Poster of Streetcar Regulations

Date:
Record:
GR-0431, Box 5, File 2

This document was part of evidence presented and filed at the inquest into the Point Ellice Bridge disaster, the largest accident in Victoria’s history, and still the worst public transit accident in Canadian history.

On May 26, 1896, 55 men, women and children were killed on their way to Esquimalt to watch mock Royal Navy battles, part of the Victoria Day celebrations. The eventual cause of the accident was deemed to be overloading of the car, with many people riding on the exterior. The combined weight of the streetcar and the 143 passengers aboard caused the bridge to collapse.

In spite of the posted regulation, the streetcar company was found jointly negligent with the City of Victoria. We also have many photographs of the aftermath of the incident, but this piece of paper seems to connect the present to the past in a very strong way.

The inquest records came to us from the Department of the Attorney General, which was required to collect copies of all inquests held in the province, and they include eyewitness accounts and ephemera such as this poster. As a series, they offer us fascinating glimpses into ordinary lives affected by extraordinary tragedies.

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