Braving the elements, defrosting passengers and encounters with the last lady outlaw, as John Wright discovers, Canada’s stagecoach history is the stuff of legends.

Canada produced its own outlaws, one no less famous than the rest by being a woman. Pearl Hart was born in c1871 in Lindsay, Ontario of well-off religious parents and would carry out one of the last stagecoach robberies in America. After eloping at 16 from her Canadian boarding school with a violent man, she eventually left him and crossed the border, intrigued by America’s Wild West.

“I was only twenty-two years old. I was good-looking, desperate, discouraged, and ready for anything that might come. I do not care to dwell on this period of my life,” she once said. In 1898 with another man she robbed a stagecoach at gunpoint and soon frequented jails, once escaping through a hole she made in its lath and plaster wall. She cut her hair short, sometimes dressed as a man and once gave $1 back to each of the coach passengers; and the national press was never far away clamouring for her attention, unlike coach passengers.

To read the full article and discover more about the history of the stagecoach in Canada in the April issue of Carriage Driving - on sale now.

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