Winnipeg Cab History / 88: Notes and Sources
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Winnipeg Cab History / 88

Notes and Sources

Introduction / (Page  1)

This web site covers the highlights of Winnipeg cab history over nearly a century. It is largely based on these two articles, both of which are available online in Proquest's CBCA Reference and Current Events database:

  • Norman Beattie, "The Cab Trade in Winnipeg: 1871 to 1910," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), pp. 36-52.

  • Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), pp. 7-22.

My article on the horse-cab era up to 1910 was based on snippets of documentation gathered over about 20 years up to 1998. Since that time the volume of historical information accessible on the web has increased dramatically, examples being the Winnipeg Free Press online, and he enormous amount of personal documentation published by National Library and Archives Canada and by individual genealogical researchers.

Anyone covering the same ground now could do it much more quickly and thoroughly than I was able to and would turn up a lot of pertinent information that I missed. There is a lot more to explore in the history of the Winnipeg taxi industry, but that's a task for someone with more knowledge and better access to informants and documentation than I have. Hopefully this web site will provide a starting point for further research.

Livery Stables (1) / (Page  2)

William Harvey opened his stable in May, 1871 and Jack Benson opened his in November (Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey, Ten Years in Winnipeg (Times Publishing House, 1879; available online at, pp. 33, 60). The Manitoba Gazette (June 1, 1872, p. 3:5) reported Harvey's imminent return from a trip to Ontario with "about thirty persons from the neighbourhood of Perth" which suggests that he was acting as a colonization agent or guide for emigrants from his former home. Harvey remained in the livery business until at least 1888.

Jack Benson came west in 1870 as a soldier with the Wolseley Expedition. He served with the newly formed provincial police force before opening his stable. He still owned a stable in 1902 and died in 1912 (Manitoba Genealogical Society Cemetery File card index).

Livery Stables (2) / (Page  3)

Hazards of the livery business: Grant McEwan, Hoofprints and Hitching Posts (Saskatoon, Modern Press, 1972) pp. 80-81.

Ham McMicken (1) / (Page  4)

For Gilbert McMicken, see "McMicken, Gilbert" in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (

For the trunkful of money see "Winnipeg Pioneer Back from London," Manitoba Free Press, December 23, 1911 p. 7.

Ham McMicken's intention to dispose of North West Omnibus & Transfer became known in December, 1881. Learning of his intentions the NWO&T employees surprised him with a testimonial and the gift of a new desk (Manitoba Free Press, December 19, 1881, p. 8:3).

Ham McMicken (2) / (Page  5)

Will E. Ingersoll, "W.E. Ingersoll's Yarn: Everyone Was a Friend," Winnipeg Free Press, June 12, 1965, p. 25. No source is given for the quote but the context of the column implies that it came from ingersoll's interview with McMicken, "Winnipeg's first successful drayman". Ingersoll interviewed many pioneers while compiling his historical map of Winnipeg published in the Manitoba Free Press, November 9, 1922, p. 22.

Unfortunately "Billy" Ingersoll (1879-1968) seems to have left no research notes. Staffers recalled him dropping in to the Free Press office, commandeering a typewriter and, without bothering to take his hat off, batting out his Yarns from memory (conversation with Lynn Crothers, Free Press librarian). For more about Ingersoll see Reid Dickie, "Shoal Lake Minute #27: William Ernest Ingersoll, Writer" (

The advertisements for both Pioneer City Express and City Express and Dray appeared in the Manitoba Free Press for May 9 and May 16, 1874.

Ham McMicken (3) / (Page  6)

For an account of the building of the Pembina branch railway line, see Albro Martin, James J. Hill and the Opening of the Northwest (New York: Oxford University Press, 1976), pp. 146-177. The construction of the Pembina branch was a cooperative project between Hill's Northern Pacific Railway and the CPR. Two track laying teams raced to meet at the Canadian border, but when the CPR team fell behind Canadian-born Hill sent men and equipment into Manitoba to help complete the line. The official opening ceremony took place at Penza on December 3, 1878.

According to Martin twenty "well bustled" women placed the last rail in position before the last spike was driven (p. 177). However, the Manitoba Free Press report makes no mention of this. The last 125 yards of rail were laid in a race between the Canadian and American track laying teams for the entertainment of the assembled gathering. Nevertheless the women did drive the last spike. Pairs of them took turns hitting the spike with a sledge hammer ("At Last!! Rail Communication Established. Driving the Last Spike," Manitoba Free Press, December 5, 1878, p. 1:3).

Ham McMicken (4) / (Page  7)

The anonymous Englishwoman's account of her trip in McMicken's omnibus was published in part seven of "Notes of a Journey to the North West Land," The Sunday at Home, March 3, 1883, p. 2. The series of nine articles was published in this British weekly magazine between January 20 and March 17, 1883. A complete set of the articles is in Archives Manitoba, MG1 B28.

