Al Smaglinski celebrates 25 years of being behind the wheel

BARRY’S BAY – Aloisius Smaglinski grew up in Wilno, Ontario but never had any giant aspirations to live in a big city.

After starting his trucking and moving company 25 years ago, Smaglinski is officially retiring to a beautiful lakeside house just off Highway 62.
Growing up with two sisters and a step-brother, Smaglinski always enjoyed the Valley area and wanted to make his life in the region.
“When we had school, everyone took off to Toronto and Kitchener but I just stayed in Ottawa. I wanted to be close to home,” he said.
After working for local contractor Ben Hokum for a few years, Smaglinski got his first taste of driving a truck.
“I always wanted to drive a truck and for many years, I drove a truck for Ben Hokum and worked construction,” he said.
Seeing an opportunity to start his own business, he pondered the thought of owning his own company.
Upon talking the idea over with his wife Maxine for a while, he decided to move ahead.
“It came up and I thought about it with Maxine for a few weeks and I thought I would try it. I started the business in August of 1987. I bought Ambrose Dwyer out. He owned the business and had originally bought it from Frank Cybulski. So I bought it in 1987 and kept on trucking,” he added.
Remembering the infant years of his company,  Al’s Cartage, Smaglinski recalled that there were times when he needed employment help wherever he could get it.
“Keith Jeffrey was my neighbour’s son and the first employee I had when he was 15-years-old. Since then, I’ve had a lot of help. My first full-time driver was Brian Conway and there have been many people along the way,” he said.
Smaglinski had a daily delivery run to Pembroke and then began to work and sub-contract from other trucking outfits.
“I had a daily run to Pembroke that I did for 20 years. I also interlined with a lot of other trucking companies like Manitoulin Transport, Cabano, CP, Farmer and many more,” he added.
When asked what the heaviest item he ever moved was, he had to take some time to think about the question.
His wife laughed in the background and added that she thought she knew the answer.
“Pianos,” she said.
Smaglinski remembered an unusually heavy load that had be to machine-lifted, by multiple cranes, off of the truck.
“I once brought some heavy machinery equipment in for the Murray brothers at the mill and so it had to be put on the truck, pulled to one end, and then we had to get another machine to lift one end and get another machine to lift it from the side. It was a big piece of equipment,” he said.
Smaglinski has made a career of living in the area and meeting and making friends with clients after moving them, or their gear, all over the province.
Story continues in the July 25 iss ue of