From the Beginning: The Start of Rosedale Livery (Parent Company of Zum Zum)

Written by Douglas McCutcheon, founder of Rosedale Livery

I write this blog with the purpose of introducing you to the history of Rosedale Livery from its inception in May of 1981, to the present day. And to introduce you to ZUM ZUM.

The start of Rosedale Livery’s fleet, 1981

At the time I had two businesses. One was based in Toronto; Great Lakes Helicopters; and one was based in Los Angeles; Image Transform. These resulted in my travelling to various destinations throughout the USA and Ontario on a regular basis; and occasionally in Europe; spending at least half of the calendar year away from home. 

On a day in the Spring of 1980, I found myself needing to have a meeting with my attorney before I was to catch a flight. I called and asked if we could meet tomorrow, and the answer was “I am fully booked”. I asked when he normally arrived at the office and he told me usually at 7:00 am. I offered to pick him up at his home, by limousine, and we could meet in the car on the way to his office. He accepted.

I ordered a limo from Culliton Limousine. At the time it was the foremost limousine company in Toronto; a company that my father had used many times. After that trip was done, I asked the driver if he would stay with me while I completed some minor but necessary errands, and then drop me at the airport for my flight. “Yes”. That experience made my life so much simpler.

I kept in contact with the chauffeur. I used the service, and that driver, on a regular basis. We discussed the industry, and in particular his place within it. He was “Renting” his limousine and operating it within the platform of Culliton. I suggested the proposition that I buy a Stretch Limousine, and he operate it within the Culliton platform, with the caveat that with proper notice, he exclusively would drive me, in my limousine when needed in Toronto. He agreed. 

And that my friends was when what would become Rosedale Livery, was conceived. 

One Stretch Limousine. One Chauffeur. 

At that time, stretched limousines were the order of the day. The standard price was $40 per hour with a two hour minimum charge – designed / justified to cover the drive time before and after the trip; therefore the cost of a short trip was $80, and the price of a two hour trip was also $80. Chauffeurs were dressed simply in jackets and ties; no caps. 

My idea was to offer a prime service; with all chauffeurs dressed in matching uniforms; double breasted blue suits; a unique company tie; a chauffeurs cap; on time, (10 to 5 Minutes early) every time. As well, I concluded that a stretch limousine was (a) not necessary as the average load was 2 or 3 passengers, and (b) most customers would prefer to not be so ostentatious. And so the birth of the Lincoln sedan limousine. That vehicle was to become the vehicle of choice for all operators in Toronto, and for the vast majority of all operators North America wide. The rate would be $30 per hour, with a ½ hour ($15) minimum.