As well known movers today, the story of the Rockbrune Brothers began in the 1920’s.
Farming was a tough way to make a living. This way of life was even more difficult for a young man with dreams of someday getting off the farm. Robert Rockbrune was a restless teenager working on his families land just outside Perth, Ontario. One day he packed up what little belongings he had and headed to a job in Oshawa, a city that was booming in the automotive industry. As the 20’s came to a close, Robert met Robina, who soon became his wife. In the years ahead, he and Robina started a family, eventually having seven children, two daughters and five sons.
Robert worked at General Motors. There were constant layoffs as the depression hit the country and so, money was tight. During these difficult times the couple came up with an idea.
In 1931 the couple bought an old truck to see if they could get some work from local farmers and businesses. They called it “City Cartage”.
Their first son, Robert Jr. remembers those days.
“Mom and Dad were pretty resourceful”, he says. “You had to be back then. It was not a time to live, it was a time to survive.” They hauled hay for farmers, goods from the CP railway and whatever else they could. As word spread about City Cartage, the company grew.
“Eventually they started moving houses too. Not just the contents, but the whole house,” explains Robert. “Dad had built the equipment for moving them. He was pretty ingenious.”
Towards the end of the 40’s and into the 50’s the post war boom saw a huge growth in business so, they added more trucks. They also received permission from the government for moving goods outside of the Oshawa area. They charged $2.00 an hour, which was enough to pay the bills and their staff.
As the sons grew older, they joined the family business. Today three of them, Robert, William, and Joseph, still run the company. Six of Robert and Robina’s grandchildren also help lead Rockbrune Bros. Movers and their offices in Oshawa, Ajax, Newmarket, and Barrie into the next generation.