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What the Heck happened to Smith Transport?


Harry Smith, founder of Smith Transport said: “We had to be handy with tools in those days. The roads were narrow, and if they were pavement, then the asphalt was always breaking up…We look back now and say how rough it was, but it wasn’t rough back then. At least it didn’t seem like it at the time.
Indisputably what was Canada’s largest and most recognizable trucking firm was also once the biggest in the British Commonwealth. In its heyday in the 1950s, the distinctive blue Smith transports would pass points on Highwy 2 between Toronto and Montreal every 10 minutes. Long before Environment Canada was providing hourly regional weather reports, morning man Wally Crouter, on CFRB radio in Toronto would rely on Smith drivers across the province for up-to-date weather conditions and traffic reports during the 50s and 60s.
Facts are getting thin on Smith operations as the waves of history disappear into the ocean behind us. Few of the original drivers are around anymore, and finding out more about the company requires some digging and archive-hunting. Here’s what I do know (although I’d love to have confirmation or any more info). Smith Transport was started in Montreal in the 1920s by the original patriarch Sam who had a scrap metal business. By 1926 it was hauling general freight as a full-fledged motor carrier. The jury is our whether he had three or four sons, but the main trucking brains were Harry’s, who evidently ran the operation out of Buffalo, New York, while a couple of other brothers (Bruce, Phillip?) ran the operations in Toronto and Montreal respectively. Ross Mackie, who, incidently owns a 1948 GMC that was made for Smith Tspt. (still got the original Diamond Goodyear tires on it, rotten but still holding air), assures me that Smith had a terminal in Oshawa long before they moved to Commissioners Street in Toronto.
Smith’s tendrils extended as far as they could in those days. They ran Toronto to Winnipeg and couldn’t really go any farther west–the TranCanada wasn’t completed until the mid-60s and truck traffic to the west coast went through the States. The main corridor was Toronto-Montreal, but its US division supplied NewYork State and NYC. Smith’s eastern subsidiary, Fletcher Tspt. covered the Maritimes.
Former Truck News contributor Ken Hellawell (and the man who taught me to double clutch about 40 years ago) used to work for Smith Transport on the highway spare board out of Toronto 1953-57. They had 40 dedicated Toronto-Montreal drivers, with the same number in Montreal heading the other way. In those days they were given 11 hours to get to Montreal on the “Old Road” (Hwy 2 in the days before the 401. Those drivers did the trip in B 61 Macks, and the quickest ones could make it in 9 hours. “Sure it was only two lanes but they were paved and the towns and suburbs weren’t built up. Once you got out of the city it was farms and mostly open road,” says Ken.
The terminal on Commissioners Street had a lunch room and some cots upstairs where drivers could sleep. This was the same case in other terminals like Belleville and Kingston. Smith drivers were thought of as highliners but they weren’t necessarily the spiffiest. Ken tells me dress was pretty casual. On the other hand, Kingsway drivers were always immaculate, expected to have clean uniforms and polished shoes when they reported for work.
As as boy, Ross Mackie lived in a house on King Street in Oshawa. “All the trucks went by the house on the Old Road. I’d get so excited that my mother couldn’t hold me down. I remember Smith, and Motorways, they used to run Ottawa, and Direct Winters. And when my dad took me with him to Toronto I couldn’t believe the trucks. Our company was just small and it was great to see all that equipment.” Even legendary trucker Highway Hank Stroud, deceased several years now, got tired of gypsying and went to work for Smith for awhile.
Mackie recalls the Gardiner diesels that Smith installed in its Internationals, probably KB8s and 10s. Diesels were rare in those days and he doesn’t think they worked out that well. It’s parcel of Canadians’ trust of anything from the home country as the Gardiners were made in England. Later on other companies embraced Leyland Trucks and still later Rolls Royce engines with mixed results.
William Diesel Gypsy Weatherstone (check out his website, an impressive compendium of stories and photos from back in the day) learned how to drive truck underage from him step-father Roy Sr., also a driver for Smith Transport. In the early 60s, Roy Sr, was one of the first Highland Tspt drivers, a new division that had been just started at CP Express, along with three other brokers.
Evidently, in stories I’ve heard, old Harry Smith was a wheeler and dealer, bringing up a lot of old equipment from the US and playing permit tag with some of the units. CP had its eye on Smith for sometime. They were miles ahead of CN getting into the trucking business and into piggy backs, and by 1957 they had closed a deal to buy Smith, including 2,500 pieces of rolling stock. But the deal didn’t include a bunch of new Mack tractors that they thought the were getting. The number varies in different accounts, but several dozen new trucks went instead to Montreal were they were registered to one of the brothers, leaving CP executives with their mouths hanging open.
All that’s left of Smith are the modellers, I suppose. Particularly Wayne Marshall of Guelph, Ont., who got into model trucks when he was recreating the mid-1950s with his HO-scale railroading buddies. “The more you study that era, the more you wish you had of been around in that time. I know the seats were hard and conditions were tough, but they sure had some interesting equipment.”
Marshall is what you call a prototype modeller. He’ll buy an HO scale trailer, for instance, and modify it to meet Canadian standards adding components or slight subtleties. Did you know that both Fruehauf and Trailmobile both had Canadian and American companies that competed against each other?
Wayne does his modelling mostly from photos so he’s particularly interested in finding a 32 foot trailer with the Smith logo on the side from 1958-63. Wayne had modelled other trucking companies from that era, Husband, Hoar, Direct Winters, the old InterCity trucks. The process involves making decals from the logos and printing them up on decal paper. He’s still looking for the Overland logo with the big flying “O” and some other trucking logos. Me, I’d like to collect a few stories from some of the Smith people. Anybody still out there?
tn.jpg
Model by Wayne Marshall.
Smith Trans-Flat-2-300px.jpg
From the Bill Weatherstone Collection
“The 2 drivers on the Right Photo are with Smith Transport in Northern Ontario, Canada. The standard process of changing a flat tire when you carried spares. Any other driver passing by always stopped and helped. If you had used up any spares, the procedure then was to carry a couple broken spring leaves to use as tire irons. You would have to break down the flat, remove the tire and tube, and then remount the rim back on the wheel and carry on to the next town or terminal singled out. That was part of the drivers job.


Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs

Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio. With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude.
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89 Comments » for What the Heck happened to Smith Transport?
  1. Peter V. Mclellan says:

    With Heavy Heart I must Correct you about Smith Transport Ltd. #1 Orignally they were an Oshawa Ontario Based CompanyShoot of a Scrap Company Rags Bones and Variousapproached .
    At that time they had trucks dealing with the scrap business. Than at one point Mr. Phillip Smith was approached by The William’s Piano Works. It was around C.N.E. time and for some reason the rail road couldn’t take some of there display products for the show.From that point the Transportation grew. At first they brought back freight from Toronto to Oshawa. Better than bringing the Scrap Trucks back Empty.
    Now to be honest with you that was only the start maybe Ross Mackie could help you get the real story. Iknow when the news came out about an Rail Road (C.P.) bought app 50% of Smith IO wass devistated.

    • Ken Jones says:

      I would like to find the name of the person who started this “what happened to Smith Transport” conversation. He states he worked for Scobies and I am trying to model some trucks fro Scobies Transport in Niagara Falls. I have a black and white photo from about 1954.I think the tractors were red but I can’t remember what colour the trailers were. I live in Niagara Falls and knew Glen Scobie, the owner.If this person or anyone knowing him could reply to me it would really be appreciated. Thanks to all and “Merry Christmas”
      PS..I also worked for CP Express and Transport

  2. Dave Raynsford says:

    Hello Harry;
    I love the trip along the nostalgic highway, particularly visiting the Smith Transport “empire”. I was with the CP Express and Transport/Interlink gang for a ten year period (up to the day they closed). Somewhere along the way I acquired a Smith Transport “Driver’s Handbook” published September 1st, 1970. The Smith Story in the book relates to the founder as a scrap dealer named Philip Smith. As the story goes; the company was started in Oshawa Ontario in 1919.
    Apparently, the William’s Piano Company of Oshawa called the scrap yard and asked Smith to transport some pianos to the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto (trip time; six hours, back in the day…). Understanding a “balanced” operation, Smith called up General Motors to solicit backhaul and sure enough, Anaconda Brass coughed up some freight! Of course in those days if you could deliver, there was plenty more freight where that came from! Philip Smith soon realized better return from freight than scrap and so the Smith Transport launch was successful!
    In 1932 Smith Transport was granted authority to service Quebec. The new company was called H. Smith Transport Ltee. and was operated by Philip’s son Harry Smith. Another son named Sam later became president of the Ontario operation. Sam’s greatest contribution to the industry was the “sufferance” warehouse established for purposes of handling bonded freight at inland points. The first such facility opened in January of 1954.
    The company continued to grow and prosper becoming the largest trucking company in the British Commonwealth!Controlling interest in Smith Transport was purchased by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1958 making it part of the largest transportation complex in the world!
    Big company rising from humble beginnings and a first class act! Okay Harry…haffta’ stop now…gettin’ misty! Thanks for the trip!

    • paul moreau says:

      Hello. Just came across this blog. Glad to hear Smith Transport is remembered. I worked in the trucking business from 1958 to 2010. My first job was at Smith in Montreal. I was seventeen and worked in the tracing dept. searching for late freight. My girl friend’s father was the TM of Alcan. he got me the job. Tom Kelly reluctantly accepted me and on my first day March 3, 1958 I was two hours late because of a snowstorm. I only worked there until July ’58 when I left to go to Direct Motor Express.

      I agree that Philip Smith was the founder and I saw him once in Montreal when he was very old. Harry Smith was the big boss. My desk was right near the water cooler. Once or twice a day he would emerge from his office, stroll to the water cooler and quench his thirst. Never once did he even make eye contact with me. There also was a brother(?) Bruce who I believe was in Toronto and would come to Montreal once in a while.

      Although I only worked there for four months I still recall many of the people. George Fowler was the sales manager. My boss was flamingly gay but I was too young and naïve to know what that meant. The closet was deep in those days. However, he was very helpful training me.

      I remember Gordon Smith was the rate man and he always looked overwhelmed. Noel Fosbury was the personnel manager. Bob Cureton was the operations manager. Roger Bergevin managed the day dock.
      Fred Pace and Gilles Cyr handled claims and Fred Johnson was like a secretary to Harry Smith. There was a stout, maiden lady who was the receptionist/switchboard operator who would march down to my desk when I was on the phone a little too long and get right in my face, or at least her enormous breasts were in my face and she’d shout ‘ you have two calls waiting. Get off the phone.”

      On the 50th anniversary of my first day with Smith I went back to the terminal now occupied by JIT Transport as I did business with them. The office has been completely reconfigured.

      I got a good start in the business with Smith and eventually owned my own company for the last twenty five years of my career.

      Oh yeah. Before I forget. On my first day I was sent around the office looking for the skyhook. Thank you, Red Ouimet.

      • Brian Lee Caldwell says:

        I started there in 66 and most of the people were still there except Bob Cureton. The stout woman was Bertha Sauve and the rumour was that she was an old flame of Harry when both were young. Your boss was probably Gilles Clermont. In those days Smith was the training ground for office staff. As soon as they got experience, they were hired by other companies. Kingsway, Direct or Maislin. I never had to look for the skyhook but was was asked to get a waybill stretcher.

