The Mackie Family: A Durham Region legacy

Photo by Tracy Wright

(From left) Members of the Mackie family, Brooke, Paul Jr. and Paul Sr.

The Mackie family has been in the transport business for more than four generations and in the Durham community since 1928.

Humble beginnings is what Paul Mackie Sr. attributes to the family success. He says he learned at a young age from his parents to give your best and don’t look back.

With this he learned about taking pride in your work and doing a good job.

Mackie Sr.’s grandfather Merle started the transportation company rolling.

He was a truck driver and the family business grew from there, when his children Ross and Marilyn advanced it to a moving and freight company in the 80s. Mackie Sr. and his brothers Norm, Dean and Scott worked moving furniture.

The company then aligned with General Motors in Oshawa to move auto parts and became known as Mackie Automotive. The company has grown to where it now has 2,500 employees in automotive and 500 in freight and transport.

But it hasn’t stopped there.

The Mackie name is now well-known in Durham for selling motorcycles through its Mackie Harley-Davidson showroom on Champlain Avenue on the Oshawa-Whitby border.

But getting the dealership required determination, says Mackie Sr.

He initially contacted Harley-Davidson in 2002 to inquire about opening a dealership in Durham Region, but had to convince company officials to partner with the family.

Mackie Sr. says he called every day for weeks and when Harley-Davidson officials learned of the Mackie family’s community commitments, it sealed the deal.

Finally, persistence paid off and the dealership opened in 2003.

The motorcycle showroom is a glitter display of motorcycles lined up side-by-side in rows. The chrome on the bike shines and is individually cleaned and shined regularly.

“It’s a dusty job,” Mackie Sr. says.

The dealership has been on a successful ride since opening its doors and was recognized as dealer of the year by Harley-Davidson Canada in 2015.

Mackie Sr., 61, says he was a rambunctious child growing up and faced several health challenges.

At the age of five he was hit by a car and rushed to Lakeridge Health Oshawa and then at the age of eight had an accident with a golf cart where his right leg was severed. He now has a prosthetic leg.

But this did not hold him back.

After rehab physiotherapy, he kept on going, playing hockey until age 40.

Mackie Sr. is proud to be born and raised in Oshawa and credits his grandparents for providing a foundation of hard work.

“You’re nothing without people,” says Mackie Sr., adding he tries to always be happy and have a positive attitude. It’s all about the people and customer giving your word to people, he adds.

Mackie is married to his high school sweetheart Diane. They have been married for more than 40 years and have four children, Melissa, Brooke, Paul Jr. and Stephanie.

Brooke and Paul Jr. are carrying on the family tradition by working with the company. Mackie would like to retire soon? (61 isn’t that young) and be involved with charitable activities, especially Lakeridge Health

As much as the Mackie name is synonymous with transportation in the region, it is also known for giving back to the community.

The Mackie Group, as the larger company is known, makes regular contributions to Lakeridge Health, Durham College, University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham Cancer Centre.

This charitable spirit is also in their place of business where events – such as blood clinics and holiday gift drives – are held to support the community.

The Mackie Harley-Davidson company speaks about honesty, integrity and support of community on its website. This is something that will be passed on from generation to generation for the Mackie family.