What Public Transit Once Looked Like in Toronto

On in SagesTO by

St GeorgeTaking the streetcar today, packed with commuters, you probably weren’t thinking about the historical significance of your TTC ride. Transit in the city began in the 1880s with the arrival of horse-drawn stagecoaches, travelling along Yonge Street between Yorkville and St. Lawrence Market. The Toronto Transportation Commission took over the street railways in 1921, adding new routes and services from midtown to the downtown core. The first underground subway arrived in 1954, a flashy red Gloucester train, on the newly constructed Yonge Street Line, running from Eglinton to Union Station. The cost for a ride was about 15 cents (5 cents for children), and was split into fare zones (this would later change into a flat fare system).

Here are a few fun facts about the TTC.

1. The subway stops originally had different names. Initially, “Dundas West station was known as Vincent, Spadina station was referred to as Walmer and the station at Bay Street was listed as Yorkville.”

2. There two (not just one) secret underground subway stations. Both lower Bay station and the lesser known Lower Queen station have been abandoned for years. Lower Bay was used for only six months in 1966 and Lower Queen, built for a streetcar line, was scrapped for a subway instead.

3. When the subway first opened, there were no public toilets at any stations. Previously, Toronto had underground public washrooms at various intersections, but these were removed shortly after the construction of the subway.

Travel back in time and see what public transit once looked like in Toronto.

Horse-drawn streetcar, 1880s

TTC 1925
Track construction, 1925

Rosedale Bus
Rosedale bus route, 1928

Spadina 40
Spadina, 1940s

Roncesvalles, 1950s

Gloucester train near Davisville, 1954

Dupont streetcar, 1960s

TTC 1969
TTC, 1969

TTC poster
Vintage subway map, 1958

Photos via Transit Toronto, Spacing.ca


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