  3. Harry Rudolfs says:

    Thanks Peter. Ross has already corrected me on the Oshawa thing, and found me a truck historian who knows his facts. So there is no original Montreal connection to this family? And the benefactor was Phillip? Please keep the historical stuff coming. Many thanks, Harry

  4. Keith A Young says:

    The history in the 1970 manual is correct I worked for Smith Transport from November 1967 to February 1976 managing the Toronto Terminal, being loaned to CP Ships UK and then returning from UK to manage the Montreal Terminal. Finally I was in charge of maintenance, claims, linehaul and maintenance. Smith originally had a “licence(s) to print money ” which were erroder one way or another and deregulation finished any edge Smith had.
    The interesting comment about Smiths experience with Rolls Royce diesals as I was not allowed by Doc Booth to consider them when I was buying trucks in UK in 1972

  5. Susan Nicholson says:

    This is quite interesting. My Father was George Nicholson. He worked on Commissioner St. He eventually became Director of CP Express& Transport. I have many fond memories of him bringing me to Commissioner St when i was young. Dock Booth was a name herd i remember well. We went to visit Dock a few times when he lived in Oshawa. I still Drive by the old building when i am in town. I still have a business card or two of my dad’s. Unfortunatley my dad past away several years ago but i know he would be tickled pink to know somebuddy remember the company.
    Sinerely
    Susan Nicholson

    • Carol Morton says:

      Hello, Susan I knew your father very well. I worked with him at Smith Transport and then CPET. I used to give him a ride to work in the eighties when I lived in Westhill. He was a really nice man and was very serious about his work. Great memories .

  6. Keith A Young says:

    Hello Susan,
    I remember your father well, I first met him when he was terminal manager in Ottawa, I think late 1967. I do not recall you so I think he may have brought you down to Commissoners St. on a Sunday when he and Dave Card did some office cleaning. George reported to me in 1975 and 1976. I am truly sorry he has passed away.
    Keith A Young

  7. Susan Nicholson says:

    Hello Mr.Young,
    Thank you so much for your reply, it is so nice to here from you! I haven’t been on this site for awhile, so this was a pleasant surprise today:) I often wonder what Dave is doing these days? Do you live in Toronto?? Here is wishing you and yours a Happy Holiday Season.

  8. Keith A Young says:

    Hello Susan,
    I now live in Thailand. All the best to you for Christmas and New Year

  9. Fred Williston says:

    Hi All, I am also interested in Smith transport. When I was a kid, in the Maritimes in the fifties, there were Smith trucks going through Moncton, I think I remember they were blue, maybe Macks or Whites, with lighted sign on cab roof “Smith”. I see a flatdeck in picture above with a side kit on it and I think I saw a lot of those. Does anybody have a picture of a similar truck?? I would like to see the sign on the roof again in particular and the make of truck…
    many thanks …….fred…

  10. At ripodi says:

    Does anyone know what smith transport sale price to cp was?

  11. Darlene MacDonald says:

    Came across this site and wondered if anyone ever had any dealings with CP and Express in Etobicoke. My father, Thomas (Tommy) MacDonald worked there in the payables department, his entire career. He had a great deal of respect for his coworkers. It was always so much fun, as a child, to go to the Company family days. It was a thrill to be driven around the parking lot in one of the large transportation trucks. How the drivers must have hated having to deal with all of the children and their endless questions about what all the buttons did. And, as a child it was such a thrill to have a driver pass us by on the highway and after a friendly wave from my Dad, the horn would blow! We thought my Dad was the Prime Minister for the fuss the drivers paid him! We thought you were all such big, strong men and I was so proud that my Dad worked with you. He was proud too. Everyone at the terminal was always so friendly to my family and my father. He died 10 years ago but his stories and my memories of a great group of people, live on!

    • Brian says:

      Don’t know if you’ll get this. My dad worked for CP Express in Etobicoke for about 30 or so I think, on the night shift until about 1990. He was a package checker I believe. I don’t know what his actual title was though.

  12. Carol Morton says:

    I worked in the Payroll dept at Commissioners from 1974 then up to Atria in 1982. I was laid off in 1993. Things were going downhill ..I loved working there the people I will never forget. Can’t believe that many years have gone by..

  13. I started working for H. Smith Transport in Montreal in 1965 as a file clerk. I did various jobs until I ended up being a highway dispatcher in Montreal. I remember George Nicholson and Dave Card well. They were always after me to move to Toronto. It was a good company to work for and in Montreal, it was like family and for good reason, so many people had relatives that were there also.

  14. John Cragg says:

    28 years with Smith/CPT/CPET/Interlink……………Management and Sales…
    I have a box of memorabilia if anyone is interested, model trucks, pocket knives, crests, etc.

    • Bruce Jodouin says:

      I’d be interested in your memorabilia if you still have it, my Dad drove for Smith out of the North Bay terminal he has some great stories from that era
      Bruce Jodouin

    • scott morrison says:

      Would you be the Cragg who was my manager at the Mississauga terminal in 1982?

      I was a rate man and billing supervisor there briefly before the strike. Then I worked at Commissioners until i got out. things got Pretty shaky around 1985.

      Email if I have the right person.

    • jOHN
      WERE YOU MY MANAGER AT MISSISSAUGA IN THE BOND SHED?
      I WAS HIRED AS THE RATE CLERK JUST BEFORE THE STRIKE IN 1982.
      I PAINTED OSHAWA TERMINAL FOR MONTY, FORGET HIS LAST NAME,
      DURING THE STRIKE THEN AFTER THE STRIKE WENT INTO RATE AUDIT AT COMMISSIONERS WITH DON SOMERVILLE (A REAL CHARACTER), BOB FINLAYSON, A RATE GURU WITH HIS PIPE AND CHEESE SANDWICHES, AND VIJAY SUNDARSINGH.

      THE STRIKE WAS GOOD FOR ME AT FIRST. I LIVED IN THE BEACHES THEN AND THE TRAVEL TIME TO COMMISSIONERS WAS MINIMAL.
      OF COURSE THE COMPANY WAS IN DECLINE THEN. NOT TOO LONG AFTER THAT EXPRESS TOOK OVER AND LAYOFFS WERE HAPPENING. I FOUND SOMETHING A LITTLE MORE STABLE AND LEFT. I
      LEARNED A LOT ABOUT THE NIAGARA FRONTIER TARIFFS AND NMFC CLASSIFICATIONS THOUGH FROM OLD BOB.
      I OFTEN WONDER ABOUT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS I WORKED WITH.
      I AM SURE MOST ARE GONE NOW. MY CURRENT BOSS OWNS CSA TRANSPORTATION, HE WAS A TRAINEE DISPATCHER IN 1982 AND WENT ON TO BE SALES MANAGER AT 22 YEARS OLD. WE STILL CHUCKLE ABOUT SOME OF THE CHARACTERS THAT WORKED THERE AT THE TIME.
      IF YOU ARE THE JOHN CRAGG I KNEW THEN I HOPE YOU ARE DOING WELL.

