Coronavirus: Iconic Victoria B.C. horse-drawn carriage operator needs help to feed horses

A popular tourism operator in Victoria has now launched a GoFundMe page to help keep her business afloat amid the COVID-19 crisis.

Donna Friedlander, the owner and operator of Tally-Ho Carriage Tours in Victoria, told CKNW Tuesday as the coronavirus pandemic continues, they are now preparing for 12 months of little to no income.

“I think for myself and other tourism operators, you’re trying to remain optimistic, you try to remain hopeful that there will be a season,” Friedlander said. “The first thing for us was the cancellation of the cruise ships and then things just started to get worse and worse.”

The company officially ceased operations on March 19.

“For the foreseeable future we’ll have zero income,” Friedlander added.

They have 18 draft horses to feed and Friedlander said it’s shocking how much each horse can eat.

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“They weigh somewhere between 2,000 and 2,400 pounds and we spend about $120 a day on feed.”

Friedlander said the horses are part of the family and they want to keep them home and healthy.

Tally-Ho Carriage Tours started in 1903 and was Victoria’s original transportation company. Photos from the beginning years still exist in the Victoria archives.

Friedlander’s late husband bought into the business when he was only 21 years old.

“It’s going to take a community to get everybody through this,” added Friedlander, speaking of the difficulties facing everyone during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope everybody is able to band together.”

Friedlander said she will do everything she can for these horses and they may have to end up selling a few horses but she’s not letting herself go down that road just yet. All of the money raised through the GoFundMe will go directly to help feed the horses.

“We have every intention of being back out there.”

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