For C.P. Brown and the dug-out see "Winnipeg Pioneer Back from London," Manitoba Free Press, December 23, 1911 p. 7. Corydon Partlow Brown, after whom Winnipeg's Corydon Avenue is named, promised to support McMicken in his dispute with ferry operator Robert Tait but reneged on his promise. McMicken jokingly spoke of the dug-out incident as getting revenge on Brown. See also "Brown, Corydon Partlow" in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (

Ham McMicken (5) / (Page  8)

The Manitoba Free Press reported on the Main Street bus service on July 16, 19 and 20, 1877, p. 1:3. The bus driver was William Gibson, one the North West Omnibus & Transfer employees who signed the testimonial presented to McMicken in December, 1881 (Manitoba Free Press, December 19, 1881, p. 8:3).

Competing omnibuses between 1880 and 1882 included those from the American Hotel (Manitoba Free Press, September 9, 1880, p. 1:3; Winnipeg Daily Times, September 10, 1880, p. 4:1), the Grand Central Hotel (Police Report, Archives Manitoba, M264, November 24, 1881) and the St. James Hotel (Police Report, January 12, 1882).

For Dave Storey's Herdic coach proposal see City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications 2709, June 12, 1882. See also "Herdic" in the Oxford English Dictionary and the Dictionary of American Biography.

Herdic coaches were low-slung closed carriages with a door in the rear and bench seats along the sides. Invented by Peter Herdic of Pennsylvania, two-and four-wheeled "herdics" enjoyed a vogue as cabs and omnibuses in New York, Boston and other eastern U.S. cities during the 1880's .

In a strange twist, the term "herdic" has long outlived its namesake. The cab regulations of Denver, Colorado (and perhaps other western U.S. cities) refer to "herdic" licenses, but it is unlikely that Denver ever saw a real herdic. More likely the regulations were originally copied holus bolus from those of some eastern city where herdics were in use and the term was carried over. In Denver "herdic" has become almost a legal synomym for "taxi". See "'Herdic’ licenses proving to be confusing provision" by Cathy Proctor, Denver Business Journal, August 22, 2010 (

Ham McMicken (6) / (Page  9)

For McMicken's coupes and fancy carriages see Winnipeg Daily Times,, March 23, 1882, p. 1:8. See also his ad "For the Ladies of Winnipeg," Winnipeg Sun, June 22, 1882, p. 3:2.

Connell & Burke (1) / (Page  10)

Bill Squires later joined with Charles "Dublin Dan" James to form the Winnipeg Cab Company. He died in 1918 (Manitoba Free Press, December 17, 1918, p. 9:4).

For Redmond Burke, see "Old-Time Business Man Dies," Manitoba Free Press, May 6, 1922, p. 8.

Connell & Burke (2) / (Page  11)

For obituaries of Arthur Pigott (1888-1957) see "Auto Agency Founder, A.R. Piggot [sic] Dies at 89," Winnipeg Tribune, July 13, 1957, p. 37; "A.F. Piggott [sic], 90, Well Known Here, Dies In Toronto," Winnipeg Free Press, July 13, 1957, p. 25. One of Pigott's cabs was involved in a collision with another car resulting in a lawsuit that was tried on July 10, 1913. Pigott's cab cut in front of the plaintiff's car but the judge dismissed the suit because the car was unregistered and the plaintiff had no driver's license. The decision was upheld on appeal (Western Weekly Reports, vol. 5 (1913) pp. 946-8).

The Palace (1) / (Page  12)

Morton Keachie, who came from Brantford, was a second cousin of the painter A.Y. Jackson. After the collapse of the Winnipeg boom he ran a restaurant in Toronto until his death in 1896 (letter from James Keachie, May 18, 1994).

"Birds eye" map of Winnipeg: "Entered according to Act of Parliament of Canada in the year 1884 by W.G. Fonseca in the Office of the Minister of Agriculture. Mortimer & Co. Lith Ottawa." The map (with comments) is accessible online at in a nice little collection of historic Manitoba maps. The source for the Flickr collection is the Library of Congress "American Memory" web site (link provided). The map is also reproduced in black and white in Artibise, Alan F.J. And Dahl, Edward H., Winnipeg in Maps 1816-1972 (Ottawa: National Map Collection, 1975), p. 22.

Street Cabs / (Page  14)

Fred C. Lucas, An Historical Souvenir Diary of the City of Winnipeg, Canada (Winnipeg, 1923), p. 22 refers to David Landrigan's ad appearing in "local papers" but I have not been able to locate it. Landrigan is also mentioned in Alexander Begg and Walter R. Nursey, Ten Years in Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Times Publishing House, 1879; available online at, p. 60.

Dave Storey (1) / (Page  15)

"David Storey Dead," Winnipeg Tribune, December 9, 1893, p. 4:1. Storey, "of a quiet and genial disposition," was only 44 years old when he died. He left his wife and seven children "considerable property" and a $7,000 life insurance policy.

