C. Fred Ball CLU, Past President 1971-1972
Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce
OSHAWA: December 2004 – Because I have lived in our fair City for more than half a century, and my Great Grand Parents emigrated from Ireland and took up residence before the end of the 19th Century, Bob Malcolmson and I thought it might be fun to reminisce about the past for the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce with an occasional column in Business Matters. So here goes.
Following is a collection of Fred’s “In My Day” columns published in Business Matters from December 2004 to October 2009.
In My Day – December 2004
My late Grandfather and Father operated service stations and auto repair businesses in Oshawa until about 1972. One of the many locations was on King Street West, (the hollow) what is now the used car lot of OMS. Across the road was Hambly’s Beverages (the local Coca-Cola bottler) owned by Skin Hambly. As a matter of fact, the Hambly family also owned the arena (destroyed by fire in the late 1950’s) the ice making plant (known as City Pure Ice) and the Oshawa Fur and Cold Storage Plant on William Street. Now all are long gone. Wild Bill Hackney owned the Crysler Dealership across the road. Mid town Mall was nothing more than a pastureland known as The Flats. All of these people had many things in common. Hard drinking, hard living and being successful. I forgot Pete Bachageorge who operated a used car lot across the street next to Hambly’s Beverages. Pete had a very interesting guarantee for his used cars. He called it his 30/30/30 guarantee; 30 days, 30 miles, or 30 feet from his curb whichever occurred first.
One of the more memorable characters was King David. Each morning he would stride past the service station dressed in a formal tuxedo, including top hat, spats, cane and highly polished shoes. I never knew where he went but each day late in the afternoon he would reappear heading back to his residence somewhere north of Bond Street along Park Road. His claim to fame was building homes in the general area of Bond, Adelaide and Park Road. His houses were, and still are, very distinctive because each one had a “look out” or “Widow’s Watch” (as it was sometimes called) on the roof. Take a drive in the neighbourhood and you can still pick them out.
Another character was Alfie Robinson. He owned and operated a junkyard. It was located on the Parking Lot land west of City Hall and north of the Art Gallery. The distinct part of Alfie was he always had a wad of cash in his pocket, “big enough to choke a horse,” as it was described. When he had his Cadillac repaired by my Father he always, with a great flourish, withdrew the “Wad” from his pocket to pay whatever my father charged for the necessary repairs.
CLICK HERE FOR A COMPLETE COLLECTION OF “IN MY DAY” by C. Fred Ball.