third year in a row. IPO stands for the Intellectual Property Owners Association, an independent research association that publishes a yearly “Top 300 Organizations Granted US Patents.” Toyota has more patents—totaling 1,540 for 2016—than any other automaker, making it a leader in its industry.Top Automotive Innovator - Bill Walsh Toyota - Ottawa, IL

According to Toyota, several of these patents were filed with the creation of innovations like Toyota Safety Sense™, a suite of driver assist technologies that alerts you to dangers on the road. Entune 3.0 also utilized several new technologies, while Toyota also optimized hybrid and alternative-fuel options for several vehicles.

“As companies in the automotive industry transform themselves into broader mobility providers, no auto company better demonstrates innovation and technology for the future than Toyota,” said Jeff Makarewicz, group vice president, Toyota Motor North America Research & Development.  “Toyota’s industry-leading patent numbers illustrate the company’s continuous success as global mobility and innovation front runner.”

Toyota’s ranking as the Top Automotive Innovator for the third year in a row reflects the company’s dedication to providing customers with the best products possible. Not only are you certain to get a durable, high-quality vehicle when you shop Toyota, but you’re also bound to get one of the smartest cars on the market. Learn more about recent Toyota innovations by test driving a 2017 model at Bill Walsh Toyota today.

New 2018 Yaris Hatchback Comes with Upgraded Features

Toyota recently announced some final details about the new 2018 Yaris hatchback, including sporty features, added convenience, and upgraded technologies. The Yaris is the perfect car for city and highway, offering impressive fuel economy, a comfortable drive, as well as great handling and safety. Read on to learn about some of the latest features on this new hatchback.

According to Toyota, the new Yaris comes with a Toyota Safety Sense-C™ system, including three driver assist technologies: Pre-Collision, Lane Departure Alert, and Automatic High Beams. This trio of safety systems is designed to keep you better protected in dangerous situations, alerting you to danger and watching your blind spots.

“The fuel-efficient Yaris represents a great value for buyers on a budget as it is the Toyota brand’s least expensive model, yet it is equipped with many standard safety and convenience features.  Among the many standard carryover safety features is Toyota Safety Sense- C™ (TSS-C), a trio of driver assist technologies that help drivers get from point “A” to point “B” with safety assurance,” reads the Toyota press release.

The new Yaris will come in three-door and five-door styles, as well as L, LE, and SE trims. You’ll find a contoured exterior, horizontal taillamps, a new front facia, and more. Intelligent features include LCD displays, an ECO-Driving indicator, and the Entune™ Audio system. The Entune™ system has a touchscreen display, smartphone connectivity, and more. Stop by Bill Walsh Toyota to test drive the latest Yaris today.Bill Walsh Toyota to test drive the latest Yaris today.

Toyota FT-4X Concept

Toyota LogoThere are quite a few utility-driven vehicles getting released in the next few years and Toyota isn’t about to be left out of the running. The Japanese automaker announced that it would bring a new off-road concept to the New York International Auto Show. The concept, called the FT-4X, will offer the off-road capability that weekend adventurers love while maintaining urban versatility.

The Toyota FT-4X concept is widely considered to be the replacement for the FJ Cruiser, which left the market in 2014. Now, crossovers and SUVs are all the rage amid low gas prices. With close competitors releasing their own off-road utility vehicles, Toyota is clearly looking to grab its fair share of the market.

The FT-4X name stands for “Future Toyota – Four-Wheel Drive” and a teaser photo reveals just what that means. The concept vehicle rides on 18-inch wheels wrapped in 225/55R18 tires. Obviously a four-wheel drive model, the teaser photo shows that the display model will likely be bright orange.

While speculators believe this could be the successor to the FJ Cruiser, others are holding out in the hopes of a crossover or small truck. The Toyota FT-4X concept will make its public debut on April 12th at the New York International Auto Show.

We here at Bill Walsh Toyota can’t wait to see what comes from the inspiring FT-4X Concept!

Toyota Self-Driving Cars: Safer, Smarter, and User Friendly

The Toyota Research Institute is making headlines as it makes advances in autonomous vehicle technologies. The 2.0 advanced safety research vehicle was recently displayed in Sonoma California and have been dubbed the Chauffeur and Guardian technologies.

According to Toyota, the new Toyota self-driving cars operate by using a range of machines and systems. These include the LIDAR feature, a combination of radar and cameras that work to optimize the computer’s perception of environment. The autonomous Prius models also rely on high-definition maps to a degree, that, when combined with LIDAR, paint a clear picture for the computer.

“Basically, it is a smart vehicle designed to get smarter over time,” said Gill Pratt, CEO of the Toyota Research Institute. “It will learn individual driver habits and abilities and will benefit from shared intelligence from other cars as data gathering, sharing and connectivity technologies advance.  We believe Guardian can probably be deployed sooner and more widely than Chauffeur, providing high-level driver-assist features capable of helping mitigate collisions and save lives, sooner rather than later.”

The Chauffeur system is a fully autonomous technology that can operate constantly, while Guardian is a high-level driver assist system. This means the car is able to always monitor what’s happening, helping to prevent crashes moments before humans are even aware of danger. You don’t have to give up your freedom behind the wheel with these self-driving systems—they just work when you need them. At Bill Walsh Toyota, we can’t wait to see what else the brand has in store for the future.

Exciting Toyota Concept Models and Production Models at 2017 Chicago Auto Show

Toyota is making an exciting showing at the 2017 Chicago Auto Show this week, where the brand will debut several concept vehicles, as well as the latest versions of popular models that will hit showroom floors later this year.

Toyota released details on the “sexy” new 2018 Camry and, at the time of writing, first glimpses of the 2018 Tundra TRD Sport at CAS have been announced on Twitter. Toyota’s enormous CAS display will include more than 50 vehicles, in addition to the new Camry and Tundra.

The Camry, America’s best-selling car for fifteen years running, was first shown at the Detroit Auto Show in January and is thrilling consumers thanks to its new sporty looks and energy. The Tundra TRD Sport’s premium design and rugged performance will satisfy any truck driver and the 2017 RAV4 and Highlander will give viewers an interactive preview of Toyota’s innovative safety technology.

Toyota’s 2017 CAS theme, “The Story of Go,” will present this safety technology through seven demonstrations, including GO CONNECT, which shows how vehicles connect to modern technology, and GO SEE THE UNSEEN, which demonstrates Automatic High Beams, Perimeter Scan, and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert.

The three Toyota concept models, the FCV+, i-ROAD, and FV2, cover a range of ecofriendly and mobility needs. The hydrogen-powered FCV+ can be used to generate electricity inside the home. The i-ROAD, which has been around for a few years, is a three-wheel personal EV with Active Lean technology. The FV2 uses an intelligent transport system to connect drivers to other vehicles in the area and is operated by the driver shifting their body to change direction.

Toyota’s massive CAS show will give the auto world a lot to talk about in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for news on more new Toyota vehicles.

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