Winnipeg's third city hall was completed in 1886 and a cab stand was established on Main Street in front of it. This photo, dated October 22, 1900, is one of several pictures showing cabs parked on this stand.
In the original of this photograph, it is possible to see the driver leaning far over to his right to talk to a customer on the other side of the cab, whose legs are visible between the wheels.
The stand seems to have been popular with cab drivers, likely because the city's central business district had expanded northward to include this stretch of Main Street. Moreover, since the stand was in front of a public park, there were no complaints from storekeepers or their customers.
There was space on the stand for only about six cabs, but this does not seem to have been a problem. Street paving and the expansion of the business district probably gave cabbies several new unofficial stands. The fact that the drivers no longer tended to concentrate in one place probably made them less obnoxious to merchants (and to city politicians).
The 1903 photo below shows three cabs parked on the block-long stand. Although a cab with a team of horses occupied about twice the parking space of an automobile, and required considerably more room to manoeuvre, the symmetrical arrangement of the three cabs was probably ordained by the photographer.
The second and third cabs in the photo have left plenty of room for other drivers to cut in front of them, something that would not likely occur in real life. Besides, Winnipeg cabbies were much too gregarious to park this far apart.
Picture source: (1) Western Canada Pictorial Index, 1348-40284. "Photo from a stereoscopic image by McKim Oct. 22, 1900. Photo courtesy Dennis Downey." (2) Provincial Archives of Manitoba, Outsize 133/1. Published in Steen, James Elder (1846-1909), Illustrated Souvenir of Winnipeg (Winnipeg, Martel's, 1903) p. 11.
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Revised February 13, 1998