Did Canadians ever drive on the left?

Did Canadians ever drive on the left? The obviously have some strong ties to the UK. I’m surprised they don’t have this one. How about the other colonies, like India?

For starters, here’s an alphabetical list of countries which have wrong-hand…, er-uh, left-handed driving Deviants

And the answer is…ta da…the British parts of Canada until the 1920’s drove on the left, but the French parts drove on the right always. From here

Actually, driving on the left occurred in both Canada AND the United States, before states and provinces agreed on what side should be preferred.

In Ontario and Quebec, (as well as Manitoba and Saskatchewan), which comprises the majority of the country’s people (and cars), they always drove on the right. Driving on the left persisted in Atlantic Canada and parts of B.C. until after the First World War, at which point they pretty much had to conform with the rest of North America.

Newfoundland, which did not join Canada until 1949, drove on the left right up to the time they joined, or shortly before.

Many other former British colonies drive on the left, such as India, Australia, and NEw Zealand. Its worth nothing that in Canada, Quebec ALWAYS drove on the right, this being the French custom, and they stuck with it after Britain took over, as per the terms of the Quebec Act. Bear in mind that at one point the French were a majority in Canada, so Canada had a different start in this regard than most British colonies.

“Actually, driving on the left occurred in both Canada AND the United States, before states and provinces agreed on what side should be preferred.”

Do you mean that we in the US drove automobiles on the left? Or wagons?

Very early on, you betcha. Not automobiles, but the early U.S. was a mishmash of right- and left-driving practices, as you would expect in a country with a diverse selection of immigrant populations.

By the time cars were around, right-side driving was the standard.

A few times, but I was just really tired…woke me up fast though, heh.

  • Tsugumo

Ha ha! Finally I get to use this cite!!!

From the History of Nova Scotia:

-from Chapter 10, “1 January 1920 to 31 December 1939”.
It also mentions that BC changed from left to right on 1 January 1922.

This 1910 picture from the BC Archives has at least one car driving on the left. Interestingly, the BC Archives site does not actually mention the change of side of driving.

Thanks, samclem, for that link! I knew there had to be some sort of overview on this issue out there…

So far we’ve established that Atlantic Canada drove on the left, Upper and Lower Canada, and later Manitoba and Saskatchewan drove on the right, and BC drove on the left. I have to assume the Northwest Territories followed the lead of those central provinces. That leaves out Alberta and the Yukon. Anyone have any ideas on these last two pieces?

Actually, I saw nothing about PEI…

A little farther down in this section is one of the most interesting facts I ever learned from the internet:

In Lunenburg County, 1923 is still known as The Year of Free Beef; the price of beef dropped precipitously because oxen which had been trained to keep to the left could not be retrained – oxen are notoriously slow-witted – and many teamsters had to replace their oxen with new ones trained to keep to the right; the displaced oxen were sent to slaughter.

So that explains all of the dopers who disappeared when the boards changed over? :eek: