Vancouver Centennial Plaque #5 – BC Electric Head Office and Depot


425 Carrall Street (Carrall & Hastings)


Formerly the Carrall Interurban station, now LightForm (lighting store)


Missing, but the building is on the Heritage Site Finder, as are the rail tracks



From this site the B.C. Electrical Railway Company operated the Fraser Valley Interurban Line which, by 1910, ran via Central Park and New Westminster to Chilliwack (76 miles).”

Credit: Vancouver Centennial Commission, Historic Plaque Program – list and documentation plaques 1-49 (June 18, 1986). Courtesy of Vancouver Archives

The BC Electric Railway ran streetcar and interurban rail lines through Vancouver and nearby areas. Various other companies actually began the rail services in the early 1890s, but they were amalgamated and eventually taken over by the BCER in 1897. The interurban line ran all the way out to Chilliwack and the larger, faster cars could get up to 120km/h. As well as passenger services, there were freight services – the milk runs were particularly useful for the Fraser Valley dairy industry.

This handsome building on Carrall and Hastings was the BCER’s headquarters. In 1920, its workers became the first in the commonwealth to win an eight-hour-day and forty-hour week.

Sadly, BCER transformed the streetcar service into trolley buses through their “rails-to-rubber” conversion programme. The last interurban line was closed in 1958 and the BCER became a division of BC Hydro in 1961. Some of the old cars are on display around BC. I’ve visited interurban car 1223 at the Burnaby Village Museum and streetcar 53 in the middle of the Old Spaghetti Factory in Gastown!

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