Mackenzie, Roderick

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Mackenzie, Roderick

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Dates of existence

January 5, 1868 - April 29, 1957

History

Roderick Mackenzie was born in Scotland. He was the son of Murdo Mackenzie.

Around 1899, he served with the Highland Regiment in South Africa during the Boer War. He was a close friend of Indian leader, Mahatma Ghandi. He sold goods by ox-cart in anti-British sectors of South Africa.

Roderick married Elizabeth Maclagan and settled in North America in 1908. In 1912, he came to the "boom town" of Squamish and bought a lot on Cleveland Avenue (in the later location of the IGA parking lot) for $2000. On this land he established a men's clothing store in partnership with Bob Fraser. This was the first of his department store chain. When the land boom ended, he purchased the adjoining lot for $50. The store completely burned down in 1917. Roderick purchased the building across the street and started to rebuild on the old store's site.

In 1918, Roderick opened a store in Williams Lake. He would later live in Williams Lake for many years becoming a charter member of the Board Trade, a prominent member of the Masonic Lodge and chairman of the War Memorial Hospital there.

Roderick later bought out Lake's store (located where the IGA would later be) that sold groceries and clothing. He returned to his rebuilt store when the man who owned the Lake's property raised the rent. He added a lean-to to the old store in order to include a grocery department. He later returned to the site of the Lake's store as the owner.

In 1921, his business in Williams Lake burned down. It was later rebuilt.

In 1928, he represented the Cariboo in the Provincial Legislature from 1928 to 1932. He became known as the "Laird of the Cariboo".

His store opened in Wells in the 1930's. During the floods in Squamish, Mackenzies' always provided supplies of ready to eat foods for the town's flood victims. He helped the war effort in 1944 by producing carloads of hogs for export. His ranch was the old Squamish Valley Hop Company ranch.

The Wells store closed in 1951 and Roderick added fifty feet to the store on Cleveland Avenue.

In 1954, Roderick's son, Alistair, took over the Squamish store.

Roderick's wife died in March 1957. Roderick died at 89 years of age on April 29, 1957.

The Mackenzies Shopping Center closed on March 16, 1966. It had been run by Roderick's son, Alistair. The store was later replaced by the IGA.

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He once hitch-hiked from Lac Butte to the Cariboo.

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