Mr. and Mrs. Andy Ruddy in Burns Lake. (Lakes District Museum Society photo)

Ruddy a big mover of Burns Lake’s early business community

Though he seldom gets the recognition accorded to other members of Burns Lake’s early business community, Anthony M. (Andy) Ruddy played a key role in the town’s development.

Prominent and popular, Ruddy came to Burns Lake from Hazelton in 1920. His business enterprises were many and varied; shortly after his arrival, he formed a partnership with Omineca Ed Sullivan and purchased both the Lakeview and the Cheslatta hotels, renaming the latter the Omineca and adding a dance hall to it.

That hall hosted a variety of entertainment. In 1923, the St. John’s Anglican Church Women’s Auxiliary held two plays there, one of which was called “Billy’s Chorus Girl”.

Ruddy’s barn and stables, built nearby in 1924, were sometimes used as a morgue. A gentleman who stabled his horse there once opened a long trough to get some oats, but instead found a frozen corpse that police officer Percy Carr had picked up in Decker Lake.

Ruddy brought the first radio to Burns Lake, and despite the fact that reception was said to be poor and punctuated periodically by loud squawks, it was popular with the locals. He also purchased a power plant in 1923 – Burns Lake’s first – which initially supplied power to the Omineca Hotel, but later expanded its operations to provide the town with electricity ‘round the clock.’

In 1926, Ruddy sold the Lakeview Hotel and purchased a partnership in Burns Lake’s first garage. He sold the Omineca Hotel to Harry Little in 1928 and, again in partnership, operated a garage and the town’s Ford Car Sales and Service. After the garage burned to the ground in March 1932 (taking with it, ironically, the village’s fire apparatus), he opened Ruddy Motors Ltd. in what is now a vacant lot beside Burns Lake’s Canada Post outlet. He operated the garage until 1942, and then sold it to William (Bill) Bickle of Grassy Plains.

Not one to rest on his laurels, Ruddy then bought into a sawmill at Pendleton Bay.

Yet Ruddy was more than just an entrepreneur. He was a member of the Burns Lake Citizens’ Association, the organization largely responsible for seeing Burns Lake incorporated as a village, and periodically served as a village commissioner (the equivalent of today’s councillor) from 1924 until at least 1939. He helped raise funds for the new hospital, played on the town’s first hockey team with Ernie Stanyer, Carr, Gordon Wood, Ira Short, and other Burns Lake notables, and despite being perhaps the worst skier in town, was a founding member of the Omineca Ski Club.

When Ruddy passed away on Sept. 20, 1944, the town lost one of its biggest boosters.

© 2018 Michael Riis-Christianson and the Lakes District Museum Society

Just Posted

No parole for 12 years for Burns Lake man convicted of second degree murder

Judge said he did not believe Albert Giesbrecht’s claim his gun discharged accidentally

No parole for Giesbrecht until 2031

Justice David Crossin said he did not believe Giesbrecht’s claim his firearm discharged accidentally

Lakes District Community choir performs

The Lakes District Community Choir presented its annual Christmas Concert on Dec.… Continue reading

Happy 100th Birthday Helen

Helen Hiebert celebrated her 100th birthday. On Dec. 6 there was an… Continue reading

Practice makes perfect

Girls hockey players hold a practice in the Tom Forsyth Arena in… Continue reading

‘A loud sonic boom’: Gabriola Island residents recount fatal plane crash

Area where the plane went down is primarily a residential neighbourhood, RCMP say

‘Honest mistake:’ RCMP says B.C. cannabis shop can keep image of infamous Mountie

Sam Steele wearing military, not RCMP uniform in image depicted in Jimmy’s Cannabis window

B.C. conservation officers put down fawn blinded by BB gun on Vancouver Island

Young deer found near construction site in Hammond Bay area in Nanaimo, B.C.

Laid-off forest workers converge on B.C. legislature

Loggers call for action on strike, provincial stumpage

B.C. guide fined $2K in first conviction under new federal whale protection laws

Scott Babcock found guilty of approaching a North Pacific humpback whale at less than 100 metres

Feds urge Air Canada to fix booking problems as travel season approaches

The airline introduced the new reservation system more than three weeks ago

Almost 14,000 Canadians killed by opioids since 2016: new national study

17,000 people have been hospitalized for opioid-related poisoning

Chevron move to exit Kitimat LNG project a dash of ‘cold water’ for gas industry

Canada Energy Regulator approved a 40-year licence to export natural gas for Kitimat LNG

B.C. cities top the list for most generous in Canada on GoFundMe

Chilliwack took the number-two spot while Kamloops was at the top of the list

Most Read