George Massey fonds - Fonds Description

Title George Massey fonds
Description Level Fonds
Fonds No. CR-131
Creator George Massey
Material Type cartographic material
graphic material
textual record
Date Range 1930 - 1959
History/Biographical Nehemiah George Massey was born in Courtown Harbour, Gorey County, Wexford, Ireland on September 15, 1903. George went to sea on his father's ship 'Courtown Lass' at the age of 13 yrs. as a cook's mate and then as a bosun's mate at the age of 15. George continued to follow a career as a ship's mate and captain sailing to many parts of the world. When George's father was lost at sea at the age of 49 yrs, George returned home to Ireland to help his mother raise his four brothers and four sisters. Being a loyalist in Ireland meant that George was under suspicion for being a member of the I.R.A. and was advised by his uncle to flee the country and signed him onto the steam ship 'Matilda' in Liverpool, England which set sail to Halifax in 1922. George jumped ship to conceal himself from the 'Sinn Fein' and arrived in Halifax. George got a job working in a logging camp near Plaster Rock, New Brunswick. He then worked his way across Canada working as a harvester on various farms and ended up working for 'Poole Construction' in Regina, Saskatchewan. During this period in 1925, he upgraded himself as a mechanic by taking courses at night school. George met and married his first wife, Doris Holtham who was originally from Derby, England. They had 2 children, Doreen Patricia and Douglas George and resided in Regina. While living in Regina, George started his own business ' Massey's Garage' where he built his own auto wrecker. One of his hobbies while residing in Regina was building and racing his own speed boat, that he named ' Patricia'. During the depression in 1936, George decided to load up his family, his boat and his tow truck and headed west where he stopped in Ladner. The family rented their first house on Bridge Street in Ladner and George became the operator of the Union Gas Station. Tragedy struck when George's wife, Doris died from severe burns while stoking the fireplace. The community came to the family's aid and through the 'Rebekah Lodge', George met and married Lila Florence Dennis who helped with the care of his children. Lila was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. George Dennis of Ladner. George purchased property on the waterfront on Chisholm Street where he set up a small shipyard and repair shop naming it, 'Massey's Machine Shop' where he serviced the local gillneter fleet. Soon after, George purchased the adjacent property to the east which was formerly owned by Len Kirkland of 'Delta Freight Lines'. George repaired many gill netters and other boats at his marine shop over the years. George created a marine railway out of the old ferry landing to help haul boats up to 60 ft long, out of the water for repair.George continued with his hobby of building, modifying and racing his speed boat winning many prizes. Some of his other hobbies included fly and spin fishing, bird hunting, vegetable gardening, playing his accordian, making 8 mm films with his own camera and working as a volunteer fireman ( firefighter). Over the years, George conveyed his vision and frustration over the need for improved transportation between Delta and the lower mainland. George documented many of the problems concerning the local ferry transportation between Ladner and Woodward's landing and after reading an engineering article on the Maas River Tunnel in Holland, he was convinced this was the way to go. In 1942, he contacted the company Christiani Nielsen Engineering of Denmark who were responsible for the Maas River Tunnel and they offered to send an engineer to do a feasability study. He was the first chairman of the Tunnel Committee in 1947 to gather interested citizens to form a new association 'The Lower Fraser River Crossing Improvement Association'. The first directors of the association were Sam Cory as president,George Massey as vice president, Paul Dirks, Clarence F. Taylor, Grover Erickson, and W.B.Knickerbrocker. The objectives of the association were to improve the crossing facilities of the lower Fraser River at Ladner, to procure better ferry service from Ladner to Richmond, and to stimulate interest in and to promote a bridge or tunnel crossing of the lower Fraser River. Membership was extended to any one interested in the objectives of the association and had approximately 500 members until the completion of the tunnel. George took the initiative up with passion to promote a tunnel crossing at the Deas Island location and did many seminars to help promote this idea throughout the lower mainland, helping to convince levels of government, community groups and concerned citizens to help back the intiative. His efforts paid off and in March 1956, the contract to build a tunnel was granted to the Foundation of Canada Engineering Corporation Ltd. ( incorporated by Christiani and Neilson) and the tunnel was completed and opened in 1959. With his notority and support of many individuals and organizations within Delta, George was elected as a Social Credit M.L.A. in Delta from 1956 to 1960. George enjoyed observing the construction from start to completion and even created his own documentation using his 8 mm camera. A plaque was erected for the official opening of the Deas Island Tunnel in 1959 which read ' This plaque erected by the Citizens of the Corporation of the Township of Richmond in recognition of Mr. N. George Massey, MLA whose co operative efforts assisted greatly in making this tunnel a reality.' George paid the last toll for the tunnel in 1964 and died just days following this event at 60 yrs of age,on April 8, 1964. As a tribute the man who was instrumental in the building of the tunnel, the tunnel was renamed as The George Massey Tunnel on October 26, 1967.
Custodial History Records were either created by George Massey or in his personal collection over the course of his life and inherited by his son, Doug Massey and donated to the Delta Museum and Archives between 2007 - 2012.
Scope & Content The collection consists of photographs, correspondance, diagrams and textual records created and or collected by George Massey over the course of his life in Delta and Saskatchewan. Records refer to his business, hobbies, interests and family life while he resided in Regina and Ladner. Many records refer to George's committment to the implementation of a tunnel crossing between Richmond and Ladner and his involvement with the Lower Fraser River Crossing Improvement Association. Maps and diagrams published by the Geological Survey of Canada about the geomorphology and tidal action at the mouth of the Fraser River (reproduced "to accompany a report by W.A. Johnson"), a hand painted canvas map about "Proposed New Fraser River Tunnel and North Arm Crossing", and a publication "The Tides and Tidal Streams" by the Department of Naval Service, Ottawa.
Related Material See also Lower Fraser River Crossing Improvement Association fonds, CR-88 for other records relating to the George Massey tunnel and Doug Massey collection CR-
Accession No. 1983-254
Name Access George Massey Tunnel ; Massey Family ; Massey's Machine Shop ; Massey, George ; Massey, Mrs. George
Subject Access Tunnels ; Fishing boats ; Boats ; transportation

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