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HBC also stands for Hot Bus Colours!

October 2, 2015


For better and for worse, the classic 215-year-old Hudson’s Bay multi stripe point blanket means “Canada” to me every bit as much as the red maple leaf does. So last week when I saw the side of a Vancouver transit bus ad-wrapped in the four iconic point blanket stripes: green, red, yellow and indigo, against a white background, well, I stood up and took notice (and I took some photos).

The true colours of British Columbia


Like an HBC point blanket, a CMBC bus still keeps you warm when it gets wet.

Historical connotations aside, I really like the way the the colour scheme looks on a bus. In my opinion, this is one ad wrap that is infinitely superior to what it replaces. The only two problems I can see are the failure to properly register the stripes on the back end of the bus and the distracting words “Hudson’s Bay” on the sides of the bus.

All Metro Vancouver’s transit authority TransLink has to do is fix those two little glitches; then it can similarly wrap up the rest of the Coast Mountain Bus Company fleet as far as I’m concerned.

I wouldn’t expect any great legal stumbling blocks to using the HBC point blanket-inspired design. After all, the colour scheme is a legitimate part of our region’s cultural heritage going back over 180 years — at least to 1834 when the Hudson’s Bay Company not only controlled the fur trade on the West Coast but was the government in these parts as well.

And in 1858, when the HBC’s Vancouver Island colony and New Caledonia holdings on the mainland were finally transferred to Canada to became the new province of British Columbia, who do you think was appointed as Canada’s first governor of B.C.? None other than HBC’s Chief Factor, James Douglas, that’s who! Click the images to enlarge them.

  1. Hi there, I clicked on one of your links an saw an electronic trolley bus. I’ve seen buses, trains, and trolleys in France, Germany, and the US. But never one of these things. What if that trolley bus makes too wide of a turn? Or what if the bus takes a wrong turn? Wouldn’t it tear down the power lines?


    • It happens often enough that an electric trolleybus makes an overly-wide turn — the two poles just harmlessly disengage from the overhead wires (called a “dewirement”).

      It’s a clever thing that when the electrical contacts on the end of the trolley poles are in contact with the overhead electrical wires that the bus draws its power from, springs push the poles up against the wires. But when the poles come off the wires, the springs partially disengage.

      There’s always enough reserve battery power to maneuver the bus to a safe place to stop and then the bus driver manually re-seats the poles on the wires by yanking and maneuvering insulated ropes connected to the poles and sprung-wound on take-up reels (this re-engages the springs on the poles).

      The ropes attached to the poles are very tough. Last year I was behind a trolley that managed to improbably snag a No Parking sign with one of its pole wires — bent the sign pole nearly flat to the ground!

      Electric trolleybuses have been common across Canada since before I was born.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for this insight. I had no idea how that worked. Take care and stay warm!


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