    • paul slavens says:

      Hi John………. I am son-in-law of Samuel (Stan) Smith…… we would be interested in knowing details of your “box of memorabilia Thank you

  15. Ken Eley says:

    Back in 1969, I applied for an office job at Smith Transport/CP in Etobicoke, (brown’s line) Kipling Ave.? they told me I was too young looking, that it was a pretty tough place. I ended up, getting a job at Clarke Traffic Services, prior to the job interview-I was not aware Clarke Traffic was Hendrie Cartage, Muirhead Forwarding, containers, two ships MV Dart Atlantic, MV Dart Europe (both CP ships) Does anyone remember a forwarding company down in the Toronto portlands, there was a fire on the freight dock, a tow motor propane tank exploded, blasting 3-4 firefighters 30 feet. Approx 1985 One of them died-I’m trying to find out why he is not listed on their Memorial Wall. Thank You.

  16. Bruce Jodouin says:

    I’ve now read this article and replays many times and it brings back some very awesome memories as my Dad drove for Smith Transport from the North Bay terminal which I believe was Deluxe Transport in the beginning and became CP obviously,I have many memories of the terminal as it was unique because you had to back in off the street between two concrete pillars into a dark building in order to get to most of the dock area, my earliest memories are the long nose 9500 series GMC tractors that were dark blue with yellow grills and the old B model macks…..I was the passenger in many parades in town, I always jumped at the chance to go with Dad no matter if it was just a trip to the terminal or a parade or on a trip with him, or even just to the piggy back yard (how many of todays drivers even know what that is lol )back in those days my butt sat on an upside down garbage can for those lol I’m
    30 years into my own driving career now and still love to get
    Dad talking about those days. This was a great walk down memory lane and I’ll be sure to show Dad these replays and comments I’m sure he’ll know a lot of the people mentioned
    Thanks
    Bruce Jodouin

  17. Joe Black says:

    Enjoyed reading all the previous comments/memories about Smith Transport. I worked for them from 1970-1977 joining them right out of college after having worked there in the summer as a student. That was a great experience. I knew and worked with Keith Young, George Nicholson, Doc Booth among others and followed John Cragg as terminal manager in Brockville. I had the great privilege to also work with John Boxma, Don Boyle and NK (Johnnie Johnston).

  18. Malcolm Graham says:

    I worked for H Smith Transport in Dorval from 1971 to 1981 as an employee and then 1981 to 1997 as a jobber doing vehicle licensing. I consider Keith Young (always answered the phone “it’s Keith Young here”) to be one of my first mentors in my working life. I remember George Nicholson (his weight-lifting equipment in his upstairs office on Commissioner), Dave Card, Geoff Scott, Gaetan Desrosiers, Tom Kelly (helped Harry establish inland sufferance warehousing and “Intermediate Terminals” in the fifties), George Fowler (Harry’s protégé), the Emblem brothers – Norman Jr and Gordon (Norman’s Transfer from Cornwall). I have many great memories of the days at “H Smith Transport” and the people I worked and learned with there, among others – Wayne Butcher, Adele Boulding, Garth (Bud) O’Neill, Fred Johnston, Pierre Arsenault, Dennis Rahal, Jimmy Williamson, Brain Caldwell, Colleen Bell and many more.

    • Brian Caldwell says:

      Hello Malcolm. Glad you remember me. Those were good years and we all had a lot of good times working there. Those were great people to work for and with..

    • Keith A Young says:

      Malcolm, its Keith Young here, well actually I am in Phitsanulok Thailand. Motreal is a place I really liked and have fond memories.

  19. Dan Coombs says:

    My Dad , Mervin Coombs worked in the body shop on Commisioner St for over 40 years and he still drives around the east end of Toronto today. He would love to hear from some old friends from Smith Transport,

  20. LANGLOIS Roger says:

    Un peu de francais, cela changera. Mon défunt père à travaillé durant 40 ans chez Smith Transport Montréal, Dorval, comme chauffeur de camions et de poids-lourd. Ce fut vendu durant les années 80-90 à CP Express. Il s’est toujours dit victime d’une grande arnaque n’ayant jamais eu droit à son fond de retraite. Il en fut marqué pour le reste de sa pauvre vie. Il est mort d’un cancer le 11 mars 2011 à l’âge de 75 ans. Un petit côté obscure de Smith Transport… Montréal.

    • Brian Caldwell says:

      C’etait quoi le nom de votre pere?

    • Malcolm Graham says:

      I remember your Dad. I checked him in to the yard upon his return to the terminal every afternoon for 18-months (Feb 1974 to Sep 1975). He was a true gentleman.

    • Linda says:

      My dad worked for smith transport all his life …gerard dufour a small man speeking french …it was sold to cp express…was there an agreement for the pension plan in the yrs of 2000 ?na til pas eu un reglement en 2012 ou 2013 ? Mon pere tjrs vivant il a 91ans a trav touye sa vie pour smith transport aussi

  21. Gary derick says:

    I worked for CPET from 1985-92
    I hauled the last FREIGHT load out of Commisioner St when it moved to Pickering.
    All the loads after I left were loads of office furniture and supplies for new terminal.
    Al Johnson dispatched me for that load and I remember Cliff was another night dispatcher.
    They had a picture of an old International hauling two Excelerater pups on wall in dispatch like 2’X 3′ .

