Locke Bay, Gabriola Island

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THE HISTORY OF THE T&T TEXACO

ON

GABRIOLA ISLAND

T and T TEXACO GABRIOLA ISLAND  

MANY PEOPLE RESIDING ON GABRIOLA ISLAND TODAY ARE UNAWARE OF THE CONTRIBUTION THAT THE T&T TEXACO MADE TO THE QUALITY OF LIFE ENJOYED BY GABRIOLANS FOR 40 YEARS.

                                                                               

The T&T was originally started by Ted James and Ted Eastom. Ted Eastom later sold his stake out to Syd Skinner. Ted James lived with Syd and his family in house next door that had originally been the post office run byReverend Taylor.

Before the arrival of the Liquor Store and Credit Union the T&T would cash cheques including third party.  I am aware of more than one occasion that Syd cashed post dated cheques when personal emergencies arose. Some locals had liquor picked up in town when Syd made runs to town. Many Islanders had accounts for stove oil, gasoline and vehicle repairs.

Often on your way home one might stop for gas and a drink and a large dose of local news on your way home. Some mornings the station door would still be open from the previous evening with cash and tools still in place.

Since there was no police station the RCMP made a regular visit on Wednesday afternoon. Some residents had less than road worthy vehicles or possibly no license plates so Ted or Syd would give you a heads up when they RCMP arrived unexpectedly on a call.

                                                

On a nice day you could often drive by the T&T and see Syd, Ted and Bob Wardrup sitting on an old car seat in front of the station next to the coke machine drinking beer and shooting the breeze with who ever stopped by for the latest news.

Syd or Ted would run down to the ferry to pick up parts the ferry crew would bring over from Nanaimo. Usually Syd would just hop in a car that was at the station. Once to his surprise the car was in for a much needed brake job. The ferry was just unloading when Syd came roaring down the hill just managing to turn up Eastom Rd without hitting any one or anything.

Before the RDN removed and crushed the abandoned cars and trucks on the old logging roads Ted James new the location of all the vehicles for spare parts to save customers money. The T&T also had a collection of parts cars that lots of people obtained parts off when doing their own repairs.

 

                                                                         

Thanks to Raymond Skinner, Syds son for straightening out the facts of the next story for me.

During a Teamsters strike Syd made the weekly Wednesday dangerous cargo run for fuel. The Teamsters picked at the ferry trestle entrances prohibiting fuel truck access, arrangements were made to take the fuel truck on an evening run instead of waiting for the next Wednesday dangerous cargo run. Years ago the overloads could be for 2 or 3 ferries so many locals would go to the Queens Hotel returning to move their cars ahead as the next ferry departed. Syd would have lots of company while waiting that afternoon. When it came time for Syd to load the fuel truck he was refused since the ferry crew had a shift change and the new Captain would not allow Syd to cross the picket line so Syd parked the fuel truck on the front of the ramp and decided that if he wasn’t going that no one was going to go. Syd didn’t get home until after a night at the Nanaimo lockup but he had taken the keys to the truck with him. Since no one could get on the ferry with the truck on the ramp the ferry returned to Gabriola to get Ted James to come and move the truck. The truck was still not allowed to board so Syd returned the next day to explain that he intended to do the same thing if not allowed to board. This time cooler heads prevailed.

I’m not sure how many driverless vehicles departed the post office but there were many damaging the gas station and vehicles. Our family had a Volkswagon Beetle totaled at the gas pumps while my wife and daughter were in paying the fuel oil bill. Syd thanked us later for saving the pumps. Another time Ted James had just crawled out from under a vehicle by the house when the vehicle he was repairing was hit knocking it off the jacks. Large rocks were placed along the Post Office parking lot to stop the runaways.