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Toronto Transportation Society PCC 75th Anniversary Charter (October 6, 2013)

Text and photos by James Bow

Toronto’s first PCC cars were unveiled to the public at the 1938 edition of the Canadian National Exhibition. These sleek, modern cars would debut in public service on September 23, offering free rides on the ST. CLAIR route. Over the following 58 years, these streetcars would provide comfortable and reliable service to millions of Torontonians until their removal from regular service in 1996. Since then, the TTC retained two PCC cars for heritage purposes and for use in charter service. There were some hairy days when concerns over the cars’ wear and tear risked their removal from the system, but railfans rallied around these vehicles, convincing the TTC to provide needed maintenance.

So it was that the TTC continues to maintain two PCC cars seventy-five years after the model’s arrival on Toronto’s streets. Noting the milestone, the Toronto Transportation Society organized a special charter for railfans on Sunday, October 6. PCC 4500 was called to duty, and a good time was had by all.

TTS PCC 75th Anniversary Charter Image Archive

A great time was had by all on this charter. It was also interesting seeing the reaction of pedestrians as PCC 4500 ran past. Many would look startled, and some would pull out their cellphone cameras for a quick photo. Many smiled to see the elegant reminder of the TTC’s PCC history as it passed them on the streets of Toronto. It only goes to show how much of an impact the PCCs had on the cultural history of Toronto, and how well-loved these vehicles remain.

Thanks go to the Toronto Transportation Society and the organizers of this charter for putting together this great memorial run.

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