  22. Sandy Denny says:

    Just came across this article and it brought back some old memories. My father was Fred Watters and drove for Smith Transport for several years in the 50’s and maybe the early 60’s, (not sure as I was just a kid) before moving away from Toronto and eventually ended up driving for many years for John Grant Haulage out of Milton. My father only had 2 girls and no sons, so as the oldest, I was the lucky one who sometimes got to ride along with him. He’d wake me up very early in the morning and I’d head out on the road with him, sitting on the passenger seat which was little more than a metal box with a covering on it. We’d stop at his usual truck stops and sit me up high on the stool at the counter and introduce me to his fellow trucker friends. He’s been gone for some time now but as I’m approaching retirement myself, it was nice to relive some old memories.

  23. Tanalee Smith Messer says:

    Hi my name is Tanalee Smith Messeer . My father Harry and grandfather Phillip started Smith Transprort in 1923. My grandfather was a rag and scrap dealer R.S McLaughlin from GM motors liked him and gave him a truck and asked him to deliver parts to dealers in Toronto and return with a full cargo back so he and my father did so the roads wew awful but the business grew to to be the largest in the British commonwealth. It was sold to CPR for 5 million dollars . 4 of the 5 brothers were in the business and the 2 sisters , The fifth brother Leo was selling truck parts to the trade.

  24. Tanalee Smith Messer says:

    PS the whole Smith family will have read this article and perhaps the remaining brother Ted will put a post here and the other grandchildren and 22 great grand children enjoy the read

  25. jeffrey Farber says:

    I am the oldest of 16 grandchildren of the Smith family.Many years have passed as I am now 73 but remember so much of my time at Smith Transport as a child. On Sundays I went with my grandfather to Commissioner St at a very young age and as an adolescent worked every Saturday filing bills. I sure learned the alphabet!!!!When it was break time I use to go into the room called the ONhand room(items that were damaged or unaccounted for) and see what I could pick up.Fun Times
    I have enjoyed reading all the replies and comments to the original at article.Thank you.The history is documented in a variety of publications. My late father-in-law remembers Philip Smith in his horse and buggy collecting and delivering goods in Kensington market,Toronto in the early1920s.
    The entire Smith family continues to donate through a family foundation to community needs from the sale of this family business.
    We all remember how Smith Transport was considered by it’s employees as a part of the family.

    • Ellen Weiser says:

      Hello Jeffrey. I also have many “Smith” memories. My father, Nat Ginsberg, worked for Smith Transport from 1950 to 1982 when he passed away from a heart attack at his desk. I worked the summers (1965, 1966 and 1967) and it was a very family-type atmosphere. I am a few years younger than you (not many!) and so I’m wondering if you remember my father from Commissioners Street. He was a road supervisor/co-ordinator in the Dispatch office. I still have his business cards! I’m so pleased to have come across this website and to have read all of these wonderful comments!

  26. Lloyd Dodman says:

    Hi All
    My name is LLoyd I live in California now but I used to live in Niagara Falls and my dad Dick used to drive for Scobies Transport, when I was a kid I used to help him load and unload his truck.
    My question is does anybody remember Scobies?
    Lloyd

    • Kim Martin says:

      Scobies! Of course I remember Scobies. But mostly ‘Buff’ Scobie and his yacht in Toronto harbour ‘Cannonball’. I am a grandson of Stacey Vernon Martin and Strathdee Transport. Anybody out there remember Strathdee! !
      Grandpa Stacey made our lives. He was the greatest.
      Kim Martin

      • paul moreau says:

        I remember Strathdee. We used to interline with them at Toronto. I believe they serviced points like Orangeville.

      • Myron Roseman says:

        Hello Kim , My Dad worked at Martin Transports in the early forties at the St Catharines terminal. I talked with a Kelly several years ago when Don or Al passed away.
        I mentioned to her I have some Martin & Strathdee memorabilia to show the Martin family if interested, Myron Roseman St Cath

  27. Terry Leonard says:

    Hello,
    I worked for Smith Transport, CP Transport ,CP Express & Transport 1974-1984 Digby, Nova Scotia.Had two new tractors during my career 1976 Mack #17604 & 1982 S series International #DT486.A great company to work for.

  28. Peter V Mclellan says:

    To Sanalee Smith Messer Are you the young Lady who grew up in Oshawa and went to the Duke of Edinbourough school in Oshawa.

  29. Andy Torresan says:

    Andy Torresan
    October 22,2016
    Worked for Smith Transport/C.P. Express and Transport from 1964 to 1990.
    It was a real pleasure reading these articles and recognizing many names, some of which have passed. Yes, I hold many fond memories of the Smith Transport years (this is where my trucking career began). Commissioner/Villiers Street in the maintenance department. I had the pleasure of knowing and working with many dedicated great people. One person that comes to mind is Mr. Creighten who hired me and Mr. Doc Booth who pushed me along. My experience took me to Churchill Falls Labrador and Quebec City C.P. Navigation. Remainder of my career was at C.P.Express and Transport in Etobicoke. My years in the trucking industry are my fondest.

  30. Frank S Bernhardt says:

    Wow. What a walk down memory lane.

    My dad, Frank Bernhardt worked at the Commisioner Street shop repairing refers from the 50’s to 1986 when he went on disability. I remember as a kid going down with him on weekends a couple of times when there was an emergency. Especially one Easter Sunday when I went with him and the following week I received a pay cheque (only couple of dollars). Apparently my dad’s boss, Joe Simcoe, submitted a payment request for me for helping (I handed my dad some tools) for laugh.

    My dad always spoke highly of ‘The Old Smith’ who gave him the job when he was relatively new in this country and really didn’t know much about refrigeration. He always told my dad ‘You’ll learn’.

    I also worked as a part-time student at Smith from 72 to 73 (?) on the loading dock. The work was hard and frickin cold in the winter and miserably hot in the summer. But the pay was awesome. I wish I could remember the names of all my bosses. Some were really nice others, not so. But most of them were fair.

    My dad is still alive and kicking (he’s 90 now) and I’ll have to show these posts.

