All timeline stories.

Anton Henderson

Anton Henderson came to America in 1873, at the age of 20, from Denmark.  In 1880, he arrived in Victoria, on his way to Cache Creek, where he became an agent for Frank Barnard Sr’s BC Express and Stage Line.

That connection to Frank Barnard Sr would provide fruitful opportunities.  By 1883, Henderson was back in Victoria as manager of Frank Barnard Jr’s Victoria Transfer Company.

He would go on to become a Victoria alderman for four years and a Saanich councillor for another four.  He was also a past grand master of the BC Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

Anton Henderson was the public face of the Victoria Transfer Company and was often quoted in the newspaper.  He was a well-respected businessman.

Anton Henderson died in 1950, at the age of 97, and his James Bay home (522 Quadra St) stands as a tribute to an early resident with the courage, tenacity and foresight that have helped build BC.


“Victoria Transfer Company”

On May 12, 1883, the Victoria Transfer Company Limited was founded by James Hamilton, Edgar Marvin, Frank Stillman Barnard, and Thomas Earle.  Its articles of incorporation specified that it was to construct a new streetcar system and provide horse-drawn services in Victoria:

“The Company are hereby authorized and empowered to construct, maintain, complete, and operate a single or double iron railway, with the necessary side tracks and turnouts, for the passage of cars, carriages, and other vehicles adapted to same, upon and along such streets and highways, within the jurisdiction of the Corporation of the City of Victoria, … Esquimalt, … to Cadboro Bay… and to take, transport, and carry passengers and freight upon the same by the force or power of animals or such other motive powers as the said Company may deem expedient… and do also a general transfer, hack and livery business in the said Province.”

One of the prime business streams of the Victoria Transfer Company was providing a general hack service.  From the 1880s through to the 1900s, horses were the main form of transportation in Victoria.  While there were a number of “Tally-Hos”, the prominence and political prowess of the Transfer Company’s board members gave the company an ‘extra edge’.

The Victoria Transfer Company was located on Broughton St near Gordon (see photo c 1890).  Next door was Brayshaw’s Carriage Factory (one of the largest carriage manufacturers in Victoria).

May 9, 1903 “Tally-Ho”

The name/word “Tally-Ho” has various meanings throughout history, most commonly:

  1. As a cry made by huntsmen on catching sight of the fox, to alert other members of the hunt. Here its origin goes back to 13th century France where “taille haut” was used as a war-cry: “Taille” is the cutting edge of a sword and “haut” means high or ‘raised up’. So the original meaning might be something close to “Swords up!”.
  2. As a descriptor for a fast stagecoach or other horse-drawn vehicle used for sightseeing.
  3. As a call used by Royal AirForce fighter pilots in the Second World War to tell their controller they were about to engage enemy aircraft.
  4. In the Royal Navy it was the name of a T-class submarine (HMS Tally-Ho, 942-1967) which was the only vessel to bear the name.

There were a number of Tally-Ho stages in Victoria in the late 1800s, each operated by independent businessmen.  This photo of the old ad for the Mt Tolmie Oaklands Tally-Ho stage dates to the 1890s: this stage was operated by Mr. WBC Mewburn.  A jaunt from Mt. Tolmie to Victoria would have cost 15¢ back then.  The bottom line on this poster reads “The above stage is the finest running out of Victoria… being well adapted for [among other things] shooting parties”!

On May 9, 1903, the first Tally-Ho stage made its debut, carrying 12 passengers, and pulled by four horses (see bottom newspaper clipping).  The stage was imported from Rhode Island, USA.

On the maiden voyage, the Mayor was given a cornet to sound as the horn that was required under city regulation, had not yet arrived.  The newspaper, The Colonist, reported that, “…Mayor McCandless, after nearly exploding his cheeks, succeeded in securing the emission of a note which resembled the last gasp of a pig under a gate.”

