For most of Oyama’s history, two stores competed for business, at two locations, one at the intersection of Oyama Road and Highway 97 and another further east along the isthmus. The first store was opened by George Belsey at the “crossroads” in 1908, then sold to M. Patch in 1921.
F. H. Aldred arrived in 1909 and purchased a store and post office building at the “crossroads” from John Irvine and he operated his business there until 1914 when a leg injury forced him to return to England. He sold or leased that store to Frank Rimmer, who in turn sold it to Mrs. Walter Rea.
The Aldred family remained in England for the duration of the war, with young Frederick Harry Aldred serving in the armed forces. In 1919 the family returned to Oyama. F. H. Aldred, Sr. built his second store while his son Harry purchased land on Upper Bench Road (Lot 40) on which he farmed and operated a substantial trucking business, serving local farmers.
Aldred’s second store, located immediately east of the Oyama School, was a landmark in the area for four decades. The lot encompassed about four acres, enough to accommodate a pear orchard out back. Arnold Trewhitt remembers buying jawbreakers from the store when he was in elementary school in the early thirties. By the time I attended that school in the 1950s it had been turned into a private residence, occupied by the Tyrrell family. The property was sold to School District 23 in the 1990s and is now used as the parking lot and playing field for the Oyama Traditional School.
Every week, the Lake Country Calendar will publish a column from the Lake Country Museum highlighting our community’s past. This week’s article was written by Duane Thomson, Lake Country Museum chairperson.