Fargo stage coach route: Ontario businessman and politician William Clyde Caldwell made the same trip in October of 1878. His entertaining account of the frustrations he suffered by train and stage coach is in Diary of a Trip to Manitoba in 1878, Archives Manitoba, MG1 B26.

Telephone: "Daniel" [sic] Storey advertised his telephone connections in Henderson's Winnipeg Directory, 1881, p. 453.

English Jim: Manitoba Free Press, April 14, 1881, p. 1. After spending the night in jail English Jim "was fined $2 and $1.50 costs, $2.50 for damages to Dave Storey's hack, and $3 for breaking glass in the Farmer's Home, in all $9" (Winnipeg Times, April 14, 1881, p. 4:2).

Dave Storey (2) / (Page  16)

Dave Storey ran a grocery store as well; the Winnipeg Times for October 26, 1883, p. 8:1, reported a fire there. In 1889 Storey tried to sell the city an artesian well which had been drilled in front of the Bay Horse. The deal fell through because the hotel was heavily mortgaged and the mortgage company refused to be a party to the sale (Council Communications, Second Series, 1035, January 21, 1889.)

Dublin Dan (2) / (Page  17)

For obituaries of Charles "Dublin Dan" James see "Winnipeg Pioneer Cabman is Dead," Manitoba Free Press, October 9, 1911, p. 22; "Large Funeral for Charles James", Manitoba Free Press, October 11, 1911, p. 16; "'Dublin Dan' Old-Time Winnipeg Cab Driver Dead," Winnipeg Telegram, October 9, 1911, p. 1; "In 'Dublin Dan' Historic Figure is Lost to West," Winnipeg Tribune, October 9, 1911, p. 5.

The Horse Cab (1) / (Page  18)

An ad for William Harvey's Pioneer Livery offered two hearses available for hire (Manitoba Free Press, July 5, 1878, p. 3:4). Perhaps Harvey was inspired by a laconic query published four years earlier: "Why don't somebody go into the hearse business?" (Manitoba Free Press, August 24, 1874, p. 3). By 1888 Isaac Fullerton was advertising "the best hearses and carriages in the city at the lowest prices" (Manitoba Free Press, December 21, 1888, p. 4:5).

The Horse Cab (2) / (Page  19)

For wood block paving in Paris and English experiments with rubber paving, see André Guillerme and Sabine Barles, Histoire, statuts et administration de la voirie urbaine (Paris: Conservatoire national des arts et métiers. Centre d'histoire des techniques [no date]), p. 14; accessible online at

A slightly risqué postcard shows a Paris cab driver offering to drive on a street paved with wood so his amorous fares won't be disturbed; see Les Femmes Cocher: A Cocher Miscellany,(

For rubber tires and harness bells, see G.N. Georgano, A History of the London Taxicab (New York: Drake Publishers, 1973), p. 34. The tires were introduced by a cab company owned by the Earl of Shrewsbury and Talbot.

A postcard issued by Michelin celebrated the introduction of pneumatic tires on Paris cabs; see Les Femmes Cocher: A Cocher Miscellany,(

The Horse Cab (3) / (Page  20)

"... in this country, the swells, when they can't attend a funeral themselves, send their empty carriages, and the horses and the coachmen do the mourning for them." ( All the Year Round, October 29, 1864, p. 279 (serialization of George Augustus Sala's novel Quite Alone. Available online via Google Books.

The Horse Cab (5) / (Page  22)

Imported carriages: Ham McMicken's brother, Alexander, was claimed as a satisfied customer by the Canada Coach Company of Montreal (Henderson's Winnipeg Directory, 1877-78, p. 289).

Back and front seat: "Any gentleman knew that it was obligatory for him to sit with his back to the horses, unless the lady invited him to join her on the front seat.... When no 'cavalier' was present, the youngest lady was expected to take the gentleman's or back seat...." (Frank E. Huggett, Carriages at Eight: Horse-Drawn Society in Victorian and Edwardian Times (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1979, p. 50).

Cab Stands (1) / (Page  23)

City council passed eight separate bylaws designating cabs stands betweeen 1880 and 1887. See Norman Beattie, "The Cab Trade in Winnipeg, 1871-1910," Urban History Review, p. 51, note 35.

For complaints by Boyd & Co. and the Queen's Hotel see City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications, Second Series, 281, September 20, 1886 (letter from Boyd & Co.); 341, November 15, 1886 (letter from Boyd & Co.'s lawyers); 351, November 22, 1886 (letter from Queen's Hotel lawyers).

For the Queen's Hotel itself, see the Winnipeg Tribune, October 6, 1945, p. 17 (also in Manitoba Legislative Library History Scrapbook M9, p. 143); and Winnipeg Tribune, August 8, 1948, p. 13 (also in History Scrapbook M10 p. 53).

