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Victoria BC: Mercury Trucks and the Causeway Service Station

Today’s lead image contains Gladwell Motors Lincoln-Mercury located at the intersection of Vancouver and Yates Streets in Victoria, British Columbia is dated by the source to 1947. A year earlier, Ford of Canada introduced the Mercury M pickup trucks to its Lincoln-Mercury division. These vehicles are a re-badged Ford F series truck with a different grille and trim package and remained in production until 1968.

The second photo below contains the Causeway Imperial Service Station, also located in Victoria, BC. The passage enters into the inner causeway on the Victoria waterfront. The City is located northwest of Seattle, WA. The impressive facility complete with a tower appears to have been located next to a ferry boat terminal.

Please share with us what you find of interest in these photographs courtesy of the Royal BC Museum.

19 responses to “Victoria BC: Mercury Trucks and the Causeway Service Station

  1. In Item 2 of 2, to the left of the front entry to the Imperial Oil tower appears to be a stretched 7-Passenger Sedan…perhaps a ’40-ish DeSoto Custom

    • I guess it could be a ’39 with its split rear window, but I think the ‘39’s rear fenders taper down too much, so I’ll stick with a ’40 or later model

      • The lwb Mopar is postwar, the front fenders fade into the front doors. DeSoto had the highest lwb production, Chrysler second highest, Dodge the remainder.

  2. In the 2nd expandable picture, in the background on the left, the three stack steamer is either PRINCESS ELIZABETH or PRINCESS JOAN. These steamers ran on a night boat service between Victoria & Vancouver; and sometimes also as day auto & passenger ferries between Victoria & Port Angeles or Vancouver & Nanaimo.

    • In the foreground is M/V Chinook, a Black Ball ferry. The picture has to date between 1947 and 1955, because Chinook was built in the former year and had her bow rebuilt as an open bow for loading in the latter year. She was renamed Sechelt Queen in 1963 and Muskegon Clipper in 1985. Monarch Casinos bought her with the intention of turning her into a riverboat casino, but that fell through when they couldn’t get the necessary gambling licenses and she was broken up no later than 2001.

      • Steve,

        Thanks for your comment.

        You’re correct, the M/VCHINOOK was built in the late 1947. Her original route was Seattle, Port Angeles, Victoria in night service. She could carry 100 automobiles and had sleeping accommodations for at least a few hundred in staterooms.

        The M/V CHINOOK was a modern motor vessel built in Seattle in 1947 with little if any wood in her construction, so may have been able to carry vehicles with fuel in their tanks. The other night-boats in the picture [all built not long after the beginning of the 20th century] had steel hulls [and might have had steel main decks], but the upper superstructures were mainly made of wood. These vessels would have been required to have their gas tanks emptied before boarding. By the late 1930s the United States required such vessels to have full sprinkler systems through out the entire vessel. When they landed usually a gallon of gasoline was supplied, enough to get to a nearby service station.

        Being an international service, the complex of building on the CHINOOK’s pier look like they are used for joint Canadian US customs.


    • Also in the 2nd expandable photograph, dock on the far side of the wharf that the PRINCESS ELIZABETH or PRINCESS JOAN is located, is the single stacked steamer PRINCESS ADELAIDE or PRINCESS ALICE.

  3. Great pics, David. Odd the thoughts that come to mind…
    Today’s trucks can be driven with a couple of fingers. These classics took both hands, commitment and concentration. Today’s trucks by comparison make us drivers look like woosies!

  4. It’s fun to see Victoria in the old days. It’s a great place to visit my if you’re in the Pacific Northwest.

    A Washington State ferry can take you there from Anacortes, WA (an hour or two North of Seattle).
    You can even leave your car in Washington and walk aboard, if you stay in the harbour area of Victoria, you don’t need a car.

  5. It’s a great idea, I don’t know why Ford didn’t do something similar here.

    At least now, many, if not most, Buick dealers have GMC trucks, and by rebadging Dodge trucks into RAMs, any stand alone Chrysler/Jeep dealers can now have pickups….BTW are there any non-Dodge Chrysler dealers left?
    Too bad they didn’t do something like it years ago to give Plymouth stores a pickup truck (aside from the Horizon-based mini truck).

    And if course, Lincoln dealers had trucks twice, the I’ll-fated 2002 Lincoln Blackwood luxury truck, and the more conventional “LT” series from 2005-08.

  6. The tower still exists, albeit in redecorated form. Gas station has been converted into a tourism visitor center. History and pix at victoria online sightseeing dot com; look for 812 Wharf Street tourism visitor center.

    There was and still is a ten-million-candle-power beacon at the top of the tower intended as a navigation aid for aircraft.

  7. Looks like the Imperial Oil tower is still there, polished up and with clock added, part of the Tourism Victoria Visitor Centre at the corner of Wharf St. and Government St. The short memorial obelisk has been moved a block down Government St. to the corner of Belleville St. to make room for the Visitor Centre pedestrian plaza.

  8. The ship “Chinook” belonged to the Washington Navigation Company and ran from Seattle to Victoria via Port Angels,WA. It appears in the photo that the ferry terminal is undergoing a facelift.

  9. We rarely saw Canadian vehicles in Milwaukee. There were a few examples, like a Laurentian once, and we stared at it in disbelief, like it was some sort of alien. Never even knew Mercury made trucks until not long ago, but knew about Dodge “Fargo”. I think Fords were available too in Canada, so just a marketing gimmick. At 1st, I thought the truck on the right, had an up stack, possibly indicating a diesel, but I think it’s just a board in the stake pocket. Since I’m a “landlubber”, I’ll stick to the trucks. Does anyone know what kind of pickup that is on the street? Looking like the stations truck, it almost looks like a Nash with a big push bumper. Joann?

    • I don’t know what make of truck it is, but you are right it may be the station truck. I see writing on the door and a light on the roof to go with the push bumper. Looks like the people in the photo are practicing social distancing. Did anyone else notice several people standing around all dressed in dark clothes? Maybe security people? As for the Mercury Trucks in the first picture, they have larger tires, so may be 3/4 ton, I think 1946 by the headlights. Obviously work trucks. Never hear of Plastering Contractors anymore. I also saw the “stack” in the truck on the right. Then decided it was a stake in the pocket. If you look through the passenger side window and the rear window of the cab, you can see something upright, maybe in the driver’s side stake pocket.

  10. That Panel or Delivery Truck on the street could possibly be a 1933-36 ? Dodge Humpback Delivery. Hard to tell with my minuscule phone screen.

  11. Unfortunately I don’t see a Esso service station. But I do see a chevron service sign in back ground.

  12. Thee CPR Princess ships were deliberately designed to look like small ocean liners. They were fast, comfortable steam turbine driven ships built in Scotland with the superstructure added in Victoria.

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