13 March 2010

Winnie identified? CCM-made Garry bicycles

You remember Nicki's 1950s CCM-made bike (Winnie), which doesn't have a CCM chainwheel? Instead it has a cloverleaf chainwheel, similar to the one you see on some Schwinns but with 4 ovals instead of 4 circles:
I think I might have sussed out why: she's a CCM-made Garry bicycle, manufactured for J.H. Ashdown Hardware of Winnipeg. Yup, Winnipeg. So her name is ever so appropriate!

Here's how I figured it out:

This headbadge, with the rivet holes on the sides like the CCM badges have, is up for auction on eBay. It reads:
J.H. Ashdown Hardware Co.  
Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, & Edmonton
No bidding on it, collectors, we're determined to snag it for Nicki!

A search on Garry bicycles turned up this thread on CCM bikes, which mentions that Canada Cycle & Motor Co. was the manufacturer for Garry bicycles. {Aside: It also mentions that Daniel Massey (founder of Massey-Harris, one of the companies that was a progenitor of CCM) was a brother of actor Raymond Massey - who I'm supposedly distantly related to! I'll have to follow that trail and see if the family connection with CCM is real.}

The search for Garry bicycles also turned up these three Flikr photos of a blue Garry loop-frame bike in hard shape. The photos aren't very high resolution, and are taken from the wrong side of the bike, but the chainwheel looks just like Winnie's! And so does the frame, right down to the attachment of the chainguard!

(for comparison with the Flikr photos)

Bike pron: closeup of the way the chainguard is mounted to Winnie's frame. 

A full history of the J.H. Ashdown Hardware Company and its proprietor's huge role in the early years of the city of Winnipeg can be found on the Manitoba Historical Society website. At their height they had retail shops and wholesale warehouses in every city in the Canadian Prairies. "Garry" would refer to Fort Garry, the fur-trading fort that was the first European settlement in the area.