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 incorporate 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. Vancouvers 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.