Cab Stands (2) / (Page  24)

The 1886 city hall was demolished in 1962. For a brief history of Winnipeg's first and second city halls see Alan F.J. Artibise, "Winnipeg's City Halls 1876-1965," Manitoba Pageant, Spring 1977, Volume 22, Number 3 (

Cab Stands (3) / (Page  25)

For John Brownlee's complaint see City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications, Second Series, 494, May 9, 1887. Brownlee's letter is a commentary on lax enforcement because the 1881 Winnipeg bylaw clearly prohibited the kind of behaviour that he complained about:

drivers shall not stand in groups of three or more, or in anywise obstruct the use of the sidewalks, or needlessly snap their whips, or make any loud noise, or disturbance, or use obscene, impertinent or abusive language, or molest, annoy or insult the owners, occupiers, inmates or inhabitants of any house opposite to or in the vicinity of their stands, or any passengers or other persons.
(Bylaw 135, A By Law relating to Cabs, Carriages, Omnibuses, and other Vehicles used for hire for the conveyance of persons in the city of Winnipeg, March 7, 1881, section 34).

This provision seems to have been lifted almost verbatim from the 1878 Kingston, Ontario cab bylaw, which itself was likely adapted from earlier sources:

drivers ... shall not stand in groups or in anywise obstruct the use of the sidewalks, or needlessly snap their whips or make any loud noise or disturbance, or use obscene, impertinent or abusive language, or molest, annoy or insult the owners, occupiers, inmates or inhabitants of any house opposite to or in the vicinity of their stands, or any passenger or other person.
By-Law Relating to Cabs, Carriages, Omnibuses, and Other Vehicles used for Hire for the Conveyance of Persons in the City of London, February 9, 1878, section 37, in Charter and by-laws of the city of London: including by-laws of the Board of Police Commissioners, and important agreements entered into by the Corporation of the City of London (1880). London, Ont: Free Press Print. Office, 1880, p. 255. Book available online at

It was common practice to copy chunks bylaws from other jurisdictions, sometimes blindly, but in fact the prohibitions against cab drivers snapping whips, annoying passersby and obstructing sidewalks run like a leitmotif through 19th century cab legislation in the U.S. and Canada. Several examples are accessible on the web. In fairness, the legislation was also directed against draymen and carters and in our own day groups of loitering males, such as construction workers, have been criticized for similar bad behaviour.

In the 19th century, however, when class divisions ran deep, cab driver shenanigans could take on sinister implications as Sir Richard Bonnycastle revealed in his book Canada and the Canadians (1849):

The cabmen and carters of Kingston, it is said, elect the Aldermen and Common Council. Whether this be true or false, I cannot pretend to say, but it is very certain that a more insolent, ungoverned race than the cabmen does not exist anywhere. The best position on the best promenade is occupied by these fellows; and no respectable female or timid man dares [201/202] to pass them without coarse insult; and, if complaint is made, they mark the complainant; and, if they keep a sleigh or carriage, make a point of running races near them, and cracking heavy whips to frighten the horses. One of these ruffians frightened a gentleman's horse last winter, and threw him, his wife, and daughter on the pavement, in consequence of the animal running away, and overturning the vehicle they were in. They know all the grooms and servants and act according as they like or dislike them, caring very little what their masters hear or see. The carters are somewhat better, as there are decent men among them....
Canada and the Canadians, by Sir Richard Henry Bonnycastle (1791-1847), Lt. Col. Royal Engineers and Militia of Canada West. London, H. Colburn, 1849. 2 vols; vol. 2, pp. 201-202.)

Horse cab drivers could certainly be intimidating but it is hard to believe that collectively they had enough influence to control a city government or enough malice to carry out coordinated acts of vengeance. Granting the likelihood that Sir Richard's accusations had some basis in fact, his diatribe as a whole smacks of the generalized fear and suspicion with which upper and middle class people viewed the lower orders (see Street Cabs vs Livery Cabs).

Street vs Livery Cabs (1) / (Page  26)

For disorderly conduct see "Hackmen's Revel," Nor'Wester, May 13, 1897, p. 3:2; and "A License Question" (editorial), May 17, p. 4:2.

Street vs Livery Cabs (2) / (Page  27)

For telephone use in Winnipeg's red light district see James Gray, Red Lights on the Prairies (Toronto, Macmillan, 1971) p. 54 and Manitoba Royal Commission on Vice in Winnipeg, Report (1911), p. 13.

My grandmother, Reata (Orr) Norman (1888-1979) met a Winnipeg street cab driver in Rosewood, a community about 25 miles east of the city. W. George Liversadge was a young Englishman who turned up in Rosewood to "learn farming". Farming didn't appeal to him and he drifted to Winnipeg where one of his former neighbours discovered him on a cab stand. Liversadge told the rural visitor that most of his customers were men going to the red light district. The story went back to Rosewood where Liversadge became a local proverb for how the big city worked its evil on impressionable youngsters. The City of Winnipeg Auditor's Report lists Liversadge as purchasing a cab driver license in 1903.

