The day we came to look at the property and decided to purchase it
Private planes can fuel up at Bathgate in Egmont
BATHGATE GENERAL STORE & MARINA HISTORY
The Egmont Consumer Co-op Association store was opened on May 16, 1948. Its property consisted of the sites presently known as Bathgate’s Store, Egmont Community Hall and Egmont Park (formerly Egmont School).
The store was managed by Len Abbotsway, then briefly by George Page, and finally by Percy Crowe-Swords and the post office by his wife, Sheilagh.
The donation of the land for the community hall and school was one of the last acts of the Consumer’s Co-op before it went broke and into receivership.
The Co-op was sold in an attempt by the shareholders to recoup some of their losses and John and Lily Dunlop became the new owners on March 8, 1954, naming it Dunlop’s Store.
Elsie & Cy Healy operated a store on the north shore of the Inlet and the Dunlops operated their store in Secret Bay. Real business rivals but always good friends, ready to help one another when occasion arose. In those days they had only one boat delivery each week, and occasionally one of the stores would run short of some needed commodity. Canned milk, flour, coffee, bread or cigarettes would often change hands either at cost or to be replaced when the next freight shipment was received. Having the one and only radio-phone in the district for some time resulted in Cy having to phone in his weekly orders from Dunlop’s store.
The Dunlops lived first in a tiny shack behind the store, but later purchased a house and floated it from “the other side” on a raft and pulled it up just beside the store. This house was demolished in April 2001 and a new wheelchair-accessible deluxe motel now stands in its place.
Jack & Bob Bathgate purchased the store from the Dunlops in June, 1963, incorporated it as Bathgate Egmont Enterprises Ltd., but it was and still is commonly known as Bathgate General Store & Marina. Jack Bathgate was a butcher, and the first shipment of meat from Vancouver was of poor quality. Jack soon straightened that out and to this day Bathgate’s carries top quality meat. While some merchandise for the store is delivered, the present owners still make a weekly trip to Vancouver to pick up supplies.
While the dirt road to Egmont from Hwy 101 was built in 1956, it was not paved until August 1966. Many people begin to discover Egmont, and the Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park which was established in 1957, and the store became not just a stopping-off and refueling place for water-borne tourists, but for campers, fishermen, and hikers who travelled by road as well.
The Bathgate brothers, who had long provided marina services for cruisers, found themselves with a whole new breed of tourists to care for. In 1965 they built a laundromat with twin “Speed Queen” washing machines and dryers, men’s and women’s showers, restrooms, and a coffee bar serving light refreshments and hamburgers.
New cabin rentals were the next project. In addition, they installed a walk-in freezer, which provided an ample supply of block ice and frozen bait (both made on the premises), for the fishermen and tourists.
The old log-float dock, which had been used by John Dunlop to run a commercial fish buying station, was replaced with a new 60 ft. float, supported by fiberglass pontoons. New fuel holding tanks with containment and guard walls were installed. Regular and premium gas was now dispensed by computing pumps in addition to diesel fuel and other oil products. In addition, they provided power on the dock and much needed moorage facilities. In 1966 a propane dispensing station was installed. Due to the expansions being carried out by the Bathgate’s in the mid 1960’s, the post office was relocated to the corner of Egmont and Maple Rd.
In the early 1950’s and 1960’s there were approximately 20 logging companies operating in the area. The store supplied many of these camps with all their needs. A battery operated radio telephone was installed in the store by BC Tel for emergencies. In 1957, when the road was built, a land line came to Egmont. A pay phone for local use and tourists was installed in the store, where it remained until 1990, and then it was moved outside the store.
In the late 1970’s the CBC filmed the series “Ritter’s Cove” on location and in 2004 segments of the movie “Desolation Sound” were filmed at the store and marina.
Bob Bathgate retired in 1987, and on May 15, 1988, the property was purchased by Doug and Vicky Martin from Jack Bathgate.
