Updated: Apr 7
One of Vancouver Island's first auto-trucks, and the envy of island merchants.
"Slade's Commerce Truck"
Photo: BC Archives (D-03422)
In 1912, Vancouver produce wholesalers 'A. P. Slade' was at the top of their game. Their success was partly due to the purchase of two Albion trucks which they used to reach customers in areas where the rails didn't go. Customers on the outskirts of Vancouver suddenly knew Slade's name and came to depend on their motor-truck delivery service for fresh produce. The business began to boom and grow, expanding east to Kamloops and west to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
"The Envy of Victoria"
Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1919) Victoria, British Columbia
Slade's was an instant success in Victoria, which forced the company to rapidly expand its wholesale business along the bottom of Yates Street. In 1919, business doubled when they purchased a new 'Commerce Truck' with big flashy tires. Not only did it look sharp, the new air-filled pneumatic tires also enabled the two-ton truck to drive over the city's toughest roads and speedily reach customers on the south end of the island. The truck was the first of its kind in the city and became the envy of the business community with its nimbleness and overhead lamp in the carrier section. Island business was booming. By 1920, the company had well outgrown their premises at the bottom of Yates Street. They purchased the 4-storey building at 535 Yates Street, previously built and occupied by local wine & spirit wholesale merchants at the turn of the century who had expanded their own business between Vancouver and Victoria in the same way as Slade's, and on the same street in each city.
Photo: BC Archives (C-02446)
By the mid-1920s, Slade's was a household name throughout Victoria and British Columbia. Their trucks continued to be the envy of the city until 1929 when the company and several of its competitors amalgamated to form one company. British Columbia's pioneer wholesale merchant, Arthur P. Slade, died in 1975 at 95 years old.