A new wrench in the works
Morrison Motors to succeed Macaulay's Garage after 70 years
For nearly seventy years Macaulay’s Garage has stood at the corner of Shore Road and Ross Street. A landmark watching silently as the tour buses roll by, folks strolling hand-in-hand in the evenings past its doors, while generations of children laugh and dance their way from the Academy to the Village centre at lunch break. Soon the sign above the door will change. Macaulay’s Garage will be no more. But rather than the end of an era, it is the beginning of a new one for the venerable old building.
It was 1949 when the garage first opened, built by three brothers, Gordon, Alex, and Danny Macaulay, each bringing their own special talent; Gordon, the consummate salesman, Danny, the mechanical guru, and Alex bringing years of experience from the trucking business. The three brothers were well-suited for what would become a multi-faceted company, with service bays, mechanics, fuelling station, and a full-service Ford dealership that lasted from 1950 to 1998. Macaulay’s Garage became one of the corner stone’s of the auto service industry in Victoria County. In the 1960s and 70s there were five service stations in the village, each taking turns staying open late so customers always had a place to buy fuel and supplies.
As the years rolled on and the brothers grew older, the car business went through dramatic changes with computers, diagnostic stations and larger service centres taking a toll on the smaller companies. The need for service stations in Baddeck dwindled and soon all that remained were Macrae’s Garage at one end of town and Macaulay’s at the other.
Peter Macaulay, son of Alex, was the Service Manager at the big garage for many years but with the changing tide, he took over the Ultramar franchise on the highway just west of Baddeck. For the next eighteen years, he and wife Patti Sue ran the highway service station and truck stop. Darren Macaulay, also a long-time employee of Macaulay’s Garage, went with Peter. From time to time, Jackie Kendall also worked in the cramped service bays out on the highway. Peter’s loyal customers followed him and very quickly, the little store became a gathering place for good conversation and to catch up on the news.
Without Peter and Darren, Macaulay’s Garage scaled down in size, but continued to provide great service. After the Ford dealership wing of the business closed, tires and parts became their mainstay. Even at ninety-five, “Old Gordon” made his way down to the garage every day. His son Gordon, along with Phillip Macrae, were the last to staff the place before the lights dimmed for a few short months.
Then came Sandy Campbell, local businessman and owner of several properties in the village. He made a successful bid to buy the old garage in a deal struck with his brotherin-law, Peter Macaulay. Peter and Patti Sue left the Ultramar and moved their business back to town. The refurbished garage has flourished under their management. The Ultramar that had once been the hub of activity was quietly torn down last fall.
Last Fall, Peter and Patti Sue knew it was time to seriously start planning their succession. Fortunately, Mark Morrison, son of Kenton and Barb Morrison, was interested in settling his family here and made a successful bid to buy the business. In the coming weeks, the Macaulay name will finally be retired from the front of the garage. In its place, ‘Morrison Motors’ will mark the beginning of a new era of service in Baddeck.
Mark, still a young man, has spent a good part of his working life as Chief Mate on a drilling ship in over forty countries around the world. Though the money was good, he says he is worn out from travelling and misses being home with his family. In his younger days, he worked in the car business and is looking forward to getting back to that.
Mark says he’ll strive to continue the same level of service that people have grown accustomed to. Expansion plans include a detailing shop and the sale of used cars.
Like Patti Sue before her, Mark’s wife Lorna will join him in running the new business. Mark has a reverent outlook on taking over the old garage that is teeming with history. He is humbled by the responsibility of taking on a kind of stewardship and believes that it is important for younger generations to give back to the community in which they were raised. Enthusiastic to be home, his irrepressible energy will become the hallmark of the new Shore Road business. Congratulations to Mark & Lorna and best of luck in your new adventure. Great thanks to Peter & Patti Macaulay for all of their years of great service to this community, and to all of the Macaulay family who have given so much to the Village of Baddeck over the years.
Peter Macaulay (left), stops briefly for the camera at his Shore Road garage while wife and business partner Patti Sue Macaulay (right) is seen working behind the service desk next door. The two will be handing over the keys to new oweners Mark and Lorna Morrison at the end of May. Photos by Andrew Brooks / The Victoria Standard