For many years, the community of Egmont was best known for the bright salmon pink paint on Bathgate’s store and adjacent buildings. In 2001, after building the new motel, the owners decided it was time for a change and the color of all the buildings was changed to beige with maroon trim. Only one old cabin remains salmon pink to this day, and is a long-term rental for a local resident. The original store with its oiled fir floors still stands but there have been many additions and upgrades over the years.
Since acquiring the property in 1988, the Martins have built new buildings and rebuilt/renovated all the remaining buildings. The grounds have been cleared of blackberries, salal and broom bushes, and rock walls, a fish pond and fire pit have been installed.
The property is surrounded by beautiful gardens, many common plants and lots of unusual plants. In 1990 double-walled fuel tanks were installed, and on a number of occasions aircrafts have been supplied with fuel.
In 1992, with the support of 99% of the local population and many tourists, the store acquired a Government Liquor Agency license to sell beer, wine and spirits. In 1994 railway marine ways were built for hauling out boats, and a new sewage and fire protection system. The laundomat and shower facilities were upgraded a number of times since 1988 and continue to provide a much-needed service to the people of the area and tourists alike.
Many customers are amazed at the vast selection of goods in the store.
It is open seven days a week in the summer (six days a week in the winter months – closed Sundays), offers a good selection of basics for locals and tourists:
- groceries (some say the best pork chops and steaks on the coast)
- fresh produce
- marine charts
- tide tables
- a big selection of fresh and saltwater tackle and fishing gear
- hardware supplies
- marine supplies
- fishing and hunting licenses
- marine and auto fuel
- a Government liquor store
- reading material, etc.
In fact, if you are looking for that hard to find item, try Bathgate’s as they will likely have it on hand. If not, they will certainly try to bring it in for you!
EXCERPT FROM SECHELT PENINSULA TIMES, May 11, 1966
by John Dunlop, under ‘Egmont Eye’
So what if one does give a lawn mower to his wife as a kind of belated birthday present – is that a crime? You would think so if you were around our neighborhood these days, particularly among the women folk.
It all began when our nice clever lawn (nice, because it required cutting) became infested with grass, grass that seemed to grow at the rate of about three inches each day. Pretty soon it was almost impossible to find my favorite lawn chair in the long grass. As this is where I do most of my deep thinking when the weather is warm (like now) the situation was rapidly becoming serious and something had to be done about the grass.
The solution was simple. I bought a lawnmower for Lily. Being a kind and considerate husband of many years standing, I also thought about her safety. You see, our lot is on a sort of side-hill terminating in a small rocky fluff overlooking the water. I just couldn’t bear the thought of one of these new fangled electric or power driven mowers taking charge and running wildly down the slope and over the bluff into the salt chuck with my dear wife attached. Oh no! Her safety was my first consideration. Besides, I would probably lose the lawnmower. Again the solution came to me in a flash. I got her one of the old fashioned push and swear kind. A vertical drop is the only position in which it will move without real effort on Lily’s part so now my mind is at ease, from the safety angle anyway.
I still cannot understand the muttering and black looks that are thrown my way when I suggest that the lawn needs cutting. Not too many husbands have the same thought and consideration, when purchasing a gift for their wives, as I have shown in this instance. I keep telling her that there is no electric cord to plug in and get all tangled up with. No filling a gas tank or pulling on a start cord. Mechanical things like that bother the average woman, but due to my thoughtfulness this is not so in Lily’s case. All she has to do is push that damned mower and it will do the rest. Now if I can only get her to do that little thing we will soon rediscover the long hidden clover and find my lawn chair again and I’ll get back to my favorite way of thinking!
TOP THINGS TO DO AT BATHGATE
The #1 tourist attraction on the Sunshine Coast is the world-famous Skookumchuck Narrows Provincial Park hike out to see the Sechelt Rapids. This trail starts 2 blocks from Bathgate Resort. For information on how to time your trip in for the best views, please click here.
The #2 destination is a bit farther out but extremely popular due to its remote beauty and signature destination: Malibu Rapids, Princess Louisa Inlet and the stunning Chatterbox Falls. Tours depart daily with our activities partner Sunshine Coast Tours - reserve online.