This Streetcar System Is Still Running on Its Tracks in Toronto

August 15, 1892

In Canada, the first electric streetcar to operate in Toronto officially went into service. This streetcar, which was part of the Toronto Railway Company (TRC), ran on Church Street in the city. (Along with being the capital of the province of Ontario, Toronto at that time was second only to Montreal as the largest city in Canada.)

The introduction of electric streetcars by the TRC marked a key development for the city’s transit network, which traces its origins to the start of the horse-drawn stagecoaches operated by the Williams Omnibus Bus Line in 1849.  The Williams Omnibus Bus Line had been taken over by the Toronto Street Railway Company during the early 1860s. The Toronto Street Railway Company, in turn, was replaced by the TRC in 1891.

The major forces behind the TRC were civil engineer James Ross and railway entrepreneur William Mackenzie. They jointly managed the company, and it was under their leadership that electrification of Toronto’s streetcar routes became a top priority. A little over two years after the city’s first electric streetcar began operating on a regular basis on Church Street, the last surviving horse-drawn streetcar in Toronto made its final run.

The TRC remained in service until 1921, when the newly formed Toronto Transportation Commission took over the city’s streetcar operations. The Toronto Transportation Commission was renamed the Toronto Transit Commission in 1954. This public transportation agency continues to manage what is now one of the few streetcar systems in North America still in use on street-running tracks.

For more information on the Toronto Railway Company, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toronto_Railway_Company.

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