    I don’t know what everyone here is interested in, technical or nostalgia, but I recall seeing a couple of group pictures of the Xmas dinners they used to have. I can scan and post them if anyone is interested.

    Cheers everyone.

  31. Brian says:

    Hopefully there will be someone around to read this. I’ve got a question about the Smith Transport logo. I’ve seen several Smith Transport model trucks on Ebay with the CP Express & Transport blue/white/black “pac man” logo. After the acquisition of Smith, did CP continue to use the Smith name combined with the CP logo? I was looking for the CP trucks but saw the Smith ones and was confused.

    • IN 1982 WHEN I WORKED FOR THE SMITH SIDE IT WAS CP/SMITH

    • David Filbey-Haywood says:

      Yes, the Smith name in white was used with the new logo in blue on trailers. But some trailers had CP Transport on them instead because if I remember correctly the CP/Smith units out west used the CP Transport name instead of the Smith name. . CP Express looked the same. There were also some muddles too, I drove a B33 Mack twin-stick which was one of the last tractors painted in the old dark blue with yellow nose and bumper but with the new Smith Transport word graphics. The light blue tractor cabs of course didn’t have what you call the pac-man graphics but did have the new word graphics on the doors. ( I was with Smith for ten years .)

    • Howard Green says:

      The tractors were light blue with white & blue striped bumpers the doors were marked Smith Transport . The pac man logo was a multi mark of Canadian Pacific Rail Blue for trucking red for rail green for ocean and so on . The trailers had the blue multi mark with Smith Transport . CP Express was marked the same way as well mas CP Transport out west. I have many pictures of all the CP Trucking divisions . Its now become my hobby . I started at the tender age of 18 and was the for 32 years as a driver till the door closed. Howard Green St. Catharines Terminal

  32. Brian says:

    Thought I’d throw my dad’s name out there. Maybe someone remembers him. His name was Herbert “Berty” Scott and worked at CP Express and Transport in Etobicoke on the night shift until about 1990 when he retired. He had originally worked for CP Rail but transferred to CP Express when he wanted to settle down.

  33. jim bray says:

    When ww2 was on and trucks were hard to get Smith Transport took some old T60 GMC and D & K model International trucks and put in diesel engines and auxillary trannys in them to keep operating. The Smith trucks had single line air brakes and the tilt part of the 5th, wheel was on the trailer, so they did not interchange with other fleets equipment. In 1950 or 1951 they switched their whole fleet over to WC22 White tractors and Trailmobile trailers with conventional air brake systems and what was called at that time a “fruehauf” type 5th. wheel. The largest changeover in the trucking industry at that time,

  34. Jim Pimblett says:

    I’m having a great time reading these stories and hearing the new of the great men and women who worked at Smith. My first experience was travelling with Dad when he was Safety director in the early sixties and he would go to ontario terminals to hold safety meetings with drivers and dock staff. My brother and I would stand at the door handing out key chains and cigarettes to the attendees, later on Harold would be the voice of Smith on CFRB and my mother would make us listen to him in the mornings ” Good Morning Wally, Good morning folks”. I still chuckle at what I put up with when I was sent to open a terminal in Chatham in 1973. Our terminal was 2 doors in the Ontario pork producers marketing yard and every Tuesday was sale day and the farmers would bring their cattle and block the trailers in. On the winter days I started by crawling under the building with a blow torch to thaw the pipes so we could have running water in the bathroom. My then RM John Smith out of London, on said one day you’ll look back on this and laugh, I still do

  35. Rick Virostek says:

    Oh My! These posts brings back so many fond memories. I worked at Commissioner Street part time on the dock while going through school and then afterwards as a Dock Supervisor/Manager (1971-1987). Susan Nicholson, I knew your dad …. a really nice man. My dad (Frank Virostek) worked as a Linehaul Dispatcher for over 25 years, most of which was working for your dad. I also remember some of the other Dispatchers – Frenchie, Muff, Bob Maxx, Cliff LaFleur & Dave Card. I also remember some of the Billing staff, Gordon, Thelma, Sue, Peter Nealon, Vijay Sundarsingh along with other office staff like Julie Nemeth (Nick Nemeth’s daughter), Teresita, both Lenny and Nancy (LaFleur) Bahinski, etc.
    I have lots of stories about the dock supervisors that I worked with. Ray Nealon, Herbie Schwartz, Bob Lecours, Eric Seiffort, etc. I also have some great Smith Transport memorabilia. My prized possession is that I still have the large Smith Transport golf trophy which I won at the last event (along with some brand new Smith Transport note pads).
    Fond memories of Victor Rotundo (OS&D), crossing the picket line to open up the gates for Vic Marslin and Pete Booth to move some trucks into the yard during the strike.
    Darlene MacDonald, your dad was one of the most giving/kindest men I’ve ever known. Such a pleasure to have known him when I worked at Obico. And Jim Pimblett – my man – how are you? Facebook me.
    If anyone is further interested in re-connecting (in addition to this post), I’ve just created a Facebook group called “Smith Transport (Comissioner Street)” if you are interested. There is another Smith Transportion Facebook group (USA based). Sooo nice to read these posts!
    Wishing everyone continued success and good health.

    • Rick Virostek says:

      Oops – the Facebook Group is “Smith Transport (Commissioners Street)”. How could I make a mistake spelling the street wrong?

