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 the Pacific Northwest, bringing with them new trade, commerce, industries (such as tourism) and population growth.

The Central Pacific Railway (CPR) capitalized on the new tourism economy by building hotels along its lines (mainly as a means to help pay for its accumulating debt) and tourism became a growth industry.

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.”