Have you ever wondered what moving companies looked like a century ago? The answer is: They were small, local businesses operating out of a one-room office. They moved everything from coal and hay to bricks and trash, using only horses and carts. Anything to make it through the “hard times.”
King’s Transfer was one of these companies. Their story begins in the early 1900s, when John O’Donnell and Bridget McCrory make the big move across the ocean, leaving Ireland for Canada. Soon, John, one of their seven sons, acquires the permit to start a moving company named King’s Transfer Cartage. In 1922, his brother William buys the company from John and chooses a small building on Duke Street in Griffintown as his company’s office. For 40 years this building doubled as a home to William, Catherine, and their five children.
William’s son Gerald takes over the company in the late 1940s, relocating the office to the St. Ann’s Kindergarten building, where it will remain until 2019. And just like his father before him, Gerald and his family will reside in the office building, on the third floor. In 1964, to meet the industry’s fast pace and ever-growing customer demand, the company becomes a member of Atlas® Van Lines (Canada) Inc., with Gerald joining the Board of Directors in 1983, followed by his son Bill in 1992. “It has been an honor to be part of Atlas® Van Lines, and we look forward to what the next 100 years will bring to us all,” said Bill Chapman, CEO of King’s Transfer Van Lines (8243).
After Gerald’s passing in 1990, his two sons, Bill and Charlie, take over the company. In 1996 they open King’s first office in Ottawa, and in 1998 the company broadens its horizons by launching the International Division, followed by a series of expansions throughout Canada. Through innovation, resilience, and visionary partnerships, three generations of O’Donnells have turned a small moving company into one of Atlas Van Lines Canada's biggest agents.
To celebrate this important milestone, Atlas Van Lines Chairman and CEO Jack Griffin, and Atlas Van Lines Canada President and COO Fred Haladay attended King's 100th anniversary party in Montreal on November 17.
Happy 100th anniversary, King’s Transfer Van Lines, we are lucky to have you!