I was reading an article about cars, or rather automobiles, in the very early days in Canada. What a hoot. The rhetoric I hear today is still the same.
Let’s take a walk or, rather, a ride down memory lane.
Alberta had its first automobile in 1901. The province joined Confederation just four years later. I thought the timing was interesting, though unrelated. A year after joining, there was a problem with “reckless” drivers in Calgary and Edmonton.
Common sense prevailed, and speed limits were introduced. Rural vs. Urban; 20 miles per hour in the country and 10 miles per hour in the city. An added limitation was that if the car startled a horse, the vehicle had to stop until the horse had passed. It didn’t say what you’d do if horse and car were travelling in the same direction. The mind boggles at the imagery.
Further, cars had to be licenced, with many folks protesting as a trick for the province to raise revenue.
A couple of decades later, Calgary was interested in installing “stop and go” traffic signs. General Electric was promoting them. They claimed it would free police officers to investigate more serious matters.
Calgary politicians said ”the electric lights were just a fad, and that car drivers and pedestrians wouldn’t want to be regulated by a mechanical device.:
Let’s check out Ontario’s path.
In 1898 the first cars had arrived. Then in 1903, there was a 15 mph speed limit and 198 licences being issued.
Now it starts to get fun. In 1908 the Ford Model T began to be mass-produced. In 1909 the province introduced driver’s licenses. Here’s the wrinkle I enjoyed, as it was only for those who drove cars owned by others or chauffeurs’ licences. It took almost two decades before all drivers needed a licence. No need to upset high society with the petty requirement. Oh, did I mention the province had also introduced a gasoline tax?
We still have one, but it is tough to figure out how much it is. When I do, I bet it is a lot!
By 1908 Prince Edward Island had seven cars. Many referred to them as terror wagons, devil wagons, and an instrument of death. The official response was to ban all vehicles. That lasted six years. But we had to have a wrinkle as they backed into the future. The law stated that 75% of people living along a road had to approve allowing vehicles. Chaos ensued but wasn’t abolished until after World War II.
Please give this a bit of a think. What is a recent change that annoyed you? Let’s say enough to tell others. Now try taking a step away – a little further – a bit more. There! Now with this new perspective how do things look? Is there a little less black and white and a bit more grey? No need to change your mind or feel less annoyed. Just enjoy the different perspectives.
I’m curious about your thoughts. Please share your bit of a think below.
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