When my father Reg. started up in the garage business on Hamilton Street he had Shell gas pumps.
Ross Scott from Brucefield was the new Sun Oil agent for the area. Sunoco gas at that time was proud of the fact that they produced only ethyl fuel which was first grade. Ross came to my father wanting him to put in a Sunoco pump and when Reg. refused, Ross asked (this was wintertime) is anybody around here experiencing problems with their fuel?
Reg. replied that the Ice cutting machines in the Harbour were difficult to start, many not starting at all.
The next day they both went to the harbor, walked out onto the ice, drained the fuel and put in Sunoco.
The next morning every ice machine started.
Reg. immediately put in a Sunoco pump and before long was selling 10 gallons of Sunoco to 1 gallon of Shell, so out went the Shell pump. When we decided that gas pumps really did not belong anymore at a car dealership we ended our Sunoco relationship in 1987. At that time we were the oldest Sunoco dealer in Canada.
My own experiences handling fuel at our family garage and dealership:
Even though we lived upstairs above the small garage from the time I was born on Groundhog Day, February 2nd 1940, I do not remember much about the garage itself.
However, I do remember one of my jobs was hand pumping up the fuel into the glass cylinders out front. I enjoyed doing this very much.
When the new garage opened close to the Square in 1947; our pump area was a thing of beauty. Brand new pumps with those beautiful glass globes up top that lit up; a beautiful oil display rack in the centre of the pump island; paper dispensers; water buckets and squeegees to clean the windshields.
Reg. had the last salt mine chimney in Saltford dynamited down and had the red brick crushed. The crushed brick was then put all around the gas pump area and each morning it would be hosed down and looked so pretty.
It turned out to be a big mistake as the crushed brick tracked into the sparkling new garage and into the customers’ cars, so before long it was all removed and the area black topped.
We were open from 8am till 10pm each week night and 11am – 4pm on Sundays; so we pumped a lot of fuel.
I still remember all those American plated cars heading North that came by our garage for fuel and especially the small race cars that raced at our old Port Albert Airport property that wanted filled up with Sunoco’s highest octane fuel. Oh how I hated cleaning those bugs off of the windshield, baked on in the summer heat.
Checked the oil, checked the tire pressure – nobody does this anymore, I would like to add that the people driving Scotts fuel truck delivering the fuel were some of the nicest people you could ever meet.
The Scott and McGee families became lifelong friends and ironically Ken Scott (Ross Scott’s son) had a daughter named Mary Jane who married my brother Alvin’s son, Martyn who is now the dealer principal at the Dealership.
Photograph of Mural painted on the wall at the Literature shop, based on Original Photograph-
Left to Right: Father: Reg. McGee, Eldest Brother: Len McGee, Brother: Alvin McGee, Mother: Della McGee & Garage Mechanics: George & John Hutchins