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Visions for Toronto Transit in 1960

Posted by Jerrold Litwinenko / March 24, 2008

20080324_transit1960.jpgIf you love or if you loathe the TTC and the state of traffic on our streets and highways, I urge you to find 30 minutes of your time to learn a little more about how our current transit system evolved.

Back in 1960, Toronto was dealing with a transit crisis. Roads were congested, the TTC was in desperate need of expansion, funding was meager, and the debates about how to deal with the growing transit problems were abounding.

And now, almost 50 years later, we're facing similar challenges and having similar debates.

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Amongst the nearly 12,000 video and audio clips within the newly updated CBC Digital Archives collection, this incredible 30 minute in-depth video report from 1960 is more than fun and fodder for Toronto history and transit geeks.

It's a history lesson in Toronto transit, and if what they say about history is true (that it repeats itself), it makes me wonder if any of our current visions can/will ever be realized.

Projections that were possible but were never realized (which would today be much closer to impossible) include a Queen Street Subway line joining Roncesvalles to the Danforth; the Spadina Arterial Highway and RT, along with an extension of highway 400 deeper into the core; and an east/west Crosstown Expressway.

Can you imagine how different your daily getting around would be if any or all of these concepts actually came to fruition?

Image: Screencap of 'Crisis on Wheels' -- special report on Toronto transit, from The CBC Digital Archives Website.

UPDATE: Also check out this exciting music clip of The Toronto Subway Song, recorded in 1950.

Discussion

8 Comments

ugh / March 24, 2008 at 04:48 pm
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Do you ever get tired of finding new ways to bitch about the TTC?
Jerrold / March 24, 2008 at 04:49 pm
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I'm not bitching :)
A.R. / March 24, 2008 at 05:32 pm
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Suburbanitis has taken hold!
David E / March 24, 2008 at 07:54 pm
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I rather enjoyed seeing Bruce Marsh and the report. It's striking to note that there was no teleprompter. It was common for the host of such a program to hold typescript and read from it.

Robert Moses talks about "congestion". This is at the 20 minute mark. I believe he means to say "concentration" or "density".

What also is very different is that the persons on camera spoke to a camera rather than a correspondent. Maybe it was more the style of the day rather than have a field reporter go out and do interactive interviews and leave the tying together to the studio host.

How times change. It's was fun to see curtains and venetian blinds as office furniture. Where are those things now?

Talk about a '60s set piece. This report surely is it.
c / March 24, 2008 at 09:23 pm
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WE NEED MORE SUBWAYS AND RELIEF LINES! NOT TRANSIT CITY LIGHT RAIL! WE NEED TO FINISH SHEPPARD LINE FIRST AND AN EGLINTON CROSS TOWN! LET"S WAKE UP TORONTO!
Jerrold / March 24, 2008 at 09:27 pm
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@c

With what money?
john / March 25, 2008 at 03:57 pm
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Agreed about the Eglinton Cross Town. Damn you Mike Harris for canning that. Transit City light rail is fine for some areas, but for Eglinton, you definitely need a subway. Anything less is just a waste of time and money.
Seanrwcrawford / November 20, 2009 at 09:41 am
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Its amazing how often the thought of the proposed queen street subway pops in my head. I think the difference it could have made to the city would have been profound.

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