Hi there, Gary the gas pump here. Ian Wilson tells me that most of his Secret of the Old Swing Bridge readers won’t have seen a White Rose gas station. Or an old pump like me (thanks to Keith Clark of Hamilton for taking such a great portrait). So, Wilson wants me to fill you in on a bit of background.
Okay, see my condition today? I used to look like this in my working days at the White Rose station in Washago. That was until the main highway through town was re-routed around the town in 1955. That emblem shows my location in 1960. You can see where the old swing bridge used to be, but that's another story.
My owner held on for a while selling gasoline to local people, but with the highway traffic gone, he went out of business. Then I went to the scrap heap and rusted for 40 years. I won’t show you what I looked like then… it wasn’t pretty.
What was White Rose gasoline? I am proud to say that it was the brand of the Canadian Oil Companies, almost 100% Canadian-owned in the 1950s. There were White Rose stations all across Canada, except in British Columbia. You can see one here, with the “question mark” shaped sign post. And here is one of my lucky friends, a metal signs rescued from one of those stations.
Shell Canada gobbled us up in the early 1960s, and that was the end of the story for the magnificent Canadian Oil Companies and our beloved symbol.
Before I quit and take your questions, here is something you kids will like, which I remember fondly. For quite a few years, until about 1953, the White Rose stations still used this “boy-with-slate” fellow. He even used to be on the signs until I took his place in 1938. Then, what do you know, he kept popping up everywhere around me, keeping me company. Oil cans, road maps, advertising, you name it. He and I were great buddies.He was the brand of the National Refining Company of Cleveland, Ohio (ENARCO), which owned the White Rose stations in Canada until 1938.
Now, about Washago. In case you were wondering, here is what the old White Rose station looks like in 2010. That was when Angus Wolfe had his memorable adventure up here. You can see the old service bay on the left (where Carl and Billy work). There was a snack bar inside. I stood on a pump island out front with a mate of mine, like these two relatives to the right. I wonder if my old mate survives too?