Street vs Livery Cabs (3) / (Page  28)

Dave Storey: According to the Auditor's Report Storey licensed street cabs in 1878 and 1879, but in 1880 he licensed only one street cab, the others being covered by his livery license. Evidently the livery cab business was not profitable enough because he went back to taking out street cab licenses in 1881.

Cab numbers: "the owner of every licensed cab shall provide and have two lamps, one on each side of his cab, with the number of the cab painted in black on the side glasses, in three inch figures" (Bylaw 135, A By-Law relating to Cabs, Carriages, Omnibuses, and other Vehicles used for hire for the conveyance of persons in the city of Winnipeg, section 30, "Lamps", March 7, 1881).

The 1910 cab bylaw (section 34) specified that horse cabs display number plates issued by the city license inspector, but taxicabs registered under the provincial Motor Vehicles Act were specifically exempted, no doubt because their license numbers were deemed sufficient for identification purposes (By-Law No. 5927, A By-Law of the City of Winnipeg relating to owners of Cabs and other vehicles used for the conveyance of persons, and the drivers therof, passed May 23, 1910). The exemption remained in force until 1955 when the Manitoba Taxicab Board required all Winnipeg cabs to display sequential numbers from 1 to 400. This action came at the request of the Winnipeg Taxicab Owners Association to make identification easier "in case of lost articles or dissatisfaction." See "It's A Gimmick: Taxis Sport Big Numbers," Winnipeg Free Press, April 1, 1955, p. 3; also Winnipeg Tribune, April 1, 1955, p. 23.

The idea that the cab drivers in the photo may have been hired for the photo shoot is suggested by the fact that Paris horse cabs shown in postcards often have their meters turned on. See (for example) Les Femmes Cocher: Mme Charnier, (

Street vs Livery Cabs (4) / (Page  29)

For Charles Knox's opposition to livery cab numbering see "Cab Owners Down on the New Bylaw," Winnipeg Telegram, January 29, 1910, p. 18; and "Will License Cabs, Drivers," Winnipeg Tribune, January 29, 1910, p.3.

Mud (1) / (Page  31)

Mrs. Mercer's: Winnipeg Times, April 14, 1882, p. 4:1. Thomas Seaborne: "Disgraceful Streets," Winnipeg Daily Times, October 20, 1883, p. 6:1.

Mud (2) / (Page  32)

The first plank platform was constructed in response to a petition from the "licensed Hackmen of this city" on behalf of their horses (City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Communications 2012, September 20, 1880).

The City of Winnipeg Auditor's Reports list $652.60 in expenditures for the construction of plank cab and dray stands between September, 1886 and April, 1887. Cedar block paving of Main Street commenced in 1884.

The Auditor's Reports have been published under various titles from 1877 to date. The most complete set of the early reports is in the City of Winnipeg Archives. Another set is in the Winnipeg Millennium Library.

Mark Twain: See "'Mark Twain,' Author & Lecturer," Winnipeg Tribune, July 26, 1895, p. 5. More formal interviews with the Tribune, Telegram and Free Press , all published on July 27, 1895, are reproduced in Gary Scharnhorst, ed., Mark Twain: The Complete Intervies (Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 2006), pp. 160-162 (preview accessible on Google Books).

Half rates on paving materials: Ruben Bellan, Winnipeg First Century: An Economic History (Winnipeg: Queenston House, 1978), p. 58 (note 11).

Two-Horse Cabs (1) / (Page  33)

For heavy chariots and powerful roadsters see "Some Civic Problems," Winnipeg Telegram, February 4, 1910, p.4.

Two-Horse Cabs (2) / (Page  34)

For Dublin Dan's complaint about wages, see "Says Cab Tariffs Are Reasonable," Manitoba Free Press, February 3, 1910, p. 13.

Two-Horse Cabs (3) / (Page  35)

For A.S. Bardal's opposition to the proposed speed limit see "Will License Cabs, Drivers," Winnipeg Tribune, January 29, 1910, p. 3. In London, where cabs were drawn by one horse and the street traffic was heavier, the minimum speed was four miles per hour.

Railway Stations (4) / (Page  39)

For early Manitoba automobile registrations see Historical Statistics of Canada Table T147-194b: Motor vehicle registrations, by province, 1903 to 1975: New Brunswick, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba ( The table is in spreadsheet format.

Early Automobiles / (Page  43)

For E.B. Kenrick and his car see Bruce Cherney, "Era of jaunty jalopies — first annual endurance run to Brandon was a competition for the Oldsmobile Trophy", Winnipeg Real Estate News (

According to census figures, Winnipeg's population was 7,985 in 1881 and 136,035 in 1911. City Assessment Office figures for the same years put the population at 6,245 in 1881 and 151,958 in 1911 (Alan F.J. Artibise, Winnipeg: A Social History of Urban Growth, 1874-1914 (Montreal, McGill-Queen's University Press, 1975), pp. 130-131).

