Someone made a map of what the TTC streetcar system looked like in 1945
While this may be hard to believe, it wasn't too long ago that Toronto was served by a comprehensive streetcar system spanning practically the entire city.
And now you can see exactly what that looked like on a wonderfully thorough map created by Reddit user T6A5.
The Reddit user shared the map online earlier this week, stating that it took two weeks to complete and was inspired by the book 50 Years of Progressive Transit.
The book was co-authored by transit historian and photographer John F. Bromley who died just last month.
"You wouldn't know it from nearly anything that has happened in the last 30 years, but Toronto has a rich and extensive streetcar heritage. Until the end of WWII, the streetcar was king, running from nearly every part of town and providing valuable connections to the community at large," the user wrote alongside the graphic.
"Long before the opening of subway lines in the city, streetcar trains rumbled down Yonge and Bloor Streets. Rush hour extensions, called trippers, further expanded the scope of travel for many Torontonians."
The map shows just how much more comprehensive the city's streetcar system was before WWII ended and the subway system was constructed, with many streetcar routes running along major streets such as Church and Bay that no longer exist.
"Things went downhill rapidly after the end of WWII, as the streetcar network was scaled back. Some of these routes, such as Yonge, Bloor, or Harbord, fell as a natural consequence of subway expansion. Lines like Church fell due to infrastructure limitations," the caption accompanying the map explains.
"The plan was to eliminate the streetcar network entirely, but happily, this short-sighted scheme was reversed in 1972."
The Reddit user also said several of these transit lines survived as bus routes, such as the 6 Bay or 26 Dupont, but they are now fairly unimportant compared to what they once were.
Fellow Reddit users seem quite impressed with the detailed map, and many of them can't believe the system was so wide-reaching all those years ago.
"You did a great job with this, man. Hard to believe the TTC had such a massive number of streetcar routes," one user commented.
"One wonders what would be today if the Flexitys were rattling down so many other routes, like Lansdowne, Weston, Parliament, Coxwell, Bay, Dovercourt or Rogers....streetcars in The Junction or Parkdale may have changed so much of their histories just on their own."
"Wish a lot of these were still around," another said.
Reddit user T64A said the map was intentionally created in a modern style, as today's transit maps tend to be easier to read than those from decades ago.
"Great care has been taken to recreate all aspects of the map in a more modern style, including such services as would not usually make it onto a public-facing map, such as the appropriately named Bay and Carlton Tripper rush hour runs which avoided their namesake streets all together," the user wrote.
"As so much of this diagram was put together thanks to the knowledge of Mr. Bromley, who passed away early in December 2019, I would like to dedicate this diagram to his memory."
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