TAXI-L Gallery of Cab History

Connell & Burke Livery Stable, 1885.

(Winnipeg, Manitoba - 1)

This picture, probably taken in 1885 or 1886, shows the Connell & Burke livery stable. It was located on the west side of Main Street, just north of Broadway, about two blocks from the Red River. Connell & Burke were long-time Winnipeg cab operators.

Connell & Burke seem to have trotted out their best vehicles for the photo. One cab is parked on the plank sidewalk, in contravention of the street bylaw. A second one is in the street, and, barely distinguishable at the far right, an open cab with a top-hatted driver is parked in front of an omnibus.

The tracks of Winnipeg's horse-drawn street car system can be faintly seen threading their way through the mud in the foreground. Winnipeggers were justly proud of their Red River "gumbo". Mark Twain was called upon to admire it when he visited Winnipeg in 1895, and he graciously rose to the occasion. "I have never seen real mud since I left the Missouri till today," he declared.

Michael Connell and Redmond Burke built their stable in 1877. Redmond Burke was born in the U.S. and was a stagecoach driver in the Black Hills of South Dakota before coming to Canada. Connell dropped out of the partnership sometime during the 1890's, but Burke remained in the cab business until his retirement about 1905.

Between 1879 and 1882 the stable was the headquarters of Ham McMicken's North West Omnibus and Transfer Company which, thanks to McMicken's Conservative party connections, enjoyed a monopoly of the Canadian Pacific Railway freight business in Winnipeg. The street scene below shows the stable and its surroundings in 1881. Connell & Burke took over the stable again by 1886.

For the sake of contrast, here (below) is another photo of the same stable taken in 1912. Main Street is now paved, and the automobile has taken over. The 27 Russells are not taxis; they are privately-owned cars ready to set off on a "sociability run".

Picture source: (1) Provincial Archives of Manitoba, Stovell Advocate Collection, 6; (2) PAM, Wnnipeg - Streets - Main - 1881 -1; (3) PAM, Foote Collection, 908.

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Revised February 13, 1998