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Murdock and Lillian McMurray interview November 17, 1975 - Track 1
City of Burnaby Archives
This portion of the recording pertains to Murdock McMurray's memories of the work that he and his brother did on the roadways; Canada Way, Kingsway. He discusses helping out at the Hatt-Cook residence as a boy as well as the tram system of the time. Lillian (Wray) McMurray is heard helping her husb…
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City of Burnaby Archives
This portion of the recording pertains to Murdock McMurray's memories of the work that he and his brother did on the roadways; Canada Way, Kingsway. He discusses helping out at the Hatt-Cook residence as a boy as well as the tram system of the time. Lillian (Wray) McMurray is heard helping her husband with these descriptions.
Date Range
Photo Info
Emerson Doran (left) and Murdoch McMurray, 1917. Item no. 229-004
Construction - Road Construction
Historic Neighbourhood
Edmonds (Historic Neighbourhood)
McGeachie, Pixie
Interview Date
November 17, 1975
Scope and Content
Recording is of an interview with Murdock McMurray and his wife Lillian (Wray) McMurray conducted by Pixie McGeachie on November 17, 1975. Major themes discussed are: Burnaby's development, the Wray Shoe store and Murdock McMurray's cordwood delivery business.
Biographical Notes
Murdock McMurray was born in Vancouver in 1892 to Wilhelmina May and Robert William McMurray. Other children in the family included older siblings John “Jack” and Margaret Lillian, younger siblings Minnie May born May 4, 1895 and Hampton born June 8, 1902. Murdock’s father Robert worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) but retired shortly after moving his family to Burnaby in 1906. He bought six acres of land of what had been previously the Gilley Ranch, the base of operations for Gilley Bros. Ltd. at 2519 Windsor Street (later renumbered and renamed to the 6400 block Imperial Street). Murdock McMurray quit school early to apprentice as a printer. By sixteen he had left the trade and gone into partnership with his older brother Jack. With a team of horses, harness and a wagon, the brothers helped to macadamize roads, haul building supplies for new homes, deliver cord wood for heating, clear land and excavate basements. When Jack McMurray set off to serve overseas during World War I as a driver in the engineer corps, Murdock bought his team of horses and continued working, mainly in the Deer Lake district. In 1916 Murdoch McMurray partnered with Emerson Doran, nephew of the owner of Doran's Mill to buy Edmonds Coal and Wood fuel yard. As everything was geared towards the war effort, Murdock and Emerson soon ran out of work and had to sell the business. Murdock sold off his horses and equipment and went to work at the ship yard on Pitt River. By 1919 Jack McMurray had returned home from overseas and was working as a fireman at the Shull Lumber and Shingle Mill on the Fraser River. In 1921, he and Murdock teamed up with Emerson Doran and repurchased the Edmonds Coal and Wood fuel yard which they ran together until 1947. Murdock McMurray married Lillian Wray on September 17, 1925. Lillian was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Wray, who came to settle in the Jubilee area of Burnaby in 1919. The family lived on Dow Road and Edward Wray operated Jubilee Shoe Store and Post Office. He was known throughout the district as "Wray - The Shoe Man." Mrs. Wray died in 1957 at the age of eight-six and Edward Wray died January 14, 1967 at age of ninety-three. Murdock and Lillian lived at Inverness Street (now Arcola) and raised three children together, Bob, Jack and Bessie. Murdock McMurray died in New Westminster on April 28, 1985 at the age of ninety-two. Lillian Ethel (Wray) McMurray died in Burnaby on February 28, 1986 at the age of eighty-seven.
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Interviewee Name
McMurray, Lillian Wray
McMurray, Murdoch
Interviewer Bio
Doreen "Pixie" (Johnson) McGeachie was a resident of Burnaby for over sixty years. Pixie married John Aloysius "Jack" McGeachie and raised their children Kathi (Dunlop) and David McGeachie in the house the couple built themselves in 1947. Pixie served as the editor for the Burnaby Examiner newspaper and wrote a column entitled "Burnaby History" for The News. In 1974 she authored her first book titled "Bygones of Burnaby" which was one of the first to develop anecdotal stories about pioneer life in Burnaby. She authored "Burnaby - A Proud Century" in 1992 and in 2002 she wrote a biography of the city's namesake in the book "Land of Promise: Robert Burnaby's letters from Colonial B.C." She also contributed many hours of volunteering; helping to establish Burnaby's first museum Heritage Village in 1971, serving as President of the Burnaby Historical Society from 1991-1993. She served a six year term on Burnaby's Heritage Commission leading the charge to preserve many historic sites throughout the city, and during her twenty years as the Community Archives volunteer archivist for the historical society, she succeeded in gathering thousands of rare and valuable historic photographs and documents which now forms the core of the photograph collection on the Heritage Burnaby website (as these items were donated by the Society to the City Archives in 2007). The City of Burnaby awarded Pixie McGeachie the Kushiro Cup as Citizen of the year in 2002. In 2006 she received a Heritage BC project award for leading the Friends of Interurban 1223 project, and in 2008 Heritage BC recognised her again by presenting her with the Ruby Nobb Award. John Aloysius "Jack" McGeachie died October 12, 1981 at the age of sixty-seven. Doreen "Pixie" (Johnson) McGeachie died August 14, 2010 at the age of eighty-nine. On 24 September, 2011, the City of Burnaby dedicated the reading at the City Archives in honour of Pixie and formally named it the Pixie McGeachie Reading Room in recognition of her years of service to the community.
Burnaby Historical Society Community Archives collection
Oral History series
Item No.
MSS137-010_ Track_1
Media Type
Sound Recording
Web Notes
Interview was digitized in 2010 allowing it to be accessible on Heritage Burnaby. The digitization project was initiated by the Community Heritage Commission with support from City of Burnaby Council and the BC History Digitization Program of the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, University of British Columbia. It was recognized by the Heritage Society of BC with an award in 2012.
Audio Tracks

Track one of recording of interview with Lillian and Murdock McMurray

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