top of page

1937::Vancouver Island's Door-to-Door Vegetable Man

Updated: Mar 21

The door-to-door cold produce delivery man with a hot idea.

1937::Reg Parlby and His Heated Vegetable Delivery Truck

"1937::Reg Parlby and His Heated Vegetable Delivery Truck"

Photo Clip: Victoria Daily Times (1937)

Victoria, British Columbia

On a cold winter morning, produce salesman Reg Parlby arrived at Wholesale Row near Yates and Wharf Streets. As smoke curled from a black pipe attached to the back of his truck, he loaded up with fresh produce to sell to customers on the road. Other food pedlars ceased to operate during cold weather, fearing their produce would freeze before the goods could be delivered. But not Parlby. He had installed a wood stove in the back of his truck to keep the temperature inside well above freezing.

Parlby sold fresh produce locally on Wednesdays and Saturdays in the Shelbourne-Haultain area. Twice a week, however, on Mondays and Thursdays, he would load up his truck and sell his entire load of produce door-to-door and bit-by-bit while travelling on a two-day road trip through Langford, Bamberton, Shawnigan Lake, Cobble Hill and even Lake Cowichan if the roads were good. He never lost a single vegetable to frost.

1976::Building the Westsong Walkway

"1976::Building the Westsong Walkway"

Photo Clip: Victoria Times (1976)

Victoria, British Columbia

As the only trucker who didn't suspend operations due to cold weather, pioneer Reg Parlby became one of the most successful travelling salesmen on the island thanks to his ingenious wood stove idea. When times changed, so did his career. In the 1970s, Parlby helped build the original structure of Esquimalt's new Westsong Walkway promenade.

Related Posts

See All


Commenting has been turned off.
bottom of page