  36. George Renton says:

    Hello all.
    Though I did not work at Smith, I was however a
    young apprentice diesel mechanic at Cummins Ontario on Noth Queen St in Etobicoke from 71 to
    76. I recall working on many Whites and IH cabovers.
    Some where Smith , some where CP Express.
    I have for the most part been around trucks all my
    life. Also having owned a few for over 30 yrs.
    My driving career has given me the opportunity to
    drive a commercial vehicle in every Provence and
    Territory except Price Edward Island, and all states
    except Alaska, and Hawaii for obvious reasons.
    That said. Driving on many winter stormy nights
    when I’ve thought about the Smith / CP Ex drivers
    who used to drive those extremely short wheelbase
    IH cabovers with the 903 Cummins V8’s pulling trains.
    Gentlemen ! I take my hat off to you.
    Ps. To Jim Bray. The trailer coupling you discribe may
    have been a Scammel coupling device.
    I’m still on the road, and still ” handy with tools ”
    Question : does anyone remember the names through time of the International truck dealer on
    Saint Claire Ave near Canada Packers ?
    In closing, it’s interesting that no drivers other than
    Terry have weighed in. A hard life takes its toll I
    guess. Reminds me of a conversation I had just last
    week with another ” seasoned ” driver when I said
    ” remember when you’d be running at night for hours
    behind another truck and you could tell how heavy
    a smoker the guy was by the amount of butts the
    guy flicked out the window ?” We both laughed.
    It’s the small things in life….. Been nice visiting.

    Cheers.
    George R.

  37. David Filbey-Haywood says:

    Nobody has mentioned the full restaurant we had in the basement at Commissioners Street that not only did Smith drivers visit but also the BP tanker drivers who worked nearby. I remember them chocking their wheels as a safety method before coming down to eat in the evening…….no maxi brakes on the trailers in those days. If the air leaked out of the system they were just sitting there with no brake applied – which made it easy for lazy shunt drivers who picked up an empty trailer with no air at the dock, without putting on the air-hoses, and then dropped them in the field without getting out of their cab by simply lowering them to the ground and pressing their fifth wheel release button to pull away . In those days we weren’t allowed to go under a trailer without first putting on our air-hoses and applying the trailer brakes. Nowadays the rule seems to be go under the trailer without hoses but attach them before hitting the pin.

  38. David Filbey-Haywood says:

    And nobody has mentioned Stan Bond, the driver trainer at Smith who was involved in the founding of George Brown’s tractor trailer school, from which I graduated……..still have the certificate.

  39. David Filbey-Haywood says:

    The later history of Smith was really tightly wrapped up with the fortunes and downfall of Canadian Pacific in the rail/trucking world with many Smith trailers riding piggyback on CP Rail’s trains. I dropped off many a trailer in the CP Express / CR Rail yard in Etobicoke in the 70s………..some of them overloaded for the road which use to bug CP Rail; we hauled them down to their yard with a tandem that didn’t have to pass any scales and then their single axle shunt trucks struggled to lift them off the ground and back them on to the train.

    http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/CPR/intermodal/pioneer.htm

  40. Howard Green says:

    I started July 5 1965 with Canadian Pacific Express —CP Express —CP Express & Transport–Interlink Freight System and was there till it closed its doors July 5 1997. There were good and bad times over the 32 years of service . I was a driver all those years I drove local, line haul, and spent from 1985 to 1997 clearing loads between Ft Erie – Buffalo Lewiston NY and Queenston On. This use to be Smith Transport work till they combined the Express & Transport divisions together. We would move Aprox. 10 loads of LTL a day across the border try that today. As a hobby I build HO Tractors & Trailers I have the red units of Canadian Pacific Express the blue CP Express and CP Express & Transport as well As the dark blue and yellow Smith Transport and the light blue multi mark Smith and CP Transport. I have also built green & yellow Overland Express units Direct Winters ,inter City units the green & black Kingsway units ICL units the red Husband Transport, Consolidated Freightways , Dominion Consolidated .Red Star and many more . I have built Aprox. 115 Tractors and 135 trailers . Its just some thing I enjoy doing . The two guys I switched loads with at the border we former long time Smith drivers . We had a Terminal in Tonawanda NY and a drop yard along side I- 190 where we hooked twin 48 footers up for New Jersey . We also had a terminal there as well . We had a great time doing our thing. But all good things seem to come to a end…

  41. Brian Lee Caldwell says:

    I was rereading some of the post and it reminded me of when my Uncle Jim Williamson was the dispatcher in Montreal and he would give road reports on CJAD radio in the late 60’s. That was how highly regarded Smith transport was.

  42. Bill MCGrogan says:

    I must agree with a much earlier post of Peter McClellan. My Stepfather (Jack Rupert) was an early accountant for Mr Smith. he told me some great stories from those early days. First he said Mr Smith was a scrap dealer and like Peter said, the Williams Piano company in Oshawa asked Mr Smith to clean up a truck and haul some pianos to the CNE for a show. Mr Smith charged dearly and said, there’s money in this and there was the birth of a freight hauler. Jack passed away about 10 years ago but he also told me he had to take an envelope full of cash to Jimmy Hoffa in NY every month or so as Smith started running trucks down to the piers, no pay-no play.

  43. Wm E Bill Beattie says:

    Wm E Beattie
    Looking for information on the Emblem Bros ,
    Norm jr and Gordon / Norman’s Transfer Cornwall
    Ont my E- Mail wmebeattie@ gmail. com
    I retired from Tank Truck Transpt , prior to that I ran freight TO – to Maritimes M O freight lines

  44. Brian Lee Caldwell says:

    To those of you who worked at H. Smith Transport in Montreal in the 60’s and 70’s. I am sad to announce the passing of Jimmy Williamson. Long time dispatcher and operations manager. Jimmy had been ill for a while and passed away Tuesday. He was 90 years old.

  45. Brian Lee Caldwell says:

    More disturbing news. I just found that Keith Andrew Young has passed away in Thailand.

  46. Terry J Leonard says:

    Hello again, since my last post in Aug/16 I haven’t noticed any co-workers post. I am certain that I am not the only surviving Smith/CP Transport left in Atlantic Canada. Please come forward it would be great to hear from you.

  47. Roch Loignon says:

    Hello to all of you.I am Roch Loignon former Terminal Manager in Sherbrooke,Qc. I worked for H Smith Transport, Smith Transport, CP Transport and Cp Express & transport from 1971 to 1991.
    I worked for and with Mr. St Laurent,Norm Emblem, Gord Emblem, John Doucet, Ray Levi , Gaetan Desrosiers , Jim Williamson, George Nicholson etc etc etc and name them. Those 20 years were fantastic and what a team.

