The Museum has on record an extensive interview with Eric Clay, the son of the original owner and builder of the Metchosin Corner Store, thanks to Janice (Bligh) Poulin’s forethought to record his stories.
Eric Clay was a committed history buff and left a generous legacy to the Sooke Museum and Metchosin Museum Societies.
In 1930 William Clay and his family built the small store and two-bedroom home on land purchased from Bob Witty. It was named the William Head Service Station and carried groceries, cigarettes and candy. The single gas pump carried “Indian 76” which sold for “two bits a gallon.”
Eric recalled pumping the gas at age 10.
“You had to pump it up into the top (of the pump) there, and then put the hose in the tank, pull the lever and it would drain into the tank …,” he said. Eric continued, “We had a police dog called Wonniandanda, but had to sell him as he was too friendly and would run out and jump up on cars!”
In the summer, William Clay had a stand at Weir’s Beach to sell candy and pop, cigarettes and ice cream. By 1933, in the height of The Great Depression, “they had to sell, they were wiped out.”
Harold Walker bought the store and moved in, but soon resold to George Duddy. Mr. Duddy allowed old Mr. Bickerdike to build his garage next door. Over the years, the store has changed hands and grown with each new management. The store and its various owners have always played a central and beneficial role in Metchosin life.
– Wendy Mitchell is president of the Metchosin Museum Society.