Historical automotive shop is moving locations after 70 years

By Lindsey Cooke
Toronto, Ontario — November 20, 2018 — Alec’s Automotive in Vancouver, B.C. is a long-time family owned shop that is moving away from its century old historical building and starting fresh in Burnaby, B.C. 

“Alec’s Automotive has been in the Borden family for around 70 years,” says owner of the shop, Rob Borden.

With three generations of the family having worked in this historical shop, it carries a lot of heritage. But the family decided to sell off their property and move their engine rebuilding and machine shop services to 6909 Russell Ave. Burnaby, B.C. 

The old shop building will be torn down and made into a rental apartment building, something that Rob says they are happy to have done due to the housing crisis for residents in Vancouver.

But for Rob, this is a bittersweet move. 

“I have mixed emotions, initially I was really happy but once you start looking at the heritage, there is a lot of attachment to the neighborhood and property… [on the other hand] it’s nice to have a fresh start.”

To paint a picture of the property, there is a building in the front, and this is where Alec Eaton started out his blacksmith shop, dating back to the early 1900’s. Eaton used his shop to make horseshoes for the horses at the nearby Dairyland. 

As the neighborhood started filling up with residential housing Eaton decided to turn the blacksmith business into a gas station in the early 1940s and then to a service station that performed mechanical work, to rebuild engines. Rob’s grandfather, Les Borden, was an employee of Eaton’s for nine to to 10 years before buying over the business and property in 1948, where the business changed to a dedicated engine shop.

But the heart of the property lies behind the shop, in a small house, where Les raised his family. “It’s kind of like a farm way of living,” Rob says.

From there Rob’s father, Doug Borden, and his brother, Don Borden, had taken over the business and then retired about a decade ago. Since then Rob and his brother have been working and managing the shop.

“We are not getting out of the business, but growing in it,” Rob says.

Alec’s Automotive is expected to be moving to their new location in February.

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