Streetcar

A Special Streetcar - "the Duchess of Cornwall and York"


Opposite: The Duchess of Cornwall and York was built for Royalty, The one-of-a-kind streetcar gave a crowning touch to the OER. Ottawa, 1901


When streetcars were in their heyday, there were many unusual types of vehicles running on tracks, including mail cars, milk cars and even an electric funeral coach. Among these vehicles, Ottawa had a novel one herself.

The 'Duchess of Cornwall and York' was built specially in 1901 for the visit of Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York.

The vehicle conveyed the couple from Government House Gate, via Sussex, Rideau, Sparks, Bank, Wellington, the Queen (now Booth) Bridge to the corner of Oregon and then along a specially laid track on Oregon to the Ottawa River where Their Highnesses embarked on a crib of square timber on which they ran the "slides" on the river.

The vehicle had the Royal Arms on the front, and the name "Duchess of Cornwall and York" on the side.

The interior was similar to a steam railway's parlour car but featured particularly lavish antique polished oak, a three-ply bird's eye maple veneer ceiling, four large British plate glass mirrors, and was illuminated by five clusters of incandescent lamps. All hardware such as hat racks were made of solid brass.

The floor was covered by rich royal blue velvet carpeting. There were 14 large easy chairs upholstered in olive green plush. The original cost of the car was $5,470. The design was approved by the Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

The Duchess of Cornwall and York was destroyed by fire at the Rockcliffe car barn on June 22, 1937.

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