A History of the History

Follow the Crowd John A. McKenty - Vintage CCM

A few years ago, I was doing some research for a book about the James brothers, George and Lawrence, who operated the local hardware store in my hometown of Perth, Ontario. As I did so, I kept coming across these neat old newspaper ads for CCM bikes, skates and hockey equipment as the store was the authorized dealer for CCM in this area. 

The ads brought back a lot of memories and I decided I should learn more about CCM since it was such a large part of the James brothers’ operation. As I set out to do so, I was surprised to learn that the only existing history of the company was one commissioned by CCM itself in 1946 as part of its 50th anniversary. Ironically, it turned out it wasn’t really a history and, in fact, it wasn’t really the company’s 50th anniversary (unless you count the four years that Walter Massey operated a bicycle factory as part of the Massey-Harris company in Toronto). 

Although Jaroslav Petryshyn's book, Made Up to a Standard, did  a wonderful job of telling the story of the Russell Motor Car Co., which was an integral part of the CCM operation (and vice-versa), it was only part of the story.

And so my search continued. It took me to Toronto to talk to Tom Nease who once ran CCM, and Gordon Chard, who worked there for thirty nine years, as well as noted bicycle enthusiast and historian Lorne Shields. It took me to numerous libraries and archives and newspaper files, as well as the Canada Science & Technology Museum in Ottawa. Along the way, I’ve met countless collectors, including Don Farmer and Ken Martin, and I’ve picked up more bicycles and CCM memorabilia than I care to admit for fear my wife should read this. 

Recently I published what I learned along the way in a book entitled: Canada Cycle & Motor: The CCM Story. It traces the history of the company from its formation in 1899 until its eventual demise in 1983. By no means is it the final word on CCM. In fact, it is but the beginning and that’s the reason for "Vintage CCM". It is my hope that this website will provide a place for everyone to add a word or two and a few photos of their own about CCM. For, in the end, it will take everyone to tell the whole story. 

Welcome and enjoy.