The better way, according to Barney Beaver!


This is a brief history of The Toronto Transit Commission with photos of several artifacts from my collection and in particular related to PCC cars. Originally incorporated as The Toronto Transportation Commission in 1921. Today the commission owns and operates 75 subway stations, 11 streetcar lines, four rapid transit lines and excess of 150 bus routes. TTC is the busiest mass transit system in Canada and third largest in North America, behind the NYCTA (New York City Transit Authority) and MCM (Mexico City Metro). On an average weekday in 2019 it moved approximately 1.8 million passengers. The TTC also operates Wheel Trans, which transports elderly and disabled customers. ln 1954 The TTC opened the first subway line in Canada and officially adopted the “TTC” acronym. Initially it ran 7.4KMS under Yonge Street and served 12 stations. Today’s subway system is a four-line system servicing 75 stations over 77KMS.



The TTC streetcar service is one of the very few still operating in North America and has been operating since the middle of the 19th century. Horse drawn service started in 1861 and in 1892 a 600-volt direct current overhead service began. Today streetcar routes are relegated to downtown and no streetcar route runs north of St. Clair Avenue. My personal favorite is PCC type trolly, better known as The President’s Conference Committee Streamliner. Until 1995, The TTC operated a fleet of 765 PCC cars, 540 of which were purchased new, while the remainder were acquired, as other transportation systems shed their respective PCC fleets. (the initial purchase of 140 at the cost of three million dollars was on April 8th, 1938). This was the largest single purchase ever placed at one time, from the manufacturer.

The Electrical Railway President’s Conference Committee was formed in Chicago in 1931. Their responsibility was to develop a streetcar for the times and companies such as General Electric, Westing House, Alcoa, Ohio Brass and Bethlehem Steel were involved. ln 1933 The TTC joined the group along with Montreal Tramways Company. Since PCC was formed in 1936, more than 20,000 PCC cars have been produced worldwide. To this day these units still provide transportation service in the U.S, Russia, ltaly, Poland and The Czech Republic.

Growing up around The TTC Lansdowne car house made me curious and I became interested in TTC history and have acquired a few TTC related items. My interest in the TCC began to diminish with the arrival of the ALRV (Articulated Light Rail Vehicle) and CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle) in 1987. More informations about all Armando’s collection, click here.

Photos: Armando Terra

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