35 Years of History
In 1979 my father fulfilled his dream of starting his own garage business after having worked for more than 25 years in the field. Beyond just constructing a building, he focused his energy on building a reputation of honest work for good value. That ethos has remained to this day as we celebrate more than 35 years of serving Victoria’s automotive needs. After adding a 4th bay to the shop I feel like it is time to take a look back at Parkside Motors’ humble beginnings.
The original 519 Ellice St. Property was an estate sale. The realtor was Len Stephenson who became Parkside’s first customer and faithfully remained one till his passing 20 years later.
Purchased in 1978, Dad did alot of his own work. He conscripted the whole family to partake in the demolition of the house every evening and all weekend long.
When it was all done, Dad went to City Hall to obtain a building permit for the garage. The clerk said that wasn’t possible as there was still a house on the property that hadn’t gotten a demo permit yet. My Dad simply replied. “Oh that’s already Gone!” He often ran on the seat of his pants… These photos show the original building and a look at its demolition.
Construction was done by Luney Construction. There was much discussion about design and size, but budget dictated most of the decisions. As with many other things in life, hindsight is 20/20 and we now wish we could have set the building way farther back.
As the other buildings beside us began to be built, they all appear to have the same setback, so there may have been a bylaw forcing this placement.
Contruction was just about done and one question remained: What do we call this new enterprise? Brouwer and Sons? Dick’s Automotive? Ellice Automotive was already taken and is still in business a few blocks away. Dad was the one who came up with the final idea.
And so Parkside Motors was established May 1979. With Dad and youngest son Dick starting off as the first employed there. I was invited to come but said that they should build up a client base for a year before they have another mouth to feed.
Let’s take a look at the interior. It has changed quite a bit over the years.
The interior was sparse and so was our equipment and inventory. We had one used in-ground two-post hoist installed at the time of construction and another one installed a few years later. There was no upper Mezzanine and no skylights.
There aren’t any photos readily at hand to show the additional bay was built some years later, about 1984. It was built by two fellows, Harry and Conrad and once again hindsight would have perhaps added a third bay behind instead of beside. A third two-post electric hoist was installed yet another number of years later in 1990.
This is modern day Parkside Motors, and you can click through to see some of the exterior changes over the years. Another facelift was done in 2010 in a different colour scheme changing a previous exterior renovation in 1995.
The biggest change is the loss of the park for which our company name was inspired by. Standing in its stead is a homeless shelter. Despite fears in the community of what kind of impact it would have in our neighbourhood, it has been a very good relationship with the staff of Rock Bay Landing these past years!
2015 saw another expansion to Parkside Motors in the form of an exterior 4th hoist added between the second and third interior bays. Building on the success of our apprentices and a constantly busy schedule in the shop, we decided to add a bay outside giving our clients the fastest turnaround possible. We love to nurture mechanical talent through our apprenticeship program, and love passing on to the next generation the wisdom and experience that we have.
Interior Reno 2017
The interior of the shop has not had a single update since it was first built in the 1970′s. We like to keep to things that are necessary, functional, and best help us serve our customers. At the start of 2017, however, after over 40 year, we decided it was time for a bit of an interior renovation.
Over the holiday break, we had a great team of cabinets makers come in to remove all of our old wall fixtures and replace them with these incredible units. The electrical was modified to fit the new hardware, and our existing gear was mounted into place in and around the new fixtures.
The next time you are in the shop be sure to pop in for a look, it is a wonderful addition to our humble shop.