Cape Breton's Magazine

> Issue 52 > Page 84 - Charlie MacDonald, Taxicab Driver

Page 84 - Charlie MacDonald, Taxicab Driver

Published by Ronald Caplan on 1989/8/1 (141 reads)

Briand's. It was me that put Joe Briand on the road anyhow in '38. I gave it to Joe-- contract. And Joe said. "Well, I'll take it if you'll come with me." So I went with Joe, and I was still with Briand's until last fall! Charlie laughs. (But when you started, you were on your own.) On my own. (Were there other taxi drivers in Sydney?) Yeah, but they weren't allowed out at the airport. Only myself. Up until 1950, and then Briand's took it over. And there was still only Briand's that could go there. (But here in the city, each taxi driver was on his own.) No, no. Mine were, up until '50. Mine would park at the hotel and they'd take a job. Well, I was paying them a weekly wage anyhow. (You say "mine"....) I had 5 cabs: 2 limousines and 3 small cars. (When did that start?) It started in '37. '38. (How did you do that?) Well, wartime com? ing up too. And Air Canada getting bigger flights. They went from 11- to 22- passenger. And then they went to 40. You'd have to send two limousines and probably two cabs out. One for express and mail, and then the two limousines, and then a spare for overload. See, after '50, they were asking for a lot. (What did you call your company?) I had the card here: "Charlie MacDonald, Isle Royale Taxi and Airport Limousine." That's what I was registered as. (If you had 5 vehicles, that meant you had a lot more than 5 people working, didn't you?) No. We all used to run--split the 24. I went around the clock with a limou? sine. I'd get home for an hour or two. I had a phone at my bed. And I knew when the flights were coming in. Except when Gander would go down. And Lord God, there'd be probably a dozen foreign aircrafts come in. And crew wanting to come to Sydney; * QUALITY SAME-DAY DRY CLEANING * 6 DAYS A WEEK * Vogue Cleaners Wedding Gown Cleaning & Heiriooming a Specialty GLACE BAY • SYDNEY some passengers wanting to come to Sydney. And wait overnight, and go back out in the next morning and so forth. I used to be running half the night. (You were just always on limousine.) Al? ways on the limousine. And I had another two drivers. He'd work 10 and 12, and the other fellow'd work 10 and 12. And then the three little cars, well, they used to work 10 hours or 20 hours, and then off for 10 hours. We all worked it, you know, we cooperated together, did everything to help one another. (I take it you did more than just serve the airlines.) Oh yeah, we did the cab work at the Isle Royale. (Would people call and you'd go to their homes to pick them up? Was that service available?) That was--my last stop was the Isle Royale to the airport. If you lived in town and your wife drove you--not to the airport, that's too far and the road's bad--drive you to the Isle Royale, and I'd pick you up there and take you to the air? port. That would cost you $2. And if I went and picked you up, it'd be $2.50. I used to pick up in North Sydney, Sydney Mines, and Baddeck, and St. Peters, Haw? kesbury. (To take them to Sydney Airport.) Sydney Airport. They were flying in and out from the United States. And most of it was the people dying, that their daughters and sons were away in the States, and they were coming home for the funeral. Well, of course, the United States was further advanced than Canada at that time, you know. The '40s. And they'd get a flight down, right through coming-- Montreal, and then Moncton, and then Syd? ney. Well, I'd meet the flight, and this couple would get off: two ladies dressed in black, and so forth, I said, "Another funeral. Wonder where." I'd ask them where. "Driver, we're sorry, but"--this would be probably wintertime. You know, it's all right in the summer.... "We have to get home to see Mother at St. Peters. Do you know where that is? Before she dies." That's why they were dressed in black, in case she was dead. And they were Your Prestige Florist for Quality and Service Ashby Nurseries Piummer Ave. /a. NEW WATERFORD m 862-3374 "Call on us for free consultation to make your wedding perfect!" Midway Motors Ltd. Now with Two Locations: HEAD OFFICE '|' NEW OFFICE Middle River %r' Port Hastings 295-2290 625-3641 We've Been CHRYSLER Since 192 6 EASTERN HEAT PUMPS LIMITED 102 REEVES STREET, SYDNEY 564-4141 Air Source - Water Source Residential and Commercial Heat Pumps and Air Conditioning Systems DESIGN - ENGINEERING - INSTALLATION - SERVICE - FEATURING CARRIER HIGH-EFFICIENCY HEATING AND COOLING EQUIPMENT
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