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TTC offers monthly tours of carhouses, garages
and other facilities in 2011



This year, TTC staff are again conducting tours of garages, carhouses, training and operation centres and other facilities. The tours take place every month in 2011. (Tours take place as many as four times in some months.)

During the tours, you can look inside:


You need to register in advance to take the tours, but you must pay cash at the door. Space is limited to just 20 people, so you should arrive early. You must bring a valid photo ID card.


Facilities with tours in 2011


(Lower) Bay Station

For six months, from the opening of the Bloor - Danforth subway on Saturday, February 26, 1966 until Saturday, September 3 of that year, the TTC operated subway trains through two Bay Stations — one on top of the other.

Since then, the TTC has closed lower Bay Station and passengers have had few opportunities to glimpse it.

This year TTC staff are offering you just two opportunities — both on the same day — to look inside lower Bay Station. They’ll explain the history of the station, how the TTC used it in the past and how it uses this station today.

Tour date:

  • Saturday, October 22, 10 or 11:30 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “Toronto’s Lost Subway Stations” by James Bow, here.
  • “The Truth Behind the TTC’s 1966 Interlining Trial” by James Bow, here.
  • “Lower Bay’s Doors Open” by Raymond Lee, here.
  • “Lower Bay’s New York Makeover” by James Bow, here.

Greenwood Shop

The Greenwood Shop is one of the TTC’s two heavy-repair and overhaul facilities for subway cars. The shop covers about 190,000 square feet (17,600 square metres) and almost 200 employees work on overhauling vehicles and rebuilding components to support the fleet of subway vehicles and workcars.

Tour dates:

  • Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, November 26, 10 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “The Greenwood Subway Yards” by Aaron Adel and James Bow, here.

Harvey Shop

The Harvey Shop is where the TTC repairs many of its buses and streetcars. TTC staff will guide you through the shop, explaining what the various highly skilled tradespeople such as welders, tool and die makers, blacksmiths and millwrights do. One of the only two working blacksmith shops in Canada is in the building.

Tour dates:

  • Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, August 27, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “The Hillcrest Complex” by James Bow and Godfrey Mallion, here.

Lakeshore Garage

The Lakeshore Garage opened in 1980 as the main maintenance facility for TTC’s interurban branch, Gray Coach Lines. Today, most Wheel-Trans buses and community buses serving the 400 Lawrence Manor, 402 Parkdale, 403 South Don Mills, 404 East York and 405 Etobicoke routes operate from the Lakeshore Garage.

Tour dates:

  • Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, November 12, 10 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “Lakeshore Garage” by Godfrey Mallion, here.
  • “The history of Accessible Transit on the TTC” by Godfrey Mallion, here.

McCowan Carhouse

McCowan Carhouse is the maintenance facility for the rapid transit vehicles operating along the 3 Scarborough RT line. Forty employees perform corrective, preventive and running maintenance on the fleet of 28 vehicles. They also clean and service every car every day.

Tour dates:

  • Saturday, January 29, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday, October 8, 10 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “McCowan RT Yard” by James Bow and Godfrey Mallion, here.

TTC Operations Training Centre

During this tour, TTC staff explain the various TTC training programs. You may have a chance to try out the new TTC bus simulator. That means “driving” a 40-foot transit bus on a city street in a safe and controlled environment.

Tour dates:

  • Saturday, May 14, 10 a.m.or 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, July 23, 10 a.m.or 11:30 a.m.
  • Saturday, September 24, 10 a.m.or 11:30 a.m.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “The Hillcrest Complex” by James Bow and Godfrey Mallion, here.

Russell (or Connaught) Carhouse

Russell Carhouse is one of TTC’s central facilities for maintaining streetcars. The Toronto Railway Company originally opened it in 1913 as a vehicle paint shop. In 1916, a fire ravaged a carhouse at King Street East and St. Lawrence Street. Shortly afterward, the company rebuilt Russell and turned it into a streetcar maintenance facility, to replace the King Carhouse.

While taking over the building, the TTC found that the foundations were faulty and the facility was sinking into the Ashbridge’s Bay “fill”. In 1923 they called for tenders to demolish the structure and build a new carhouse on the site. The new building reopened on December 13th, 1924. The Traffic office was located at the northeast corner of the property.

You can visit the facility where the streetcars are repaired. You can also board and view the new articulated — or “bendy” — streetcar and the TTC’s vintage streetcars, including a Peter Witt and a Presidents Conference Committee (PCC).

Since, naturally, the carhouse contains streetcar tracks in the yard, you should be aware of possible tripping hazards.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “Russell (Connaught) Carhouse” by James Bow and Hugh McAuley here.

General information


The TTC can only accommodate a few people on each tour, so it limits the number of spaces available and asks you to reserve your place several days before the tour. Children between the ages of 4 and 18 may join any of the tours, if an adult accompanies them. (No more than two children for each adult on the tour.) The tours are not accessible to people who use scooters, wheelchairs or strollers.

Please note the following safety requirements:

  • no open toe shoes;
  • no shorts
  • no animals (certified service animals are allowed)
  • some facilities require CSA approved safety shoes (no exceptions).
Register before the tour

You must register before the tour by e-mailing: publictours@ttc.ca. Staff accept registrations on a “first-come, first-serve” basis, but they will confirm your registration within five business days. When you register, please include the name, date of birth, address and telephone number for everyone that you’re registering.

Pay cash only on the day of the tour

You can only join the tour, after registering, by paying cash. (No credit or debit cards.) The cost is $15 for each person 13 years or older and $5 for each person 12 years or younger.

Bring photo ID cards on the day of the tour

The TTC requires everyone to show a valid photo identification card on the day of the tour. They’ll accept:

  • valid driver’s licenses;
  • passports;
  • provincial health cards with photo;
  • permanent resident cards
  • citizenship cards
  • aboriginal identification cards
  • age of majority cards.

Month-by-month calendar of the tours



Saturday, January 29, 10 a.m.: McCowan Carhouse

Saturday, February 26, 10 a.m.: Greenwood Shop

Saturday, March 26, 10 a.m.: Lakeshore Garage

Saturday, April 16, 10 a.m.: Harvey Shop

Saturday, May 7, 10 a.m.: Russell Carhouse
Saturday, May 14, 10 and 11:30 a.m.: TTC Operations Training Centre

Saturday, June 11, 10 a.m.: McCowan Carhouse
Saturday, June 25, 10 a.m.: Greenwood Shop

Saturday, July 9, 10 a.m.: Lakeshore Garage
Saturday, July 25, 10 and 11:30 a.m.: TTC Operations Training Centre

Saturday, August 27, 10 a.m.: Harvey Shop

Saturday, September 24, 10 and 11:30 a.m.: TTC Operations Training Centre

Saturday, October 8, 10 a.m.: McCowan Carhouse
Saturday, October 22, 10 and 11:30 a.m.: (Lower) Bay Station

Saturday, November 12, 10 a.m.: Lakeshore Garage
Saturday, November 26, 10 a.m.: Greenwood Shop

Saturday, December 10, 10 a.m.: Harvey Shop