Winston Stewart Bell, a pioneer in Ontario trucking and founder of W.S. Bell Cartage in Kitchener, passed away this week. He was 72.
Winston’s love for trucking began in his hometown of Desboro, Ont. His father Boyd Bell – who was a proud member of the OTA’s predecessor, the Automotive Transportation Association (ATA) over 80 years ago – owned and operated two trucks for hauling milk from local farms, a third truck for hauling livestock to Toronto, and a panel van with custom windows used as a school bus.At 15 years old, Winston sailed on cargo ships on the Great Lakes.
He obtained his chauffer’s licence at the age of 16 and began driving for his father. At the age of 20 he moved to Elmira and gained experience as a ready mix driver which led him to 12 years of hauling steel. Winston moved on to obtaining his real estate licence and steel sales but he could not resist his love for trucking.
Winston purchased Merv’s Moving in 1985 to obtain the required CVOR and the PCV licences. Merv’s Moving had assets of only one truck and two trailers. He immediately changed the name to W.S. Bell Cartage. Winston’s three sons joined the business full time in 1991 and 1993.
They have grown the business together and the fleet now operates over 90 trucks and over 250 trailers.
Winston never fully retired. “I’m not a coffee shop guy, and I’m not a golfer. I love being at work and I love trucking,” he once said.
One of Winston’s semi-retired projects was hauling three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to California in 2013. It was his pet project and received great publicity at the time. He family recalls how he always enjoyed new challenging businesses.
When Winston attended OTA meetings he proudly wore his father’s ATA pin from 1928.
Winston will be sadly missed by his loving family, friends, colleagues, customers, and suppliers.