Recently, Cameron Booth (aka @transitmap) posted a small thumbnail of an Victoria streetcar map I’d never seen before. Apparently at one point in time it had been posted to vihistory.ca but the links and map viewer were no longer working. Information on vihistory.ca lead me to contacting Dr. Patrick Dunae, who is an Adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of History at the University of Victoria. He very kindly answered my questions and provided his original scan of the map (which can be downloaded in high-res here). Dr. Dunae also said that his notes indicated this map was from 1902.
This map is beautifully detailed, showing forest, farmland, naval vessels, some select buildings, and my personal favourite curiousity – “headquarters of the sealing fleet”. The streetcar system (run by the British Columbia Electric Railway) is clearly shown in red, with almost no street names being listed except where the network runs. Interestingly, this other map (listed as ‘December 1902’) shows several more lines extending into Fairfield, Vic West, and Hillside. It’s possible this map is from earlier than 1902, but it’s also certainly possible Victoria (and its streetcar network) expanded quickly throughout 1902. Also worth noting is the Mount Baker Hotel, which is shown here perhaps for the last time as it burns down in September of 1902.
The last streetcar ran in Victoria in 1948. Today there’s constant talk (and little more) of bringing commuter rail back to southern Vancouver Island. But it’s doubtful we’ll ever see rails in Victoria’s streets again, despite what some might dream up.