Categories
History Toronto Transit

The last run of the Rogers Road Streetcar

Westbound Rogers Road Streetcar at Old Weston Road, 1972. Photograph from Toronto Archives – Fonds 1526, File 72, Item 61 Forty-five years ago today, on Friday, July 19, 1974, the Rogers Road Streetcar made its last run. The route ran from a loop at St. Clair and Oakwood Avenue to Bicknell Loop, located on Rogers […]

Categories
History Infrastructure Ontario Roads

How the QEW made way for Ontario’s transportation innovation

Queen Elizabeth Way looking east towards Dixie Road in Mississauga Eighty years ago, the Queen Elizabeth Way was officially dedicated by King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (for whom it was named). The QEW, which connected Toronto with Hamilton and Niagara Falls, was not only Canada’s first superhighway, it was also the longest divided highway […]

Categories
Cycling History Ontario Roads

Punkeydoodle’s Corners and the world’s highest numbered address

Last weekend, I went for a ride in Waterloo Region, particularly in Wilmot Township, to the west of Kitchener-Waterloo. Despite some deceptively difficult hills and a strong headwind going back east, it was a very pleasant ride. Outside of Toronto, motorists seem to be quite courteous towards cyclists, with most giving me plenty of room. […]

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History Transit Travels

The streetcars of Hiroshima: a symbol of resilience

The Hiroshima Peace Memorial (A-Bomb Dome), with modern Hiroshima rising beyond. Despite its fame, there’s so much more to the city than the memorials. My wife and I recently came back from an 18-day trip to Japan. It was my first time visiting the country. We stayed in three cities: Tokyo, Kyoto, and Hiroshima, though […]

Categories
History Toronto Transit

The story of Toronto’s streetcar “bull’s eyes”

Replica of Toronto Railway Company streetcar #327 operates at the Halton County Radial Railway museum, with the unique glass bulbs visible below the metal “Belt Line” sign. Photo taken June 2012 In 1891, the Toronto Railway Company (TRC) was created, taking over the city’s streetcar system from its predecessor, the Toronto Street Railway. The TRC […]

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History Infrastructure Transit Travels

Subways don’t always last 100 years

Former Toronto Mayor Rob Ford liked to claim that subways would last one hundred years, while other “inferior” forms of transit, like light rail systems, would last only thirty. At the time, Ford was pushing for a subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre that would replace the Scarborough RT. The SRT opened in 1985 and […]

Categories
Development History Ontario Urban Planning

Ontario’s failed downtown malls

Bayside Mall, formerly the Sarnia Eaton Centre, on a Saturday morning in 2013. Most stores are vacant or occupied by non-profits or independent businesses. The Toronto Eaton Centre, large, famous, and vital, is only one of many malls built in the downtown cores of Ontario cities between the 1960s and 1990s. From Thunder Bay to […]

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Brampton History Maps Transit

Brampton Transit’s evolution from a laggard to a leader

For TVO this week, I discuss Brampton Transit’s impressive ridership growth. In the last five years, Brampton Transit has bucked the trend of stagnant ridership numbers encountered elsewhere in the Greater Toronto Area and North America in general. I argue that Brampton’s success in improving transit ridership comes from sustained investment over many years, the […]

Categories
Canada History Travels

A visit to New Glasgow, Nova Scotia

New Glasgow City Hall After our wedding, we went away to Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island. I’ve been to Halifax and the Annapolis Valley once before, in April 2004, but I’ve never been to Cape Breton (which has become one of my favourite places in Canada), or PEI. It was a wonderful trip. We […]

Categories
History Parks Toronto Walking

Exploring Earl Bales Park

View from the top of the ski hill at Earl Bales Park Last Sunday afternoon, I went for a walk around Earl Bales Park. The large, multiuse green space is located near the corner of Bathurst Street and Sheppard Avenue in North York; it also descends into the West Don Ravine. It was a delight […]