Private Carriages (1) / (Page  44)

Sir Augustus Meridith Nanton (1860-1925) was one of Winnipeg's most influential business leaders. Forced to leave school at 13 to support his mother and younger siblings, he rose from office boy to partner in the mortgage firm of Osler, Hammond and Nanton. He was one of Winnipeg's 19 millionaires in 1910 and was knighted in 1917 for his war work. See "Nanton, Sir Augustus Meredith" in Dictionary of Canadian Biography Online (

Taxicabs (1) / (Page  46)

For early license registrations, see Norman Beattie, Owners and Chauffeurs to 1910 (July, 1992). Unpublished alphabetical, numerical and geographical list of Manitoba automobile owners and chauffeurs from 1907 to 1910, based on a typescript in the Provincial Archives of Manitoba (MG11 A10). The three companies were the Taxicab & Auto Livery Co. (1 car), the Manitoba Auto & Taxi Co. (6 cars) and the Winnipeg Taxicab Co. (21 cars).

Taxicabs (2) / (Page  47)

Bradley Taxi: After founder Arthur Bradley died in 1935, his wife Grace ran the company until her death in 1943 ("Mrs. G. Bradley Dies At Home," Winnipeg Tribune, February 2, 1943, p. 13). Their nephew, Norman E. Blair, ran the company until 1948.

John Blackie: Letter from John Blackie, October, 1989.

Taxicabs (3) / (Page  48)

John Blackie, George Ewing: Letters from John Blackie and George Ewing, October, 1989.

Jitneys (1) / (Page  49)

For the impact of jitneys on streetcar revenues, see Walter E. Bradley, "A History of Transportation in Winnipeg," Manitoba Historical Society Transactions, Series 3, 1958-1959 Season (; and John E. Baker, Winnipeg's Electric Transit: The Story of Winnipeg's Streetcars and Trolley Busses (Toronto: Railfare, 1982), p. 57.

For jitneys in Canada, see Donald F. Davis, "Competition's Moment: The Jitney Bus and Corporate Capitalism in the Canadian City, 1914 to 1929," Urban History Review, 18, October, 1989, pp. 103-122.

Jitneys (2) / (Page  50)

For fleet owners, see Norman Beattie, Owners and Chauffeurs to 1910 (July, 1992). Unpublished alphabetical, numerical and geographical list of Manitoba automobile owners and chauffeurs from 1907 to 1910, based on a typescript in the Provincial Archives of Manitoba (MG11 A10).

For "best livery cars in town" see ads for the McLaughlin Carriage Company in Henderson's Winnipeg Directory, 1910, pp. 1012, 1046 and elsewhere.

As part of the agreement that led to the banning of jitneys in 1918, the Winnipeg Electric Street Railway agreed to initiate motor bus service along Westminster Avenue and such other streets as the Winnipeg city council might designate in future (John E. Baker, Winnipeg's Electric Transit: The Story of Winnipeg's Streetcars and Trolley Busses (Toronto: Railfare, 1982), p. 58). Did the jitneys demonstrate the viability of Westminster and other bus routes?

Jitneys (4) / (Page  52)

For the numbers of jitneys between 1915 and 1918, see "'Jitney' Threat to Transit System: 663 'Cabs' On Streets", Winnipeg Tribune, September 17, 1955, p. 41 (included in a special section on the history of Winnipeg Transit commemorating the replacement of streetcars by buses).

Jitneys (5) / (Page  53)

Winnipeg taxi companies depended on the telephone for a large part of their business so it is not surprising that so many display ads appear in the telephone book from 1914 onward. In doing so, however, the taxi companies almost completely abandoned Henderson's Directory. In 1936 Henderson's stopped listing taxi companies in its classified business directory, substituting a note that invited interested persons to consult a list at the Henderson's Directory office. The ban lasted until 1956 but even then the classified directory only listed companies that paid for listings (Moore's, Grosvenor, Yellow and Veterans-Nash).

Meterless Taxis / (Page  55)

Surreal moment: Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950" Urban History Review 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), p. 9, citing City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Committee on Health, File 1061(4), Mayor Ralph Webb, Memorandum regarding proceedings at conference between taxicab owners and myself, January 25, 1933.

"Old Line Companies" (1) / (Page  56)

Petition from old line companies: Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), p. 14.

"Old Line Companies" (2) / (Page  57)

More information about Diamond Taxi staff members::

Tony Dorco / (Page  58)

Don Kelvin, "Taxi!" Canadian Magazine, June, 1927, pp. 11-13, 37-41.

George Moore (2) / (Page  60)

Moore's fleet: Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), p. 12.

The Winnipeg Taxi War (1) / (Page  61)

This summary of the Winnipeg Taxi War is based primarily on Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), 7-22.

The Winnipeg Taxi War (3) / (Page  63)

Coupons: "Coupons Given By Taxi Firms Now Illegal," Winnipeg Tribune, March 19, 1935, p. 2.

