John: My father was a coal miner. I was born in Canmore in 1925. I worked for the coal company in the store for thirty-five years. I was co-owner of the store for fifteen years. I tried being a coal miner but ended back in the company store.
Billy: My father came to Canmore in 1902. He came from Poland headed to the Yukon but he decided to stop in Canmore and work at the Cochrane Mine. He stayed with the coal company until 1953.
I started with the Rundle Mountain Trading Company in 1947. It was the company store and was the grocery store, hardware, clothing and even sold coffins. I did everything in the store - I even did the butchering.
We were famous for our meat.We sold the best Grade A quality and aged it in our cooler. We had a credit system. Charges were deducted off the miners pay.That was a good system.Then laws came out and you couldn't do that any more. Most people were your friends until they owed you money, then they would cross the street when they saw you.
The company sold the store to me and my two partners in 1965 and we ran it until a year after the mine closed in 1979.
The railway track used to run a few feet in front of the store. Every Monday, the CPR guys would buy their groceries from us. This was the only place you could shop by train in Canada.
The original Canmore people were genuine and I made a lot of friends through the store. When the coal company owned the store, they used to give a turkey to every family in town at Christmas. It didn't matter if they worked at the mine or not.
The song 16 Tons is true to Canmore. That's the way it was.