do you remember

Feb 11, 2012

This photo was submitted by Neil Bishop, a Gander Academy student and later Gander Collegiate grad, who agreed to share some of his dad’s photos on our website. Neil’s dad, C.D. Bishop was an amateur photographer and his son Neil is hoping that his photos will bring back memories of events and people of old time Gander.

A big welcome to our newest contributor to the site, Neil Bishop. He and his wife Betty (Bowering) who now live in Halifax N.S.

photo by C.D. Bishop

Hello Faye, I remember the day well, it was the official opening of Bennett Motors. Started by Bill Bennett, who lived on Elizabeth Drive, and later went on to start Gander Aviation out of Deadman's Pond.

Bill passed away a few years back but was a legend in bush flying and outfitting. He had several fly-in fishing and hunting camps in Newfoundland and Labrador. Anyway about the Garage site, it was the exact location where the Irving Service Station is now, directly across from where the Hotel Gander is now.. The TCH was a dirt road then.

Bennett Motors also sold appliances. It is likely we are all in that picture somewhere, my Mother won or somehow ended up taking home one of those old coffee percolators, you know the one where the coffee bubbles up in the glass cover. It was a big deal for Gander at the time.
         Keith Lacey, GC Class of 1964


Cars are great calendars.

These little kids are getting into being geezers and geezerettes while the older people are filling up our cemeteries or at least our old folks homes.
Keep 'em comin'.
         Clarence Dewling, Teacher at GA 1957 era…


I was at Bennett's opening that day and I remember it being exciting with so many people but I did not see myself in the picture.  It seems to me that they were giving away candy but it is also possible that there were prizes given out also.  I wish I could remember more about that day. 

I don't see anyone who looks familiar.  The car up front and centre looks like Dad's car in 1954.
         Carmel LeMay 

That Bennett's Esso was owned & operated by Bill Bennett, as I remember,  then it went to City Motors & Irving..
         Eileen Keiley Stack, SJ Class of 1956=57


I can't remember if I was at the Garage opening or not but I may have been.

As far a Bill Bennett goes I talked to him about every second day that I worked in the Tower at the Airport because he would fly in and out from Deadman's Pond. I also flew with him on occasion to go fishing and some joy rides and he was a character. Didn't care about regulations just went where and whenever he wanted to go and always made up an excuse such as equipment problems or whatever.

My Dad was a pilot as well so it made us have something in common .I liked Bill because he was a good all round guy.
         Glenn Blandford, GC Class of 1965 (Welcome aboard Glenn, another new contributor to our efforts here)


Re: The photo of the gas station - I didn't realize the one across from present Hotel Gander was first Bennett's - I can only recall it as City Motors and now, of course, it is Irving Oil.  What was the year it opened?

The cars date it to be around '56 which would mean that it could be in town - but, the only Esso station in town at that time was Hickman's, wasn't it? Actually, I can't remember a Bennett's garage - the only Bennett that had a business in town was Bill Bennett and he was into flying - years before that he was into car sales on the American side - General Motors - Chevies - if I remember correctly?

At Hickman's I used to get 50 cents worth of gas - sometimes $1.00 if I were flush with cash - to drive around all night in a V8 Meteor.

Great times.
         Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959

I note Ron Mosher commented. I also lived in Building # 50 and can recall Ron telling us young guys stories much like his play stories (on this site).
         Tom Philpott, SP Class of 1967


I also recall that Lorretta Smith was the first in my group of friends to obtain her license.  With Loretta as driver, we would get a gallon of gas for .50 and drive around town all evening, including to the Cemetery to see  who was parked there!!
         Marion Pardy, GA Class of 1958


And, Marion, I dare say often you saw my father's Meteor parked at the cemetery and it wasn't him in the car. :-)
         Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959


I knew Bill Bennett well. I didn’t know that was his garage though. I remember it as City Motors, and just a bit of trivia, Neil Bridger’s father worked there until after Neil’s death, when he opened a little pub up on McCurdy Drive.
         Dennis Pritchett, GA Class of 1963

I remember a very poignant experience from there when I was around 15 or 16. It was a November 11 Remembrance Day Parade which ended at the Legion in that area.  A lot of people were around - the Legionnaires were all there in their regalia - the last post was sounded - there was the moment of silence - the last prayer and invocation was given - then everyone started moving away and chatting and laughing.  

The day was kind of cold and wet with mud puddles everywhere.  Edgar Baird came walking by me with a couple of other guys in their grey trousers and blue blazers talking and laughing. There was a small Union Jack flag on the ground in a mud puddle that someone had dropped.  Edgar said - "Just a minute" - and stopped talking and moved away from the men - stooped down - picked up the flag - shook the mud and water off and said - "too many men gave too much for this for it to be left there like that."  

I never forgot it.  

And, my respect for Edgar rose high that day.  I had known him ever since I was small because his saw mill was just down from Building 50 on the railway tracks and my father often did work for him in repairs at the DOT machine shop in Hangar 13.

Funny, huhh - how memories are sparked?
         Ron Mosher, GA Class of 1959


Yes Faye:

It is indeed that same location but of course, Hotel Gander had yet to be built.  I think most of the town was there as I believe it was the first gas station to be built in the new townsite.  It was mid to late fifties I suspect as the range of vehicles goes from '40's to about late '50's.  My wife and I have found both our Mothers and siblings there.  I was with Dad as he took the picture from the back of a truck
         Neil Bishop, GC Class of 1966.

Thankyou everyone, and again, it is nice to have some new voices, old pictures and great memories to share with everyone who cares about Gander NL. Any further comments on this or any other topic, be sure to contact me, Faye Lewis Raynard, GA Class of 1959,





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