In 1858, when the Cariboo Gold Rush started, Fort Victoria (as our city was then called) was the only port of entry into the Colony of British Columbia.  It became the hub for miners making their way to the Fraser River in search of their fortunes.  The population grew rapidly and the city was incorporated in 1862, and became the capital of the Colony of British Columbia in 1868.

Shortly thereafter, the railway era began, bringing more industry and development.  It was a boom to the Westcoast economy.

In 1883, the Victoria Transfer Company Limited was created to construct a new streetcar system and provide horse-drawn services in Victoria.  Amongst its founders was Sir Francis Stillman Barnard, KCMG (Frank Jr), who worked with his father in starting BC’s first pony express mail service, and who would later become the 10th Lieutenant Governor of BC.  Barnard brought in a long-term employee, Anton Henderson, to run operations.  Henderson quickly gained a reputation as a well-respected businessman, and, like his employers, is credited with helping shape and build BC.

Three years later, the Canadian Pacific Railway named Vancouver as its western terminus.  Vancouver’s growth quickly outpaced Victoria and through the 1890’s economic recession loomed.  Victoria’s Board of Trade recognized tourism as an industry that could help sustain the falling economy, and started advertising its beauty to the world.

A local businessman, Herbert Cuthbert, started a campaign for beautification projects and targeted advertising. With help from the Victoria Daily Colonist in a fundraising campaign, he formed the Tourist Association of Victoria (TAV) in 1902.  Its members included prominent businessmen and politicians, including Frank Barnard Jr and Anton Henderson.  The members got to work quickly on a number of beautification projects in Victoria’s inner harbor.  And in 1903, they established the Tally-Ho coach (yes, our Tally-Ho!) which would provide visitors guided tours of the City for six months of the year.  The Tally-Ho would be a welcome wagon (of sorts) for people arriving in the city: it was expected to help attract tourists and encourage new settlers to stay.

Since May 9, 1903, the Tally-Ho has become an icon of Victoria, with visitors from around the world coming to see the horses and tour the city.  There have been some wonderful characters leading this iconic company, and they are credited with ensuring the Tally-Ho tradition continues today.  Read on for the full history of Tally-Ho, to meet some of it’s infamous owners and to see some of our favorite memorabilia.


Cariboo Gold Rush

Cariboo Gold Rush

In 1858, when the Cariboo Gold Rush started, Fort Victoria (as the city was then called) was the only port of entry into the Colony of British Columbia.  It became..Read More


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..Read More

Victoria Becomes the Capital of BC

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..Read More


Railway Impacts on the Economy

Shortly after Victoria was made the capital of BC, the birth of the railway started on the west coast.  Between 1869 and 1893 four major railways would be completed in..Read More


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..Read More


“Victoria Transfer Company”

“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..Read More

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..Read More


Economic Downturn

Economic Downturn

While Victoria worked to keep pace with the changing world, so did Vancouver.  In 1886, three years after the Victoria Transfer Company was established, CPR named Vancouver as its new..Read More


The Birth of Tourism

The Birth of Tourism

In Victoria, progressive businessmen started to push for change – they knew that their success was dependent upon a healthy workforce.  Economic diversification was necessary to move society forward. Due..Read More


“Tourist Association of Victoria” created

“Tourist Association of Victoria” created

The Victoria Daily Colonist (local newspaper) started reporting on Cuthbert’s efforts to entice tourism to the city; and took up a campaign to raise $5,000 via newspaper subscriptions to establish..Read More

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