In Vancouver in 1903, a company called The Imperial Automatic Voting Machine Company was looking for investors to raise 250 thousand dollars, issuing shares for a dollar each.
The mood in Vancouver was ecstatic that year following the depression of the 1890s, and along with all that money came the a period of scams and reckless speculation.
I wonder what that voting machine was like and how it worked – if it ever even came into being.
Less dramatic, perhaps, but interesting in a different way, the city directory where I found the Imperial voting machine company also showed me that on Hastings Street – what is now downtown Vancouver – a couple of blacksmiths, a couple of Chinese laundries, and a few warehouses. Even a foundry with a few boarding houses interspersed here and there.
A little further away there was a harness-maker, a prospector, a steam-boatman, a cannery manger, and a shingle sawyer.
Not the kind of people who live in the city today!
All this I found in the collection of BC Directories 1860-1955 which are available online through the Vancouver Public Library.
And here is a link to a collection of directories covering Alberta, Manitoba, and Northwest Territories Directories going back to 1878.
And another link to locating historical directories across other Canadian jurisdictions. The years vary. Links to Canadian historical directories
Directories exist in almost every other jurisdiction in the English-speaking world and possibly elsewhere in some format, but that is beyond my ken.
If the above links aren’t helpful for your research, do a google search using the term, “historical directory” and the name of jurisdiction.