Brian Croft
Painting the History of Vancouver and British Columbia

305. Vancouver Public Market - 1908

Limited Edition Stretched Canvas Giclee Print, (unframed): sn95, ap10, pp5

20x32 (inches) sn $700, ap $800, pp $850

From an original painting by Brian Croft

“Vancouver Public Market – 1908” is one of the original paintings in my “Streetcars of Vancouver” collection. The collection is intended to bring to life the colourful and exciting story of the British Columbia Electric Railway Company (BCER) and its electrified streetcar and tram service.

When the first six brand new streetcars began operations on June 27, 1890, the only other city in North America operating electric streetcars was New York City. The first streetcar lines were installed and operated by fledgling companies, which were formed in rapid succession during the difficult early start-up years. First the Vancouver Street Railway Co, then the Vancouver Electric Railway and Light Co, New Westminster service was started by the Westminster & Vancouver Tramway Company and eventually Consolidated Railway and Light Company took over the combined financially troubled operations. New capitol was eventually organized with the formation of the BCER Co. in 1897. Under the able leadership of Robert Horne-Payne the newly formed BCER began to flourish marking the beginning of what was to be a new and long era of success.

“Vancouver Public Market – 1908” shows Tram #75 in front of the market on a fine autumn day.

The market was located just north of 1st Avenue and just west of Main. It was built on pilings driven into the bed of False Creek and faced East onto Main Street. Streetcar service on Main Street stopped adjacent to market. The market was a grand building complete with a market restaurant and generous skylights and windows. It was 150 ft. wide at the front and housed 92 stalls for vendors, many of which were supplied by produce brought down the Fraser River by the Steamer “Stassa”.

Construction of the market was completed in May 1908. Subsequently it was necessary to move the building back “several feet” to make way for the new Main Street Bridge. 3000 people attended the Grand opening of the market on August 15, 1908. A fire destroyed the structure on November 10, 1925.

Streetcar # 75 was built by BCER in New Westminster shops in 1905. It was a two man, single end. After 44 years of service, Tram # 75 was scrapped in March 1949.

Brian Croft