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TTC's ninetieth anniversary today, September 1

Ninety years ago today, on September 1, 1921, the City of Toronto launched its new city-owned transit system, the Toronto Transportation Commission. The bold new venture resulted from years of contention between the City and the Toronto Railway Company, a private company that operated most of Toronto’s streetcars.

When the TRC refused to run streetcars into the areas that the City had recently annexed, the City decided to provide the service itself and formed the Toronto Civic Railways, building new lines along Danforth Avenue, Gerrard Street East, Bloor Street West, St. Clair and Lansdowne Avenues.

Other privately run streetcar systems, including the Toronto and York Radial Railway and the Toronto Suburban Railway, also operated in large sections of North and West Toronto. Each separate system collected its own fares and offered no transfers between networks, so a Toronto traveler paid anywhere from 2 cents to 15 cents to travel across the city. City Council resolved that, once the TRC’s franchise ran out, that the City would merge all of the networks into a single transit system. On January 1, 1920, voters approved the City operating all streetcar service and, so on September 1, 1921, Toronto Transportation Commission was born.

(In 1954, the province of Ontario established the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto and amalgamated the Toronto Transportation Commission with four more privately owned transit companies, creating today’s Toronto Transit Commission.)

You can learn more about the history of the TTC and other transit systems in Toronto from the Transit Toronto archives.

  • Read: “A brief history of transit in Toronto” by James Bow, here.

You can also visit the TTC’s own history site here.

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Welcome to Transit Toronto! This is an information site dedicated to public transportation in Toronto, maintained by transit enthusiasts for transit enthuasiasts. This is NOT the official website of the Toronto Transit Commission, Metrolinx or any other transit provider or government agency. To access the official websites of these agencies, consult this page here.