Brian Croft
Painting the History of Vancouver and British Columbia

309. Park Row New Westminster - 1909

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

15 x19 (inches) sn $400, ap $480, pp $530

From an original painting by Brian Croft

“Park Row, New Westminster – 1909” 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.

My painting “Park Row, New Westminster – 1909” is a warm and sunny glimpse into the golden days of streetcar service. Streetcar #39 rumbles and clangs along Park Row in New Westminster on a sunny afternoon. This street is still a fine neighborhood today and it is easy to imagine the busy stream of pedestrians walking on wooden sidewalks to and from Queens Park.

This painting was one of the smallest in this collection. There is nothing grand or elaborate in the scene. As I painted I was drawn by a pleasant sense of community and neighborhood that emerged on the canvas. In the end Park Row glowed with a simple elegance, a painting of a wonderful time in our past.

Brian Croft