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The Other White Star Line – Early Buses in Western Canada


With a somewhat more humble origin than the famous trans-Atlantic shipping concern of the same name, the White Star Motor Line Ltd., served a route between Vancouver and Ladner, British Columbia beginning in 1918. Like many other early bus companies in sparsely populated areas, they started operations with standard automobiles like the four Studebaker touring cars in our last photo below. The first two on the right appear to date from 1916 or 1917 while the others look like 1919 or 1920 Big Sixes. As ridership gradually increased, it would prove more economical to run stretched versions built by companies like Armbruster and Flxible rather than a heavier, truck-based bus.

white2      White3      white4

A Pierce-Arrow equipped with Solarclipse headlamps on the far right in the first photo above is the one non-Studebaker in this group. Also apparent in our photos are a number of different styles of California Tops. While we have discussed them at some length in the past, these photos demonstrate the great flexibility of the design. They are here shown in fully enclosed, semi-open and fully open configurations. White Star was absorbed by the B.C. Rapid Transit Company Ltd. in 1926 which itself would join Pacific Stage Lines immediately following the Second World War. Photos courtesy of the City of Vancouver.

One response to “The Other White Star Line – Early Buses in Western Canada

  1. The Blue Funnel Line operated a fleet of Studebaker jitneys between Vancouver and New Westminster. Photo #CVA 99-5131 in the Vancouver photo archives shows a number of them in front of their New Westminster office on Columbia Street. The building was relatively new (1911) and still exists.


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