Winnipeg Cab History / 27: Street Cabs vs Livery Cabs (2)
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Click on the picture to see a larger version.

A landaulet on the city hall stand in 1900. The cab is parked at the Market Street end of the stand. In the original photograph it is possible to see the driver leaning far over to his right to talk to a man on the sidewalk. The man's legs are visible between the wheels.


City Hall, Main Street, Winnipeg. Horse drawn carriage in front of the building. Photo from a stereoscopic image by McKim Oc. 22, 1900. Photo courtesy Dennis DowneyWestern Canada Pictorial Index, 1348-40284.

Winnipeg Cab History / 27

Street vs Livery Cabs (2)

In Winnipeg the most damning indictment of street cabs was their well-known association with the city's notorious red light district.

Up to 1904 the so-called "vice district" was located on Thomas Street (now Minto) on the edge of town. When an anti-vice crusade closed down the brothels here the district simply relocated to McFarlane and Annabella Streets in Point Douglas, conveniently close to Main Street.

In 1911 brothel owner Amy Norris testified before the Manitoba Royal Commission on Vice that her pay telephone took in $39 in one month, the equivalent of 780 calls. She said that most of the calls were made by customers calling hacks (that is, horse cabs) and taxis.

In October 1910 the 42 pay phones in houses on McFarlane and Annabella streets took in a total of $526.15. This meant that 10,523 calls were made from the phones in a single month.

Every nickel that called a cab meant a 50 cent cab fare for a driver, and for every customer who called a cab from a brothel there must have been another cab to bring him there in the first place. The vice district clearly offered a lucrative market to cab drivers.


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