WILBY, Thomas W.




Author Tags: 1900-1950, Transient, Transportation

Thomas W. Wilby, a middle-aged British journalist who had already completed an automobile journey across the breadth of the United States, accompanied a 23-year-old mechanic from St. Catharines, Ontario, Jack Haney, to complete the first Trans Canada road trip by car in 1912, commencing from Halifax on August 27. The relationship between the two men quickly soured. Haney did all the driving and grunt work as Wilby's "chauffeur" while the journalist was basically along for the ride to reap the glory. The trip was essentially a publicity exercise sponsored by the Reo Car Company. Their specially-made Reo Special Touring Car, with a 15-gallon gas tank, made it through the Rockies with the help of an additional mechanic, Jack Wise, from Winnipeg. The vehicle was placed on railway tracks for part of its journey outside of Yahk, B.C. and it was also shipped by train from Cranbrook to Nelson. The pair reached Victoria on October 17th and later mixed Atlantic sea water with Pacific sea water at Port Alberni to celebrate the conclusion of their trip. Wilby published a book about the adventure in which his driver was never mentioned by name. Haney returned to St. Catharines where he operated a garage. He died in 1935. Wilby wrote for the Christian Science Monitor prior to returning to England.

BOOKS:

A Motor Tour Through Canada (John Lane, The Bodley Head, London, 1914)

What is Christian Science (London: John Lane Company 1915)

[BCBW 2008] "Transient" "1900-1950" "Transportation"