Unmarked cars: This harmless snobbery has a long history. In the 1600s in England early hackney coach operators equipped themselves with the cast-off coaches of aristocratic families. The coaches usually had the family coat of arms painted on the doors. The new owners found it profitable to leave the coats of arms intact because their plebeian customers enjoyed posing as aristocrats, much to the dismay of the former owners. See G.N. Georgano, A History of the London Taxicab (New York: Drake, 1973), p. 20.

John Blackie: Letter from John Blackie, October, 1989. According to Wikipedia the Elcar automobile was manufactured from 1915 to 1931.

The Winnipeg Taxi War (4) / (Page  64)

Claude P. Detloff (1899-1978) was chief photographer of the Winnipeg Tribune from 1925 to 1936. He then moved to Vancouver as the chief photographer of the Vancouver Province.

His most famous photograph, entitled "Wait for me, Daddy!" showed a small boy running after his father as he marched in a column of soldiers departing for Europe in 1940. The photo was used in war bond drives and was eventually named one of the ten best pictures of the 1940s by Life Magazine.

Over 250 of Detloff's photos are in the Vancouver city archives (use the search engine to search on "detloff").

Unfortunately for us Dettloff sold his candid camera photos to the Tribune on a freelance basis so the negatives and original prints remained his property and were not retained by the newspaper. Until and unless the original photos turn up grainy, postage-stamp sized reproductions are all we have.

Nevertheless, these little pictures do give a glimpse of cab life in 1935 Winnipeg: a driver waiting for fares outside his taxi with the February wind whipping at his overcoat, another taxi parked in a snowdrift, and the older model square-bodied sedans that competed with George Moore's sleek new cars.

The Winnipeg Taxi War (9) / (Page  69)

Gus Candaele (1898-1976) was born in Belgium and came to St. Boniface with his parents in 1906. He served in the Canadian Army in both World Wars. Candaele had the trip of lifetime in 1935 when he was hired to take three local men to Chicago for a Black Hawks-Canadiens hockey game ("Thousand-Mile Taxi Drive to See Hockey in Chicago Fails to Phase Candaele," Winnipeg Free Press, March 9, 1935, p. 28).

In 1940, working as a driver for Crescent Taxi, he helped Winnipeg police trace the movements of two men wanted for the killing of a police officer during a robbery (Jack Templeman, "The Murder of Constable John McDonald" ( After he returned from World War II he and his family settled in New Westminster B.C. See Herbert Rickards, "Pvt Gaston Candaele" at (

Charles "Dublin Dan" James threatened to play the St. Boniface card back in 1910. Incensed at a proposed lowering of cab fares following the introduction of taxicabs, James said that "to lower the rates is either going to drive the cab man out altogether, or to force them across the river where they can get a square deal" ("Says Cab Tariffs Are Reasonable," Manitoba Free Press, February 3, 1910, p. 13).

The Winnipeg Taxi War (10) / (Page  70)

Lead the pack: Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), p. 17.

The Winnipeg Taxi War (11) / (Page  71)

"Moore's Taxi Gets Two-Way Radio For Speedier Trips," Winnipeg Tribune, November 17, 1947, p. 7. In July, 1946, there was a demonstration of a "two-way FM broadasting unit" at a meeting of the American Taxicab Association at the Fort Garry Hotel ("Taxi Radio System to Be Demonstrated," Winnipeg Tribune, July 23, 1946, p. 11).

World War II / (Page  72)

This summary of events from World War II to the 1950 is based on Donald F. Davis, "The Canadian Taxi Wars, 1925-1950," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), pp. 7-22.

Women / (Page  73)

For the 1932 Winnipeg bylaw, see Kimberly Berry, "She's no lady: the experience and expression of gender among Halifax women taxi drivers since World War II," Urban History Review, vol. 27 no. 1 (October, 1998), p. 34, footnote 21, citing City of Winnipeg Archives, Council Committee on Health, File 1061.

For the 1958 firings, see "Cab Firm Fires Women Drivers," Winnipeg Tribune, August 27, 1958, p. 1.

Postwar to the 1950s (1) / (Page  74)

"60 Veterans Allowed Taxi Cab Licenses," Winnipeg Tribune, July 30, 1946, p. 3.

Postwar to the 1950s (2) / (Page  75)

Wheelchair vans: Veterans-Nash was the first company to introduce wheel chair vans. The Taxicab Board approved the Veterans-Nash application in February, 1967 ("Wheelchair Cabs Seen For City," Winnipeg Free Press, January 25, 1967, p. 3; "Board approves wheelchair cabs," Winnipeg Tribune, February 3, 1967, p. 8).

