Streetcars

B.C. Electric Railway Co. car number 35 “Robson” at the English Bay Beach stop on Denman St.; between 1900 and 1902; Vancouver City Archives, LP 35; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/b-c-electric-railway-co-car-35-robson-at-english-bay-beach-stop-on-denman-st.

Although the West of Denman area is not that far from the centre of Vancouver, it is far enough that early citizens supported a streetcar system.

The streetcars in the West End eventually included the following lines:

  1. Georgia Street to the entrance of Stanley Park.
  2. Davie Street to the beach at English Bay.
  3. Robson Street to Denman Street
  4. Denman Street joining the Georgia Street and Robson Street lines to the Davie Street line.

 

West End streetcar lines. Base map: Detail from Thomson Stationery Co. Limited, Plan of the City of Vancouver, Hermon & Burwell, January 1, 1902; Plan of the City of Vancouver, 2015-055.1; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/plan-of-city-of-vancouver.

 

Streetcar at entrance to Stanley Park, 1890s; Vancouver Public Library, VPL Accession Number 19797A; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/1640/19797A.jpg.

Planning for the streetcar line along Denman Street started in 1898.

Vancouver Daily World, August 12, 1898, page 6, column 1 [selected portions].

Vancouver Province, December 6, 1898, page 5, column 1.

The work started in late 1898 and continued in 1899.

Vancouver Province, December 14, 1898, page 8, column 1.

 

Vancouver Province, April 20, 1899, page 8, column 2.

 

Vancouver Province, May 10, 1899, page 8, column 2.

 

Vancouver Province, June 6, 1899, page 2, column 1.

Especially after the Denman Street track was finished, the streetcars became a regular part of the West of Denman transportation route.

B.C. Electric Railway open car operating on Denman Street running to English Bay, 1900s; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 677-83; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/b-c-electric-railway-open-car-operating-on-denman-street-running-to-english-bay.

 

Streetcar operating on Denman Street; detail from The West End, looking up Pendrell Street, Vancouver, B.C. (Postcard; Coast Publishing Company); https://open.library.ubc.ca/collections/langmann/items/1.0369105#p0z0r0f:

 

Robson Line, Streetcar at English Bay; about 1912; Vancouver City Archives, CVA 136-510; https://searcharchives.vancouver.ca/robson-line-streetcar-at-english-bay.

 

Horse Show Building - Alberni Street side - BCER Streetcar at Stanley Park Armouries, 1948 - 1900 Block Alberni Street - Ernie L Plant - photographer; http://www.flickr.com/photos/45379817@N08/7087706939/in/photostream/

1900 Block Alberni Street – Horse Show Building, Alberni Street side, BCER Streetcar at Stanley Park Armouries, 1948 – Ernie L Plant – photographer; http://www.flickr.com/photos/45379817@N08/7087706939/in/photostream/.

Even after private automobiles and taxis arrived, the streetcar system was an important part of the local transportation system until buses took over in the 1940s and 1950s.

B.C. Electric Railway trolley bus on Denman Street with library storefront, December 1950; Vancouver Public Library; VPL Accession Number 81483A; https://www3.vpl.ca/spePhotos/LeonardFrankCollection/02DisplayJPGs/2258/81483A.jpg.

 

Sources

Brian Kelly and Daniel Francis. Transit in British Columbia: The First Hundred Years; Madeira Park (British Columbia), Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd. 53-1990, pages 16-26.

“The Stanley Park Line: ‘A Brewery at Each End,’” Heather Conn and Henry Ewert, Vancouver’s Glory Years: Public Transit, 1890-1915; North Vancouver, Whitecap Books, 2003, pages 53-55.

“A Streetcar System,” Derek Hayes, Historical Atlas of Vancouver and the Lower Fraser Valley; Vancouver, Douglas & McIntyre, 2005, pages 64-65.

“Bring Back the Streetcar!” by Eve Lazarus, April 29, 2017; http://evelazarus.com/bring-back-the-streetcar/.

The Story of Vancouver, Chapter 4, Moving Goods and People and the Development of Neighbourhoods; Vancouver as a port city; http://www.vancouver-historical-society.ca/blog/introduction/iv-moving-goods-and-people-and-the-development-of-neighbourhoods/.

Vancouver Transit: The Era of Street Cars, June 18, 2013, By Vancouver Heritage Foundation; http://spacing.ca/vancouver/2013/06/18/vancouver-transit-the-era-of-street-cars1/.

Trolleybuses in Vancouver – A Brief History; http://www.sfu.ca/person/dearmond/set/Trans_Web/M3/Vancouver%20Folder/VanHist1.html.

History of Vancouver: Streetcars, Granville Bridge, South Granville Neighbourhood; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKHVHG2VhZc.

All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems, by David A. Wyatt; Vancouver, British Columbia; https://home.cc.umanitoba.ca/~wyatt/alltime/vancouver-bc.html.