Toronto Streetcar History TTC

A visual history of Toronto streetcars

A visual history of Toronto streetcars struck me as the perfect choice for my Friday archive dive after getting a chance to ride around on a Toronto Rocket subway yesterday. While these subways may be the pinnacle of modern TTC technology, streetcars are the foundation upon which the system was built, starting all the way back in the 1870s with horse-drawn cars.

Those weren't operated by the TTC, which was founded in 1920 as the Toronto Transportation Commission ("transportation" would change to "transit" in 1954). Prior to the advent of our current transit commission, Toronto was serviced by a variety of other companies, including (but not limited to) the Toronto Street Railways (1861-91), the Toronto Railway Company (1891-1921), and the Toronto Suburban Railway Company (1894-1911).

With the introduction of the Peter Witt cars in 1921, our streetcar history becomes somewhat easier to follow. In 1938 Toronto's original red rockets, the Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) streetcars are introduced, to stay officially on the rails until 1995. In and around the middle of that period, the Witts are decommissioned (1963) and, with the rise of subway transportation in the city, a plan to abandon Toronto's streetcar program is hatched, only to be cancelled in 1972. Post PCC streetcars, the Canadian Light Rail Vehicle (CLRV) is introduced in 1977 and the Articulated Light Rail Vehicle (ALRV) in 1987.

Despite the putatively straightforward timeline, there's a wealth of nuanced and fascinating information about the city's streetcars to be found from a number of sources. Here are a few of the more noteworthy ones.

PHOTOS

1880s

Horse-drawn streetcar

201111-Horse_drawn_streetcar_Toronto_1885.jpg


Two-horse car at old North Toronto Station

20111-Two_horse_car_at_old_North_Toronto_station1889.jpg


1890s

Seaton village single-horse car

20110103-1890-Seaton_Village_single-horse_car_1890.jpg


Installation of streetcar tracks at King and Yonge streets

20110103-1892-Special_track_work_installation_for_electric_cars,_King_and_Yonge_Streets,_looking_north,_August_1892.jpg


Toronto Railway Company (TCR) car No. 316

20110103-1893-Toronto_Railway_Company_car_No._316.jpg


1900s

TCR car amidst Boer War celebrations on Yonge Street

20101227-1900-Yonge_Street_crowd_celebrating_the_end_of_the_Boer_War.jpg


1910s

TCR car at Yonge and Queen

20101220-1910-QueenYongeWilliamJames.jpg


Laying track near Queen and Bay

20101220-1911-Queen_and_Terauley_view_west.jpg


TRC car (via

2011527-1913-TRC-cars.jpg

Chuckmans' postcard collection)

Toronto Civic Railway car at the Halton County Radial Railway (via the

2011527-HCRY-Toronto-Civic-Railways.jpg

Wikimedia Commons)

1920s

Peter Witt car near Queen and Woodbine

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Peter Witt car at Queen and Bay

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Peter Witt and Queen and James streets

20100822-1924_Toronto_QueenW_lookingEastfromJamesSt.jpg


1930s

Peter Witt car at Yonge and Bloor

20101129-Yonge,_south_from_Bloor,_1938.jpg


1940s

Peter Witt cars at Union Station

20101214-Street_railway_cars_in_front_of_Union_Station1943.jpg


Interior of a Presidents' Conference Committee (PCC) car in 1942

2011527-PCC-int-1942.jpg


1960s

A snowy Peter Witt car

2011527-snowy-witt-1963.jpg


Peter Witt Interior (1963, post modification to remove conductor)

2011527-witt-int-1963-2.jpg


Opposite angle to above

2011527-witt-int-1963.jpg


PCC car

2011527-pcc-1966-int.jpg


PCC car 4310

2011527-pcc-4310-front-1963.jpg


A PCC at the Humber Loop in 1967

20100814-ttc1967.jpg


PCC cars on Bloor prior to the construction of the subway (postcard)

2011527-streetcars-bloor-early60s.jpg


1970s

Ditto

2011527-Carlton-line-590.jpg


1980s

CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle) on Queen (via the New York City Subway Resource)

2011527-1982-streetcar-4504-15-NYC-Sub-resources.jpg


1990s

504 Streetcar (via the

2011528-Streetcar-504King1999.jpg

Wikimedia Commons)

2000s

PCC at the Halton County Radial Railway (via

2011528-pcc-halton-bdh.jpg

bigdaddyhame)

CLRV 4059 (via the

2011530-CLRV_4059_Glamour_Shot.jpg

Wikimedia Commons)

ARLV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle)

2011527-ALRV-TorontoTram3-2000s.jpg


CRLV 4152 and PCC 4500 (via the

2011527-CLRV_4152_and_PCC_4500.jpg

Wikimedia Commons)

Other posts in the series:

Photos from the Toronto Archives unless otherwise marked.


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