Postwar to the 1950s (3) / (Page  76)

Colours: In 1935 the Taxicab Board banned the use of bright colours, such as white, yellow and orange even though the use of distinctive fleet colours was common elsewhere. The ban was finally lifted in 1951, probably because it had become unworkable. It was clearly unfair to force cab owners to use only dark or neutral colours when cars were now being manufactured with a wide range of paint jobs, including two-tone. In 1951 the Board granted permission for Yellow Cab to paint their cars yellow. Two other companies had distinctive colour combinations approved. However, most Winnipeg companies did not bother with uniform colour schemes, relying on roof lights and door signs to draw attention to their cabs. See "City Cabs Wear Jaunty Dress; Color Ban Ends," Winnipeg Tribune, January 17, 1951, p. 1.

Taxi prices: "Monopoly Created: Leipsic," Winnipeg Tribune, November 30, 1956, p. 11; "Taxi cab quota won't increase," Winnipeg Tribune, December 9, 1965, p. 3; Don Atkinson, "Chairman considers taxi finance probe," Winnipeg Tribune, April 5, 1971, p. 20.

For comments on the impact of license transfer, see Terry Smythe, On Matters Relative to Licences and Their Values. This is one of a series of essays on the taxicab industry entitled Taxicab Myths, Mysteries and Truths by a former general manager of the Manitoba Taxicab Board.

Postwar to the 1950s (4) / (Page  77)

I first heard about a "gentleman's agreement" governing the CN station stand in 1978 when I started driving a taxi in Winnipeg. I never saw it in action because I never used the stand (not many passenger trains were coming to Winnipeg anymore, especially during the night shift). For newspaper references see Val Werier, "Airport concessions to taxicab companies," Winnipeg Tribune, May 7, 1964, p. 13 and Marilyn Dill, "Few like airport taxi system, but..." Winnipeg Tribune, December 14, 1968, p. 28.

Murder and Mayhem (2) / (Page  79)

For an account of the Johann Johnson murder investigation and its aftermath, see W.E. Morriss, Watch the Rope (Watson & Dwyer, 1996), pp. 33-97 and appendix 193-194. Manitoba author Patricia Blondal (1926-1959) attended the trials of Lawrence Deacon and wrote a novel based on the Johnson case entitled Good Friday. The unpublished manuscript is in the Patricia Blondal fonds at the University of British Columbia Library.

Murder and Mayhem (3) / (Page  80)

The Winnipeg Tribune published editorials on the need for shields; see "Protection for Cabbies," February 28, 1952, p. 6 and January 25, 1955, p. 6; also March 19, 1955, p. 19.

The 1950s to the 1960s (3) / (Page  81)

Winnipeg Tribune, July 4, 1961, p. 19 (George Moore obituary). Don Atkinson, "Cab co-op faring 'very well'," Winnipeg Tribune, August 25, 1972, p. 13 (separate dispatch and call-taking). "Cabbies near to owning firm," Winnipeg Tribune, November 11, 1971, p. 31 (Associated Winnipeg Taxis and Y & Y Holdings).

Powerful new players: In 1959 Dominion Motors applied to the Taxicab Board for 50 cab licenses. The Board refused to issue licenses beyond the 400 cab limit and Dominion Motors, along with ten other applicants, went away empty handed ("More Cabs? All Are Mum," Winnipeg Tribune, February 5, 1959, p. 23).

The 1950s to the 1960s (3) / (Page  82)

"Nash Taxi company Sold for $195,000," Winnipeg Tribune, September 12, 1951, p. 15 (the deal included Jack's Taxi and Noble's Taxi, subsidiaries of Nash.) See also "Two Taxi Companies Merge In City," Winnipeg Tribune, March 8, 1952, p. 21. Harry Levin was soon back in the taxi business as the owner of Yellow Cab ("Levin Buys Yellow Cab And U-Drive," Winnipeg Tribune, May 12, 1952, p. 15.

The 1950s to the 1960s (3) / (Page  83)

Duffy's Taxi: "New cab group would fight for concessions," Winnipeg Tribune, April 25, 1964, p. 13; "New taxi fleet approved," Winnipeg Tribune, May 6, 1964, p. 13; Duffy's fleet has 88 taxis," Winnipeg Tribune, May 7, 1964, p. 13; Eva Wiseman, "It's hail... and often farewell... for cab riders," Winnipeg Tribune, May 17, 1969, p.39; Cathy Schaffter, "Taxi! Beefs and bouquets, essentials and trivia about cabs and cabbies", Winnipeg Tribune, July 22, 1978, p. 23.

Unicity Taxi: Gordon Arnold, "Says Cabs' Take And Safety Improved," Winnipeg Free Press, January 12, 1972 p. 3; Elaine Brown, "Unicity's Taxis Success -- Not Everyone's Happy," Winnipeg Free Press, March 26, 1974, p. 13.

Charles Wedley (2) / (Page  87)

The Wedley papers are in Archives Manitoba, Despatch Taxi and Garage Co., Winnipeg (MG11 A31). "The records consist of cash books, 1920-21, 1934-1953; customer charge account register, 1944-49, and a journal, 1951-66" (finding aid). One of Wedley's customers was the author Ralph Connor (Dr. Charles Gordon).

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