Grey Highlands, Ontario


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georgian explorerThe Georgian Bay Explorer - The Truckin' Business

For farmers in Grey County, the arrival of the railway in the 1870s and 1880s created a revolution on the farm. Now, livestock, lumber, and farm produce could be sent to larger markets by rail. A half-century later, another breakthrough in transportation improved the farmer's lot even more. lt was the ubiquitous truck, that all-purpose carrier of everything. By the 1930s, livestock truckers had begun to make their appearance in Grey, picking up cattle, sheep and hogs at the farmyard and delivering them directly to Toronto in less time that it had taken to haul them to the local train station. Dan McArthur of Glenelg Township was one of the first of the livestock truckers - but let him tell the tale. "ln 1928," McArthur remembers, "l had been married two years and was working on my father's farm. I loved driving and since trucks were starting to take over some of the freight from trains, I decided to try my hand at trucking and was the first custom trucker in the community." Dan started with a Model A Ford ton-and-a-half which he rented for ten dollars a day. His first load was his own lambs, trucked to the stockyards at Keele Street where he made three dollars a head for the delivery. The following year, McArthur bought a 1929 Ford truck and started hauling eggs from the co-ops in Durham, Flesherton and Dundalk to the United Cooperatives in Toronto. ln the coming years, he bought several REO Speedwagons and then a heavy-duty lnternational three-ton truck, driving it over 400,000 miles on two motors. During the Second World War, he once delivered five tons of honey in 45 gallon drums to Trenton and then picked up 200 beds in Oshawa for delivery to Owen Sound for the Polish Army in training. And that was the life of a trucker in the pre-war years of Grey County.