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Meet Tally-Ho Sightseeing

In a nutshell: Tally-Ho Sightseeing is a family business that’s been around for over a 100 years. The horse-drawn carriages wend their way through the city offering a glimpse of life at a more romantic slower pace enabling passengers to notice all the little things, the hidden gems, in James Bay and downtown Victoria. 

 # of Employees: Up to 25 employees at the height of Victoria's tourist season. Some with 17 - 30 years

Industry Sector: Tourism

Area of Town: Carriages operate primarily in James Bay and the horses live on a picturesque farm in Central Saanich.

Primary Product/Service: Private horse-drawn carriage tours of beautiful downtown Victoria. 

 How would you describe Tally-Ho Sightseeing in 30 words or less?
Tally-Ho Carriage Tours is Victoria's original horse-drawn tour company that has been creating unforgettable memories since 1903!

What is the best part about doing business in Greater Victoria?
We enjoy doing business in two parts of Greater Victoria - Central Saanich and downtown Victoria. We live in a truly beautiful city something we are reminded of daily by our guests. They are amazed at how clean it is, how fresh the air is and how beautiful everything is. After a long day sharing the city, both our horses and our drivers are pleased that just a short distance from the heart of the city, we're back on our farm in Central Saanich where we also have the extreme pleasure of being able to live with our herd of horses. There is a joy in sharing both our city and allowing people to get up front and personal with a Clydesdale for the first time.

What is the best thing Tally-Ho Sightseeing is doing for Greater Victoria?
We are “green” by nature – literally – a horse drawn carriage is one of only a few green transportation options for tourists in Victoria.  In addition to this green foundation, we have a few other key initiatives, including:  all manure is composted into fertile soil (and we have a LOT of manure); water consumption is limited through the use of automatic waterers for the horses and by cleaning horses at the farm where water run-off feeds the lawns around the barn; and a more fuel efficient horse truck reduced emissions in 2008.

There are a few key charities we support each year via fundraisers and raffles, including the SPCA, BC Children’s Hospital, and the Mustard Seed.  We also introduce dozens of kids and special needs adults to the draft horses on an annual basis via visits to local schools and at our farm, and taking kids on carriage tours in downtown Victoria. It is heartwarming to see them connect with each other.

What is it like working at Tally-Ho Sightseeing?
Busy!  We are a 24/7 operation.  But incredibly fun and rewarding.  Everyone who works for the company has a love of horses, and the Tally-Ho horses hold a special place in all our hearts.  We are very lucky to get to work with these animals on a daily basis.

We literally get a front-row seat as people from across the world get to oooh and ahhh for the first time as we trot through Beacon Hill Park, or see a family cuddle under a blanket as they sightsee through the downtown or say "YES!" when a certain question is asked. We create happily ever afters. We once helped a young man from Boston surprise his bride-to-be with an unexpected proposal. He flew into Victoria while her family was vacationing here and as our driver paused the carriage, he walked out along a pathway and popped the question.

And we don't just help along the dreams of our passengers, one of our drivers Jess remembers when she first walked past our carriage stand when she was 10 and decided that one day when she was big she too would get to sit on the perch in front and share a little of the wonders of the past with visitors and locals alike.

What are 3 things few people know about Tally-Ho Sightseeing?
1. It’s Victoria’s original horse-drawn transportation company, dating back to the late 1800s

2. It’s a family owned and operated business – the horses live with the owner (Larry) and his family on a farm in Central Saanich. Larry has been involved in the business since he was 12 years old (not to age him too quickly, but it adds up to over 30 years). 
3. Tally-Ho has evolved over the years and adapted to the changing marketplace.  We have moved from running 8-horse stagecoaches in the 1890s, to single horse drawn carriages today.  Our herd has reduced in size over the last 25 years from more than 40 horses, to an average of 15 horses.  

Here at Tally-Ho Sightseeing we’re proudest of:
Like any business, we too have struggled over the years, but we have always managed to make decisions that have ensured the health and vitality of our beloved herd and longevity of employment for our phenomenal staff, while keeping our service levels high. By providing a good working and living environment for our team, our horses' longevity is an average of 10 - 15 years longer than a horse without gainful employment. 

Other fun facts about Tally-Ho Sightseeing:
Before Tally-Ho was a tour operator they ran the local stage coach in Greater Victoria. For 15¢, back in 1905, a six-horse stage would take passengers from Mt. Tolmie to Victoria. Check out the poster at the Royal BC Museum in the Olde Towne Section.  And unlike the slow, romantic horse tours of today, Tally-Ho encouraged its team to pick them up and put them down when transporting folks across the city, as you can see by the historic photo of the stage coach kicking up a little dust rounding Shoal Bay.

For more information about Tally-Ho Sightseeing check out their Chamber Directory Listing or their website.


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