    • Brian Lee Caldwell says:

      I remember you, I worked in highway dispatch for Jim Williamson who was my uncle. It has been a long time. Jim passed away a month ago. Gaetan was on facebook but there has been no activity for a couple of years. Don/t know if you remember Keith Young but he was living in Thailand for about 20 years and passed just before Christmas.

    • Brian Lee Caldwell says:

      I wonder if you know whatever happened to Roger Bergevin, He was the TM in Granby around the same time.

  48. Art Philp says:

    Lots of interesting stuff and great memories on this site.
    I began my long career in the transportaion industry with Smith Transport as a city operations clerk on Commissioner St in Toronto in the late 1950’s reporting to the terminal manager Barney Ingelvics, a stint at both bond warehouses, Kennedy Rd working for Vern McCarl, the Queensway working for Earl Blough who had moved from Ft. Erie and who would later be my best man when I married in 64.
    From The Queensway I was moved to the Toronto Sales Dept reporting to Bob Ross and Bill White and about 1 year later was given my own sales territory in North West Toronto. In 1965 I was transferred to Kingston as a District Sales Rep for Belleville [Jack Boyle], Kingston [Eddie Caton], and Brockville [Owen Campbell] terminal districts. John Boxma was our Regional Manager based in Ottawa and Terry Pratt our Division Manager at Belleville. In 1967 I was appointed Teminal Manager at Peterborough and 2 years later in 1969 moved to Belleville as Division Manager following the death of Terry Pratt.
    In 1972 Keith Young and I were both assigned to CP Ships with identical positions as Regional Managers, Inland Transportation. Keith went to the UK with responsibilities for the UK and Continental Europe and I to Montreal with similar responsibilities for North American. Our System Manager who would later become President of CP Ships was non other than the legendary Harold [Doc] Booth, a transportation icon, dear friend, and no-nonsense leader. I resigned from CP in 1973 to persue a career in the Car Transport Industry and retired in 1997
    Happily married for 50 years to a wonderful gal who willingly put up with all the Smith Transport transfers, and now a widower with an amazing family and many many great memories. So sorry to hear of Keith Young’s passing. Fun to read about the Smith family [I remember and met them all] Stories about the fleet and particularly the B51 Macks, we had a field full of them across from headquarters on Commissioner St. – Fond memories of the folks in city dispatch – Blackie Sapiano, Len Gold, Don Munro, Nat Ginsberg, the list goes on and upstairs in accounting were I had a stint under the direction of Art Mauson. Often think of my wonderful staff in the Eastern Ontario Region and an exceptional collection of Terminal Managers.

    • Ellen Weiser says:

      Hi Art. I’m Ellen Weiser, Nat Ginsberg’s daughter. As you may have read in my earlier post, I also worked at Smith’s in the 60s over the summers. I have such great memories of how well the staff treated me! My job description was taking over for whoever went on vacation! I worked in accounting and tracing departments. I remember Barney Ingelvics. I recall working for Jack Skemer and a few of my co-workers i.e. Sharon Banks, Bob Harmon, Byron Dwyer. I also remember Evelyn Armstrong and Ethel Cook (I think I have those names right!).
      Thank you for mentioning my dad. As stated in my comments last year, he passed away at his desk of a heart attack, went to work and never came home. He was a very loyal and dedicated employee for 32 years. There was a memorial award in his name given to the driver/employee who best exemplified my father’s dedication and work ethic.
      It was a pleasure to read your posting and those of everyone here who are a part of the Smith Transport family!

    • Ellen Weiser says:

      Hi Art. I typed a reply to your posting but it didn’t show up on the blog so I’m trying to recall what I wrote! Thank you for mentioning my father. I’m Nat Ginsberg’s daughter. He worked at Smith’s from 1950 until 1982. He passed away at his desk at work. He was a very loyal and dedicated employee. Soon after his passing, a memorial award was created and given to the driver/employee who best exemplified my father’s work ethic.
      I also remember Barney Ingelvics. I worked the summers in the 60s. I also recall some of my co-workers; Byron Dwyer, Sharon Banks, Evelyn Armstrong and my supervisor, Jack Skemer.
      Again thank you for remembering my father. Smith Transport was an important part of his life and mine as well.

  49. Roger Crowe says:

    My father, Horace Crowe, worked for Moffatt’s, CP Express and Transport, and Interlink in both Truro and Dartmouth, NS from the mid 1970s until the shut down of Interlink. He worked as a mechanic and a P&D driver in both communities.

  50. Gary Bruce says:

    My grandfather Edwin Meecham worked for Smith Transport on Commissioners Street I believe for several years from the 50s until 1975. He was so proud to be a Smith Transport driver (Smitty Transport as he would say). I know he was part of the million miles club (1 million miles without an accident). I was about 7 when he retired and he passed away in 1995. It would mean a lot if anyone has specific memories they could share. My grandfather was a real character so I’m sure there were many stories back in the day my young ears missed.

  51. Ellen Weiser says:

    Hi Art. I typed a reply to your posting but it didn’t show up on the blog so I’m trying to recall what I wrote! Thank you for mentioning my father. I’m Nat Ginsberg’s daughter. He worked at Smith’s from 1950 until 1982. He passed away at his desk at work. He was a very loyal and dedicated employee. Soon after his passing, a memorial award was created and given to the driver/employee who best exemplified my father’s work ethic.
    I also remember Barney Ingelvics. I worked the summers in the 60s. I also recall some of my co-workers; Byron Dwyer, Sharon Banks, Evelyn Armstrong and my supervisor, Jack Skemer.
    Again thank you for remembering my father. Smith Transport was an important part of his life and mine as well.

  52. Eric Schwarz says:

    I wonder if anyone remembers my Dad, Herbert Schwarz? He was the nightshift supervisor at Commissioner’s Street for 35 years. It was his first job in Canada after immigrating from Germany and he stayed there until he retired (some time in the late 90s).

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