A Victoria Transfer Company newspaper ad from October 7, 1909 reads “We have the only six horse turnouts in Victoria.  Driven by men who have had a lifelong experience on the Cariboo Road and the White Pass and Yukon trails”.  The company had only very experienced teamsters on their rigs, coming to Victoria after leaving Frank Barnard Sr’s Barnard Express.

The original Tally-Ho stages were drawn by teams of 4 to 8 horses, depending on the route.  They needed these large teams, not to pull the weight, but to brace the wagons when going downhill, or to hold the wagons when stopped on a hill.

The first record of a City Bylaw governing the Tally-Ho is in 1919, where it specifies that the Tally-Ho wagons would be located on the East side of Menzies, south of Belleville, where they would be in direct line with passengers disembarking the ships.

New Competition

During the mid 1970s two single horse-drawn carriage companies (as opposed to the 20-seater Tally-Ho wagons) would open in Victoria, bringing new competition:

  • Black Beauty Line (BBL) was operated by Dan and Barb Pedrick. Dan hand-built the first carriages and trained the horses.  Barb ran the operations.  At the beginning it was just the two of them, but eventually the company grew and the welcomed new staff on board.  After various changes in ownership, BBL no longer remains in operation.
  • In 1978, Victoria Carriage Tours (VCT) was opened by Dianne Donahue. VCT has since changed hands twice.

With three companies now sharing the space the City of Victoria decided to shut down any more opportunity for new operators by naming the three companies as the only licensed operators into the Vehicles for Hire Bylaw.

Tally-Ho is Commemorated in the Archie Comics!

One of Tally-Ho’s best (and coolest!) moments was being featured in the August 1989 issue of the “Betty and Veronica” comic book series.

Tally-Ho Today

Donna, and her daughters Brianna and Kennadie (the ‘Friedlander women’), carry on the Tally-Ho tradition with help from a team of world-renowned experts who provide sage advice, and a staff that all have strong backgrounds in various equine disciplines.  They work tirelessly for the herd of horses, with constant focus on their 24/7 care and ever-changing needs.  They are passionate about the business and see the horses and as staff as part of their extended family (some staff affectionately referring to the Tally-Ho family as ‘Friedlandia’).

Donna has been an integral part of the business for over 30 years and remains fiercely committed to ensuring her family’s draft horses are living their best lives.  She loves creating unique, fun, educational opportunities for people to interact with the horses and experience their charm and calming energies.  She utilizes her background as a Certified Professional Accountant to strategically position the business for long-term success, and focusses most of her time on finances, administration, marketing and public relations.

Brianna developed a deep connection with the horses and an excitement for the business from the moment she could walk.  She was with her beloved dad, Larry, every chance she got while he went through his daily chores.  She became Tally-Ho’s youngest salesperson ever in early 2016, mentoring under Bruce; and then moved on to carriage driving later that season.  Now, in her early 20’s, Brianna expertly manages the daily operations of the business – a role her life path has naturally prepared her for.  She is passionate about the care of the horses at the farm and how that hard work culminates into amazing opportunities for our guests to interact with, and learn about, our horses.  She is our lynchpin into ensuring our team of professionals are able to balance having fun at work (best job on the planet!) while ensuring high safety and customer service standards.

Kennadie is the youngest of the Friedlander family that works as part of the Tally-Ho team.  Raised on Hidden Acres Farm, Kennadie has a natural affinity and deep love of all animals.  She performs all tasks we can throw her way within the business with skill and ease.  While she is adept at horse care, barn chores, office administration and sales, her passion is carriage driving.  At the age of 16, Kennadie graduated high school so that she could pursue her passion for dance at Ballet Victoria, joining their 2-year, full-time, aspirant (training) program.  She expertly juggles her demanding dance career with time on the farm, and somehow still manages to squeeze in time to drive carriages on her days off.

“Cowboy Bob” Postcards

Tally-Ho consistently drew crowds, from March to September each year, to the corner of Belleville and Menzies Streets.  The company was known for its beautiful horses and the people that worked there.  Many of the drivers had extensive horse experience and were well versed in providing a great tour to their guests.  One of Tally-Ho’s infamous staff, “Cowboy Bob”, was also an artist and created unique postcards for visitors to take home as a keepsake (see images c 1974).

