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Photos: 110 years ago Vancouver firefighters used to pull their own hoses and were champions at it

They were the fastest in the land.

Firefighting technology has evolved a lot over the years.

From bucket brigades to electric firetrucks, Vancouver itself has seen a lot of those changes, and has been at the forefront often, after the Great Vancouver Fire of 1886.

At one point one of the pieces of gear firefighters used were two-wheeled hand-drawn hose reels. Essentially, they were like a horse-drawn carriages, except smaller, so people could pull it. Those people being the firefighters off to put out a blaze.

In B.C. the Vancouver team was among the best in the late 1880s and early 1890s, and regularly were named the champion hose team of B.C. for their cart-pulling prowess. This was at a time that sports and competitions were growing in popularity in the area as more people were moving to the area.

Eventually, though, new technology replaced the human-pulled carts and the races ended.

Interested in finding more archival photographs of Vancouver? Search the City of Vancouver Archives’ online database. For more information about the Archives, its holdings, and how to research, visit the Archives’ website.