The Toronto Streetcar system, now operated by the Toronto Transit Commission, is one of the very few operational streetcar systems in North America. The system plays a vital role in public transportation in the downtown core of the 6th largest city in North America.
The electric streetcars first started running in the city on 15 August 1892 on the Toronto Railway Company. To prevent the mainline railroads, namely the Canadian Pacific Railway and the Grand Trunk Railway (later became the Canadian National Railways), from running trains on city streets, the streetcar uses a track gage of 4 feet 10 7/8 inches instead of the standard railroad track gage of 4 feet 8 1/2 inches. In 1921, after the formation of the Transit Commission, the TTC took over the operations of the streetcar and became the official transit authority of the city of Toronto.
The TTC once has operated the largest fleet of PCC streetcars in North America. This fact is being honored by the Market Street Railway in San Francisco, California where a PCC car is currently being restored and painted into the TTC color scheme. The system was once planned to be expanded under Mayor David Miller’s Transit City plan but later was cancelled by the current mayor Rob Ford. With Rob Ford’s unfathomed love for private automobiles and privatization of public services, the streetcar along with all her heritage is under threat. With his vision of Toronto being the largest car park in the world, one could only hope that by the end of Ford’s term public transit would remain in the City of Toronto, home to almost 3 million Canadians.
|Today's TTC streetcar, built by UTDC (now Bombardier)|
|Streetcar map as of 2005|
|Streetcars at Queen and Bay in 1923|
|San Francisco's soon to be TTC PCC|