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).