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Vintage streetcars a highlight of Beaches Easter Parade

Streetcars are as much a part of the history of the Beaches (or “Beach”) neighbourhood of Toronto as sand and seagulls.

The first horse-drawn cars of the Toronto Street Railway arrived at the old racetrack at Queen and Woodbine in May, 1887, and by 1899, the horse cars of the TSR’s successor, the Toronto Railway Company regularly carried suburbanites between Lee Avenue and downtown Toronto. Electric-powered streetcars arrived to Woodbine by April, 1893 and to Lee by May of the same year.

On Easter, Sunday, April 4, the Toronto Transit Commission celebrates the important role public transit has played in the history of the Beaches by presenting a procession of streetcars during the annual Beaches Lions’ Club Easter Parade along Queen Street East.

Transit fans can get a chance to view and photograph vintage and current streetcars, including a classic Peter Witt car, which served Torontonians from 1921 to 1963, an iconic PCC (“Presidents’ Conference Committee”) car that rolled the rails throughout Toronto from 1939 until 1996, and the TTC’s current car, the CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle), which first carried passengers in 1977.

(At one time, the Toronto Transportation Commission owned the largest fleet of PCC’s in the world - 745 cars. Two cars remain in the TTC fleet and are available for groups to charter.)

The parade starts at Queen Street East and Nursewood Road (beside the Neville Loop) at 2 p.m. and continues along Queen to Woodbine Avenue, ending at about 4 p.m.

From the Transit Toronto streetcar archives, you can read three articles by James Bow, describing:

  • Peter Witt streetcars in Toronto here;
  • PCC cars in Toronto here; and
  • CLRVs in Toronto here.