Long time Richmond resident Edwin Herbert Clark (1930-1997), known as Ted Clark, was born in Vancouver, British Columbia on March 2, 1930. Mr. Clark grew up in the Dunbar area of Vancouver and attended Lord Kitchener Elementary School and then Lord Byng High School.
Passengers chat while waiting for the tram at the Marpole Station. The tram schedule is visible on the station wall behind them.
He left high school to complete a five-year apprenticeship as a Machinist, but upon completing the apprenticeship, discovered that there were no available jobs in his field. Mr. Clark pursued a number of different job options before going to work at Hi-Hope Kennels, a business established and operated by his sister. At Hi-Hope Kennels, Mr. Clark did woodwork and built items for resale.
Mr. Clark’s images not only capture the tram and streetcar system, they also show images of the Lower Mainland from an earlier time. This image, ca. 1950, shows car 412 in Victory Square,Vancouver, operating on the No. 14 Hastings East – Dunbar line. The Marine Building can be seen in the centre rear of the photograph. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 220.
From a very young age, Mr. Clark was interested in streetcars and trams. During his childhood, he spent his weekends and summer days riding trams and streetcars, visiting the car barns, and talking to people who worked in the trade.
Mr. Clark’s collection also includes the different types of rolling stock operated by the BC Electric Railway such as this freight locomotive and box car shown on the siding at Brighouse, 1952. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 1043.
The popular sightseeing cars which gave tours of Vancouver. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 390.
He took pictures at every opportunity, gradually developing a significant collection of prints, negatives, and slides that was admired by traction enthusiasts across Canada.
Advertising along the railway lines tended to be large as seen in this image of interurban tram cars 1205 and 1202 in front of the Continental Hotel, Vancouver, July 1951. The cars are operating on the Vancouver-Steveston Line. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 3 702.
A large billboard advertises women’s undergarments as car 107 passes at Broadway and Arbutus, Vancouver, April 21 1951. The car is working the No. 3 Main Line. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 3 1189.
Ted Clark’s collection of images depict streetcars, trams and trains in various locations in and around Vancouver, Richmond, North Vancouver, Squamish, New Westminster, Burnaby and Chilliwack. Also included are a several images of trains in other parts of Canada, and in the United States.
One of the problems of street level transit systems is the interaction with cars, as shown in this image of interurban tram car 1218 which collided with a Ford Prefect in Marpole en route to Steveston, August 1951. Bystanders gather around to survey the damage. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 656.
Mr. Clark also built models from scratch, creating his own blueprints based on photographs and measurements he took of different cars. He traveled to cities with streetcar and/or tram lines, and his collection of photographs reflects some of these travels.
The tram and streetcar system was gradually phased out under a program called “From Rails to Rubber”, replacing lines with bus routes. This sign was probably used to promote the cessation of one of the BCER lines around 1952. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 284.
On September 11, 1981, he married May Leishman. They lived in Surrey until Hi-Hope Kennels was sold, after which they moved to Nelson, British Columbia where they remained until Mr. Clark’s death on November 6, 1997.
Most of the cars of the BCER paid the ultimate sacrifice after removal from service. This image shows car 367 being burnt at the Kitsilano Yard, Vancouver, April 22 1955. Another car is also being burnt, as a worker inspects the ashes. City of Richmond Archives photograph 1999 4 2 334.
In 1998, concerned that Mr. Clark’s work be kept intact and in his community, his sister Frances Clark and his widow May Clark donated the whole of the collection to the City of Richmond Archives.
A few cars survived to serve in another form. This is a picture of car 712 that has been converted into the Red Racer Restaurant at Penticton, August 1955.
In 2014 Mr. Clark’s collection of more than 5000 still images and one reel of movie film was digitized in a project jointly funded by the City of Richmond and the Friends of the Richmond Archives. It can now be searched and viewed on the Archives website at http://archives.richmond.ca/archives/interurban/.