PMCL Corporate History Continued...

Two years later Albert added a new seven-passenger sedan, a truck, a winter bus, a sleigh, a team of horses and a snow plough. It is interesting to note that at this time, snow removal was not the responsibility of the Department of Highways and when winter set in, Albert often had to plough his own roads with a team of horses or use the horses to pull the "snow bus" to make the scheduled runs between Penetang and Midland. A later modification consisted of a Model T Ford bus with dual wheels at the rear and sleigh runners at the front to negotiate the high drifts.

Not only did Albert have to plough his own road, but during those first years he had to be chief driver, head mechanic, bookkeeper and president of the company. His versatility and commitment paid off and his business remained a success.

 

[OLD PMCL BUS SCHEDULE ] While 1929 brought the Great Depression, unemployment and breadlines, PMCL was issued one of the first public vehicle operating licenses, No. 42, which allowed them to run between Penetang and Midland which they still retain today. It was at this time that the Ontario Government had proclaimed the Public Vehicles Act and PMCL had to operate service under these provisions. Each vehicle had to be equipped with interior lights if it had a covered top. As well, there had to be a working speedometer, a spare tire, skid chains and brakes which could lock the wheels at a speed of 10 mph. Also, drivers had to be of "good moral character," could not smoke or drink while working,
nor could the work more than 10 hours on a shift or allow passengers to ride the running board.

In 1938, with the country emerging from the Depression, Albert Dubeau died at age 42. In the wake of his death, he left behind his wife, Irene, nine children ranging from 2 to 19 years of age and a depleted inventory of two worn coaches worth no more than $500.00 each. Irene, determined that her husband’s work would not be in vain, made the decision to continue running the company with her four sons, Laval, Bernard, Lomar, and Murray. Together they reorganized the company and worked as a team. The Dubeau’s managed to keep the operation afloat during the difficult period of World War II. At the time, Irene Dubeau was the only woman in Canada to operate a licensed bus line. Irene’s judgment and perseverance paid off and over the next the ten years as PMCL grew into a fleet of 13 coaches and their service was extended to include Port McNicholl, Victoria Harbour, Waubaushene, Coldwater and Orillia.

In 1947, Laval Dubeau initiated a local Municipal Transit System funded exclusively by his company. By virtue of provincial capital and operating subsidies, the Municipality of the Town of Midland purchased new vehicles and selected PMCL to be the operator. Today, PMCL still remains the Town’s sole operator of Transit Services.

[GRAND OPENING OF PMCL MIDLAND TERMINAL]The year 1948 was a definite milestone for PMCL as it marked the official opening of its present terminal in Midland. The keynote of all the speeches was the faith that Irene Dubeau had shown in erecting the terminal.

"I have nothing but praise and admiration for Mrs. Dubeau, who might have chosen a lot of other things to do with her money," said Oliver H. Smith, then Mayor of Midland. "Instead of investing in other fields, selling out or otherwise assuring herself of an easy time for the rest of her days, she has shown her faith in the Midland-Penetang community by going ahead with this fine building."

When asked to say a few words herself, Mrs. Dubeau said, "It is the realization of all my dreams." She then paid tribute to the part played by her four sons, Laval, Lomer, Bernard and Murray saying, "I couldn’t have managed without the help of the children." Laval was also commended by Mr. Smith for his dedication in establishing the Midland terminal. Mr. Smith went on to say, "When his father died, some ten years ago, Laval was only a lad of 18 and a big load was placed upon his young shoulders. All of us know how well he has succeeded."

[PMCL MIDLAND TERMINAL]The opening of the new terminal created a strong between PMCL and the community of Midland. Midland merchants, at the time, saw transportation to be the lifeblood of any community and considered Midland to be very fortunate to have the transportation service that it had at the current time. One local merchant went on to say,

"The Dubeau family are the pioneers of the transportation service in this district. The cheerful and cooperative spirit shown by the owners and employees of the bus company are greatly appreciated by the merchants of Midland."

In 1953, the company was incorporated under the laws of the Province of Ontario and the operative word for PMCL was "Expansion." The key to any future growth had to be the expansion of transportation services out and beyond their immediate area. The management team pointed out communities that were not receiving adequate bus service and the company would apply to the Ontario Highway Transport Board to get authority to operate routes into these communities. PMCL’s ultimate aim was to link Penetang and Midland and the surrounding communities with Metropolitan Toronto.

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