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How the TTC used to say Merry Christmas to its staff

Posted by Chris Bateman / December 21, 2013

ttc christmasThe Coupler, the TTC's venerable old internal magazine, has been running more or less continuously since the creation of Toronto's transit authority in the early 1920s. Its pages are a repository for the ongoing TTC story as viewed from the inside. It has published commemorative issues with each new subway line and tracked the Commission as it grew into one of the most used mass transit systems in North America.

Since the 1930s, The Coupler has recorded births, retirements, and deaths of former employees, printed TTC league hockey scores, photographed internal social events, and even produced articles on health and well-being - "The Ups and Downs of Dieting," to name one - courtesy of the TTC's own medical director.

Every year since 1924, the magazine has published a special Christmas cover, almost always in colour, for its December issue. Viewed in series, the scenes range from charming to, well, a little frightening (check out the terrifying giant Santa Claus attacking a TTC bus in 1971 and the unnervingly dark cover from 1959.)

Here are some of the best, courtesy of the TTC archives.

ttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasttc coupler christmasChris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Image: TTC/City of Toronto Archives

Discussion

16 Comments

Holy Thundering Jesus / December 21, 2013 at 08:55 am
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That first illustration (1942 cover) would make a great screen printed poster, do any of the original illustrations exist?
W. K. Lis / December 21, 2013 at 09:33 am
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The online version only went up to 2011. See http://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/Coupler/index.jsp for them. Please update them, TTC.
W. K. Lis / December 21, 2013 at 09:36 am
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BTW. The streetcar and trailer trains shown are about the same length as the new Bombardier Flexity Outlook streetcars. They needed three (3) employees to run them, a driver and two conductors. Only one driver would be needed on the new streetcars.
Kathleen / December 21, 2013 at 11:56 am
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These are fantastic. Great post and thanks for sharing!
Angelo Nonog / December 21, 2013 at 12:31 pm
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Thank you for sharing... and A Very Merry Christmas to all!
Hazel / December 21, 2013 at 01:34 pm
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Love it.
streetcar stretch replying to a comment from W. K. Lis / December 21, 2013 at 01:34 pm
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The reason it only goes up til 2011 is because that is when they decided to cut costs and go with an online version
C. Moore / December 21, 2013 at 01:42 pm
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I wish they would bring back the Printed Version
EMQ / December 21, 2013 at 01:54 pm
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I love these illustrations. I agree with H.T. Jesus, they would make lovely posters.
Marc replying to a comment from C. Moore / December 21, 2013 at 02:34 pm
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Under the current Toronto political climate? Not likely.
Steven / December 21, 2013 at 02:40 pm
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What great works of Christmas art from the TTC!

A real shame they don't do this anymore since they embraced political correctness.

The second last photo of the red cart selling hot nuts (cashews come to mind) and popcorn. A shame they are all gone. Sure miss those snacks.
Adam Sobolak / December 21, 2013 at 02:44 pm
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The 1942 version really comes off as a Maurice Vellekoop foretelling...
Pearl Dacks / December 21, 2013 at 09:34 pm
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These are fabulous...wish they were issued as posters...I would dearly love to have some framed....some of the older ones are just so incredible...our own 'folk art'. Is there any way to reproduce them? If it could be done they could be sold and the money made be the beginning of a charitable TTC Foundation. It would be a great way to give back to our City and its needy Citizens.....somewhat like the Toronto Star Funds for Santa Claus or its Fresh Air Camps..
Rick McGinnis (@rickmcginnis) / December 22, 2013 at 12:15 pm
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The quality of the cover art takes a bit of a nosedive at the start of the '60s - wonder why...
Joey replying to a comment from streetcar stretch / December 22, 2013 at 06:19 pm
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"...it only goes up til 2011 is because that is when they decided to cut costs..."

This is literally why we can't have nice things.
?? / December 23, 2013 at 09:55 am
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Wow, they really mailed it in on the Dec '71 cover.

Godzilla Santa?

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