Victoria Becomes the Capital of BC

With rapid growth came development, and Victoria was incorporated as a city on August 2, 1862.

By 1866, with the decline of the gold rush, decreasing government revenues, and increased debt, government officials needed to introduce some cost-cutting measures.  It was decided that the Colony of Vancouver Island would be folded into the Colony of British Columbia, thereby creating the United Colony of British Columbia.

New Westminster served as the home of the newly formed Legislative Council; however in an effort to unite the people, the first Governor of the united colony, Frederick Seymour, decided to allow the legislative council to choose where the new capital city would be: New Westminster or Victoria.

At the time, Victoria was BC’s largest city, the center of commerce and easily defended by the Esquimalt naval base.  While the Governor favored New Westminster as the capital city, the votes tallied in Victoria’s favor, and on May 25, 1868, he reluctantly proclaimed Victoria the capital of BC.

Francis Jones Barnard (Frank Sr)

Frank Sr, father of Sir Francis Stillman Barnard who would eventually start the Victoria Transfer Co Ltd, was the founder of Barnard’s Express in 1862, one of the most important companies in the early history of the Colony of BC.

  • In 1860 Barnard “began by carrying mail and newspapers, on foot, all the way from Yale to the goldfield towns of the Cariboo, a 760-mile roundtrip journey, charging $2 per letter and selling newspapers in the goldfields for $1 a copy.”
  • In 1861 and 1862 he also carried packages between Yale and New Westminster, a distance of 200 miles.
  • In 1862 he established a one-horse pony express, with himself as sole rider… [and later that year] Barnard used his own acquired capital and found a backer to launch Barnard’s Express and Stage Line with fourteen six-horse coaches and a famous team of “crack whips” to drive them…
  • In 1864 he won the government contract to carry the mail. His company’s coaches, equipped with armed guardsmen, were fully in charge of the movement of gold from the Cariboo to the Coast.
  • In 1866 Barnard bought out his business partners and gained control of the bulk of business connecting Victoria to Barkerville.

Sir Francis Stillman Barnard, KCMG  (Frank Jr)

Frank Barnard Jr was a Canadian parliamentarian and the tenth Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.  KCMG is the shortened version for “Knight Commander”:  “The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George IV, Prince of Wales, while he was acting as prince regent for his father, King George III.”

  • In 1860, Frank Jr moved with his mother to Victoria, BC, where his father had preceded them by a year. He would spend the next 10 years out East, in college, furthering his education.
  • In 1873, he returned to British Columbia where he assisted his father, Francis Jones Barnard (Frank Sr), in the operation of the family business, Barnard’s Express.
  • In 1880, he was appointed as manager of the company when his father’s health turned for the worse.
  • He continued in this position until 1888, when he resigned to successfully run for the Cariboo seat in the House of Commons. Politically, he was a “liberal conservative”, as Stillman was an ardent supporter of John A. Macdonald, with whom he campaigned and worked actively for the rapid settlement and development of the province.
  • In addition to his primary role in Barnard’s Express, Frank Jr was a very influential and successful businessman. His most important business venture, from a Tally-Ho perspective, was that he was president and majority shareholder of Victoria Transfer Co. Ltd. (and its counterpart, Vancouver Transfer Co. Ltd).
  • He was also director and secretary of the Vancouver Improvement Company, a director of the Hastings Sawmill Company, the British Columbia Milling and Mining Company, and of the Selkirk Mining and Smelting Company. He was a Victoria City Councillor in 1886 and 1887. He was a member of the Union Club in Victoria, and of the Rideau Club in Ottawa. From 1914 to 1919, he was the tenth Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia. He was knighted in 1919 by Edward, Prince of Wales.
  • Sir Barnard resided at Duval Cottage, Victoria, and the family gravesite is in Ross Bay Cemetery.