keep to the right now, ma

A Hudson auto with its steering  wheel on the right side. From the “PRIVATE COLLECTION OF DOUGLAS B. MACDONALD”

Toronto. When Canada was established in 1867,  the automobile did not exist. By the time it came into being, Quebec had followed France in driving to the right. Ontario elected to follow suit to be in line with its neighbouring province and with the States.

The other provinces in the east, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island stuck with the British standard and drove on the left. All that changed in the 1920s when the Maritimes decided to drive on the right to be consistent with the rest of North America.

In 1924, the final Maritimes province (PEI) finally switched over. To celebrate this event a century later, Canada’s History magazine published this article.  We are grateful to our good friend, George Dunbar, for finding and sharing this bit of history.

George writes, “Another delightful example of photography’s display of 100-year-old history.

“These two pages (in the current Canada’s History magazine, April/May 2024) illustrate the final days (May 1, 1924) of Prince Edward Island’s cars travelling on “the wrong side” of North American roads.”

As George noted, photography has performed an invaluable service bringing history to life.

NB: The title of this post is a riff on Bob Dylan’s iconic 1964 song, “It’s Alright, Ma“.  I have it on both an LP and a CD.

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