When I was a child, because my family possessed no automobile, we travelled everywhere by streetcar. Obviously, we made no trips beyond the boundaries of the city. Thus, as a child I associated streetcars with travelling to exciting destinations – High Park, the Toronto Islands, Sunnyside, and Kew Beach. When I was in my teens, I acquired a driver’s license, and my dad drove us to exotic far-away places like Lake Simcoe, Musselman Lake, and Niagara Falls. When I purchased my own car, I journeyed to Florida, Canada’s West Coast, and California. Later, I journey all over the world by plane. Now, I am retired. I still own a car, but travel to most places by streetcar. I love the Toronto streetcars, and look forward to the day my car rusts to nothing and I am once more solely a streetcar passenger.
The first streetcar I boarded as a child was the Rogers Road car, which took us to church in the Silverthorne District. They were the old Birney cars, and also travelled on Oakwood Avenue.
Next, I journeyed on the Bay streetcars to travel downtown to Eaton’s and Simpson’s. These were the Peter Witt cars, which began service in Toronto in the 1920’s.
Then I rode the PCC streetcars throughout the city.
Finally, I was able to ride the “Red Rockets” of today. These streetcars are soon to be replaced by a sleek modern streetcars that will better accommodate today’s riders.
I hope that the TTC is able to keep a sufficient number of the old streetcars and run them on a designated streetcar route for the summer months. From 24th of May weekend until Thanksgiving would be ideal. This would be a great tourist attraction. I would suggest the Spadina Line, as it is a short route and passes along one of the most interesting and colourful streets of the city. It goes through Chinatown. Of course, the main obstacle to this proposal is “money.”
I also wish that the tourism industry would better advertise the fabulous streetcar lines in our city. The King car is just one of these routes. It circles the inner city, providing a glimpse of some of our most interesting neighbourhoods. Beginning at the Dundas West subway station, it proceeds southward through the Roncesvalles area (a Polish community), then turns east along King Street, where one has excellent views of Lake Ontario and the old houses of Parkdale. It then continues eastward through Liberty Village, Kings West, the Entertainment District, the Financial District, Yonge Street, St. James Cathedral and the St. Lawrence Market area, King Street East, and The Don River. The streetcar then turns north and rambles through the Asian District at Broadview and Gerrard. One has an excellent view of Riverdale Park. Finally, the streetcar enters the Broadview Subway Station, where one can return to where the journey started. All this is for the price of one streetcar ticket or subway token. Even if you are a native of Toronto, this route is worth travelling as the areas have changed so much during the last year.
I have spent much of my adult life researching and photographing Toronto. I love the city and enjoy exploring it through my writing. One of the books, “The Villages Within”, was nominated for the Toronto Heritage Awards. If interested in novels with a Toronto setting, descriptions of the books are available by following the link: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/22/toronto-author-publishes-seventh-novel/
They can be purchased in soft cover or electronic editions. All books are available at Chapters/Indigo and on Amazon.com. The electronic editions are less that $4 on either Kobo or Kindle. Follow the links:
There Never Was a Better Time: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000056586/THERE-NEVER-WAS-A-BETTER-TIME.aspx
Arse Over Teakettle: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000132634/Arse-Over-Teakettle.aspx
The Reluctant Virgin; http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000188306/The-Reluctant-Virgin.aspx
The Villages Within: http://bookstore.iuniverse.com/Products/SKU-000175211/The-Villages-Within.aspx
Author’s Home Page: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/
Authors can be contacted at: [email protected]