Winnipeg Cab History / 14: Street Cabs
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The cabs in this photo are parked about a block west of their accustomed roost in front of the Queen's Hotel, perhaps because the Queen's owners had complained to city council about them. The cab bylaw allowed licence plates to be transferred from carriages to sleighs but it is possible that these sleighs are carriages with their wheels temporarily replaced by runners.


c[irca] 1885. Horse drawn taxicabs on Portage Ave., west from Notre Dame. Archives Manitoba, Transportation -- Sleigh 3 (Negative N840).

Winnipeg Cab History / 14

Street Cabs

The horse cab business quickly evolved into two distinct branches -- "livery" cabs (which operated out of livery stables) and "street" cabs (which were licensed to pick up fares at public cab stands or when hailed). The split was comparable to the present day division between limousines and taxis.

The licensing of street cabs opened the cab business to small operators who could not afford to build or purchase a livery stable. Unlike livery cabs, street cabs were required to display numbers so that they could be readily identified by the police or by dissatisfied customers.

Livery cabs did not require numbers because all trips originated at the owner's stable. Livery stable owners, like hotel keepers, were required by law to keep a daily record of customers and transactions.

Winnipeg's first street cab was introduced by David Landrigan in 1872 who placed this advertisement in local newspapers:

Cab for hire. Any person desiring to hire a cab to any part of the town of Winnipeg can find one at the stand in front of the Davis Hotel. -- David Landrigan.

The Davis Hotel was on the west side of Main Street just north of Portage Avenue. Unfortunately Landrigan's cab didn't attract many fares and he moved on to greener pastures.


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