Silver and Gold Magazine Autumn 2020 - Page 6

+ Did you know? click for an interesting tidbit! SENIORS MOMENTS – By Don Crossley The Halliday Homes Fire of 1974 I was recently asked if I remembered Halliday Homes, a pioneer in the design and construction of prefab buildings, and one of Burlington’s major employers. I do, indeed. Halliday’s manufacturing complex was a city landmark dating back to the 1800s. Mostly, though, I remember the horrible fire in 1974 that completely destroyed their plant which, at the time, was located on Maple Avenue near Ontario Street. On the afternoon of Oct. 24th, 1974, I heard a radio news bulletin suggesting that the plant was on fire. I immediately thought of the firm’s president, G.W.E. (Bud) Gordon, a friend and mentor to me who, at the time, was also serving with me on the Board of Directors of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. In fact, I had succeeded Bud as president of that organization. I immediately drove over to the site of the fire to offer my assistance. I thought that if I could obtain some sort of list of their most immediate needs from Bud, I could then contact as many chamber members as possible and seek their assistance. When I finally met up with Bud, his head was in his hands. The Fire Department had just advised him that the plant would be a total loss. There was so much work to be done, not just in the long term, but in order to prepare for the next business day. Thankfully, the plant’s employees were all willing and able to return to work, but they needed a place from which to conduct business. Bud told me that the very next day was payday for his staff, which numbered well over one hundred. Somehow, they had managed to save both the payroll records and blank cheques, but now they need the loan of a mainframe computer so the numbers could be crunched, and the cheques could be printed. This started a series of phone calls to fellow Chamber members asking for their assistance in this regard. After many, many calls we finally reached a firm that happened to be using the same payroll system as Halliday’s and would be happy to assist in any way possible. What a relief! 6 Read + hear more: Photo: Warren Corp, Fire Chief