The “first” distinctness might belong to Father Belcourt who had a steam-propelled vehicle when he was serving at Prince Edward Island. It was demonstrated at a garden party in 1866 and the Charlottetown Examiner reported, “and with wonder and delight it was observed steaming away for half a mile on the road and back again at a fast speed.”
Another “first” automobile was called a “horseless carriage.” It was an electric car built for F. B. Fetherstonhaugh, K.C., by Dickson’s of Toronto, and appeared on the streets on December 5, 1893. It could travel at a speed of 15 m.p.h. And go 15 miles before its batteries needed recharging.
It seems clear that the first Canadian-owned gasoline car was purchased by Colonel John Moodie of Hamilton, Ontario, on April 2, 1898. It was a “Winton” and looked like a horse-drawn buggy with the engine in the rear. There were spikes around the end of the car to keep people from climbing on board. Colonel Moodie liked to be first in everything. He owned the first bicycle in Canada, a Bayliff-Thomosin high-wheeler in 1878, and the first motorboat which he displayed at Hamilton Bay in 1895.
Cars in British Columbia and the Maritime were driven on the left-hand side of the road until 1920-1922, as they are in Britain and parts of Europe. Then they fell in line with the other Canadian provinces which always drove on the right.
The custom of driving on the left came from olden days when knights travelled the countryside on horseback. They wore swords on the left, so the rode on the left side of the roads to be in a better position to draw their swords quickly with their right arms. Driving on the right-hand side of the roads in North America evolved from the days of the covered wagons. The lead man walked to the left of the horses, holding the bridle with his right hand. right-handed, then, set the traffic pattern of two continents.
- 1906 Holsman Horseless Carriage Model 7 High- Wheeler 2 Cylinder Featured at Kaminski Auctions Pre New Years Sale (prweb.com)
- On This Day In 1900, First Mercedes Goes For A Test Drive (rememberinghistory.wordpress.com)