Murray and Joyce Davies recently sold their business Trans Canada Bearing & Machine at 373 King St. E. It has become a Division of Brandon Bearing Agriculture and Industrial Supply and continues to serve the Virden area.
For 40 years Murray Davies has built a reputation for service in his work as a machinist and then as owner of Trans Canada Bearing & Machine, a business that provides parts and repairs for farmers, oilfield, and industrial machinery.
Manager of Brandon Bearing Justin Bekkering, says the plan is to keep the name and to provide a seamless continuation of the service that Trans Canada has provided.
“Trans Canada Bearing has a good name in Virden and we want to keep that name,” says Bekkering. “We hope we can service the people in the area … even better.”
The company was game to expand and Virden was a logical direction for Brandon Bearing. “We’ve worked with Murray a lot in the past. We were servicing him with parts. We spoke one day about it….” After negotiations in 2021, the takeover day was Jan.1, 2022.
“We would like to expand the parts. Brandon Bearing is an ag and industrial supplier, so we have about $1.3 million of inventory. We want to expand,” says Bekkering, adding that the Virden business “also has the luxury of getting stock from us, overnight.”
Bekkering explains, “We want to work with the Virden people.” That includes the staff that Davies has assembled over the years. “Ian Gibbons, a machinist - we’re working with him to manage the place in the future. He’s been Murray’s right-hand man.”
Davies is going to continue behind the parts counter at least until spring although he says, “I’m ready to go any time.”
“I’ve groomed them well,” Davies said. “I’ve let them take on most of the responsibilities. Isn’t that what you’re supposed to do, to train them to take over your position?” he smiles.
“Ian has been here for 12 or 13 years. He’s one of the head machinists. The welders have been here probably for eight or 10 years. Tyson Van Eaton would be the longest.”
The Trans Canada business has been important for the Davies family, affording them an opportunity to work together, and to support community interests financially. The Davies family volunteer work has blessed community endeavours. Working as a machinist Murray has also pursued a weekend hobby.
Son Jared Davies, now a geologist, has worked at the business off and on. “He’s been here since he was a little toddler,” says Davies. “It’s made him a bit of a jack of all trades.”
Son Brock Davies also helped out some at the shop. He’s now a Virden teacher, a physical trainer, and has worked with the Oil Capitals.
The Davies family has contributed to community events, including Virden Theatre Productions. Joyce, a hairstylist by trade took on the role of costuming, preparing the players backstage. With daughter JaysaLee acting and singing on the stage, Murray became involved creating props.
“One year they had a car on stage, I built that.” He laughs, “They brought me in something that wasn’t too pleasing to the eyes. There wasn’t much left of it. I modified and welded…”
For a recent theatre play where unique props were required, he says, “I built the revolving door to spin around.” And for Santa Claus, he created a sleigh with hidden mechanics that lifted it up into the snowy stage atmosphere.
There was no design template for these but no matter, Davies says, “I don’t use those. Give me an idea and give me some time.” He adds, “I’ve always built stuff.”
At 16, Davies built himself a truck, putting a different motor into an old truck. “And, I’ve built cars for each of our kids.”
His car builds are a source of family fun and pride in workmanship. “I’ve done a little bit of racing on the weekends.”
At Rivers, Minot, and some other places, Davies has competed on the one-eighth-mile drag strip. A 540-cu. in. motor under the hood of the ’67 Firebird provides 1000 hp. “We’re fairly quick.”
Davies says, "The kids like it. It has made for great family weekends.”
History of King St. repair service
Trans Canada Bearing & Machine began on King Street some 58 years ago under local ownership.
Since its founding in 1964, this business on King Street has served the agricultural community, even supplying some weekend emergency services in the key seasons of seedtime and harvest. Oilfield and other industrial needs have also relied upon this machinist business.
From its early days as a welding shop, local families have owned and operated the business, as recorded in Hometown Virden: pioneers and progress.
The repair business, later to include parts supplies, set down roots in 1964 when Grant and Sadie Norsworthy started Grant’s Welding & Machine at 373 King St. E.
The Davies family’s first footprint there was when Delnor and Brenda Davies purchased Grant’s Welding from the Norsworthy family in 1979.
By 1980, Murray Davies, fresh out of high school, moved to Virden to apprentice for his brother Delnor.
At the time, Murray was in a four-year trades program at Red River College in Winnipeg to become a machinist. Each year he had two months of trade school instruction. The bulk of each year he apprenticed at the Virden shop.
Delnor was himself a machinist and he needed the help, so Murray’s employment there was a good fit for the brothers.
According to Hometown Virden, “In 1992, Murray and his brother Delnor made Grant’s Welding & Machine a partnership. An addition onto the building in 1996 gave needed space, as well as room for a new business venture.”
The new business, a partnership of John Critchlow, Delnor, and Murray, opened its doors in May 1996 as Trans Canada Bearing. Just months later, in November Murray bought John’s share of the business.
In 2005, Murray and Joyce Davies bought the business shares from Delnor and Brenda and the two aspects of the business, the machinist/welding shop and the parts department amalgamated under one business name: Trans Canada Bearing & Machine.
Murray and Joyce Davies have been sole owners, operating the business for 17 years until Jan. 1, 2022, when Trans Canada Bearing & Machine opened under new management.