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April 3rd, 2010
McMorran's Beach House
End of an Era!!

~ organized by Dave & Becky Rogers


The day after a terrific storm, the likes Victorians hadn't seen since the big storm of 2006, the McMorran Family hosted an Open House on Saturday, April 3rd, 2010.  After almost 90 years in business, the Cordova Bay landmark closed its doors for the last time on Sunday, April 4th, 2010. Hot dogs and ice cream were served on the upper terrace, with donations accepted for Santas Anonymous. For those interested in dancing, the Bob Morrison Orchestra played in the Lookout Room.  Antique, classic and collectable cars were invited to join the celebration and approximately 45 cars participated in a much-appreciated car show. McMorrans03

After lunch, members of the VCCC Victoria Chapter followed the restored Saanich Police car and Saanich Fire truck (see below for more details), on a leisurely tour out to the Extended Care Facility at Saanich Peninsula Hospital, and then back to Royal Oak to show off to the residents of The Lodge at Broadmead.

Thanks to Dave and Becky Rogers for all their work in liaising with Wallace McMorran to organize the car show, and for planning and executing a well-run road tour (not a parade!). Rogers

Dinner 1

In the evening, twenty-one members of the Victoria Chapter returned to McMorran's to enjoy one last dinner. Thanks to Terry Seward for spearheading this dinner and organizing us once again.

Dinner 2 Dinner 3

Some McMorran History .....

George McMorran was just two years old when his father brought the family to Vancouver Island in 1890 from Ontario.  His father had applied for, and won the job as foreman for Robert Rithet to clear land of timber at his Broadmead farm.  The McMorrans lived in a farmhouse on Rithet’s land for nine years, and once the job was completed they moved to a 12-acre home on Cedar Hill Road.  The family also spent many of their summers on the beach at Cordova Bay, a popular area for beach cottages.

At the age of 21, in 1909, George went into partnership with a man named Dougall to form a real estate company which was known as Dougall & McMorran.  The two men began to purchase and then sub-divide land in the area of today’s Doumac Avenue in Cordova Bay.  Unfortunately real estate took a down turn in 1912 and the company was dissolved.  Later, George went off to war, serving as gunner from 1914-18.  Not quite knowing what to do with his life upon his return, a friend suggested he should ‘open up a store.’  A one-room, 6 x12 feet ice cream parlor on Cordova Bay Road was the result, and just the beginning of great things to come.  In 1921 he erected a larger building next door and called it McMorran’s Tea Rooms.  Eventually, this establishment became famous for the dances held there every Saturday night.

In 1923, George married schoolteacher, Ida Richards, and the couple had four children: Eric, Bruce, Richard and David.  In 1926, George became the first postmaster in Cordova Bay and he was also responsible for bringing in most of the utilities and services to the area.  Upon George’s retirement from the business, sons Eric and Bruce took over, updating and expanding McMorran’s.  George himself died in 1978, and today the McMorran Beach House is a landmark building along Cordova Bay Road, having remained family owned and operated for over 80 years.

(Excerpts from Saanich News, Jan.2006 by Valerie Green)

Saanich Police car:  1946 Monarch
         1946 was a low production year and there are very few of this particular model in existence.  Running gear is original with a flathead V8 engine and a column shift standard transmission.
         The car was restored with the help of Larry Henry, who was the Saanich Police Mechanic, until his retirement.  Camosun College students painted the car and the interior was re-done by Tommy's Upholstery.

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