All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Toronto, Ontario

Principal System

Yorkville Buss Line [Toronto] omnibus Yorkville Buss Line (1849 - 1862)
omnibus Omnibus service established by H. Williams (CTH). Company acquired by the TSR 1862 (Pursley 1958).

Toronto Street Railway horsecar 76 (City of Toronto Archives f1244_it1356) Toronto Street Railway Company (11 September 1861 - 01 September 1891)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 29 May 1861 (Can.). Reincorporated 29 March 1873. Horse car operation. The City of Toronto assumed all operations at the end of the TSR franchise 20 May 1891. Municipal operation given up and the system sold by the City to TRyCo interests after only three months. (photo: City of Toronto Archives).

Toronto Railway Company (01 September 1891 - 31 August 1921)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 14 April 1892 (Ont.) Succeeded at the end of its franchise by the TTC. Company dissolved in 1930.

Toronto Transportation Commission (01 September 1921 - 31 December 1953)
street railway/light rail trolley bus Public agency. Acquired the TRCo and TCR 1921, the Toronto Suburban 1923-1925, and the Toronto and York Radial 1927. Introduced motorbuses to Toronto 1921. Initiated construction of Canada's first subway system in the late 1940's. Name changed to Toronto Transit Commission 1954.

Toronto Subway Toronto Transit Commission (01 January 1954 - present)
street railway/light rail trolley bus metro On 01 July 1954 the newly enlarged TTC took over the "urban" bus operations of TCL, HBL, DBL, and the Toronto Transportation Commission Metropolitan Area Base, as well as the "intercity and rural" class operations of David R. Murray and WYCL (DBS Transit Report, RFC). Prentice excluded Murray and TCL but included RBL, DBL, WYCL, and HBL in his expansion description. (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992, Chow 1998, website). (Photos Blinkpunkt Straßenbahn, William A. Luke)

Toronto Transit Commission #1371 (1948 Twin model 41-S) (William A. Luke) Toronto TTC3130 GM new look (William A. Luke) Scarborough RT

Toronto Transit  Commission logo
TTC Logo
Service area population2,200,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet1485 buses,
248 LR cars,
28 RT cars,
660 HR (subway) cars (2000)
Employees10,506 (1991)
Ridership471,233,000 (2009)
Data sources:CUTA 1991/2
Mike Rivest 1998 (logo)
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)
The TTC is very protective of their logo, and it (like all of the other transit system logos included in the All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems) is included here solely for the historical record. No association with, or endorsement by, the TTC is implied or intended.

Secondary Systems

Toronto Industrial Exhibition Railway Toronto Industrial Exhibition Electrical Railway (September 1885 - September 1890 (two weeks each September))
street railway/light rail The Toronto Industrial Exhibition was held annually for two weeks each September. From 1883 it included a demonstration of the latest electric railway technology. In 1883 a 350 yd (320 m) electric railway line was constructed by the Toronto Industrial Exhibition Association but it did not function properly. For the 1884 fair street railway pioneer Charles Van Depoele constructed a successful 3000 ft. (900 m) line inside the fair grounds and passengers were carried. For September 1885 the line was extended to meet a Toronto Street Railway horsecar line, providing public transit to the fair. The line, nearly a mile (1½ km) long, carried nearly 50,000. Operation of the line for the 1886 exhibition was conducted by the Toronto Electric Light Company. The line was last operated electrically in 1889, and operated for the last time in September 1890, using a steam locomotive.

Toronto Civic Railway (18 December 1912 - 31 August 1921)
street railway/light rail Municipal operation. Became part of the TTC 1921. (Pursley 1961)

Toronto Jitney Association (17 March 1915 - circa September 1915)
The "jitney craze" in Toronto played out in similar fashion to other Canadian cities. The first jitney appeared 22 February 1915 in Rosedale, owned by W.D. Gregory and by May 1915 there were about 150 in service. Various associations came and went quickly. CR&MW made note of the following:

There is no reporting on jitneys in Toronto in 1916, 1917 or 1918. (CR&MW 1915-1918).

James Bristow (circa 1915)
Bus (probably jitney) service operated between Yonge and St. Clair and Leaside. (Gryfe 2001).

York Township Railways (19 November 1924 - 13 September 1948)
street railway/light rail Lines in York township constructed for the municipality by the TTC commenced operation (by the TTC under contract) 1924. Suburban Lambton line of the Toronto Suburban Railway Company in the Township of York acquired 25 November 1924. York Township and the Town of Weston jointly acquired Toronto Suburban Weston line 28 November 1925. Operated under an agreement of 07 August 1924 by the TTC. Bus and/or trolley coach services were continued under separate accounts until the establishment of the Transit Comm. in 1954.

Own Your Own Bus Ltd. (? - ?)
Bus transit operation between Toronto and Long Branch, parallelling the TTC's Toronto - Long Branch - Port Credit electric railway line. In 1926 OYOB was operating 6 buses on a 20 minute headway, for a fare of 15¢/person (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263).

P. Pedlar (? - ?)
Bus transit operation between Toronto (Broadway/Danforth) and Pape Avenue. In 1926 the operation consisted of 4 buses on a 20 minute headway, for a fare of 5¢/person or 6 tickets for 25¢ (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263).

Toronto Gray Coach Lines 863 Ford (William A. Luke) Gray Coach Lines (28 June 1928 - 01 July 1954)
Subsidiary of the TTC providing suburban and intercity bus service (Prentice). Also operated premium "coach" service on routes within Toronto. The downtown to hill district TTC service transferred to GCL 28 June 1928. GCL coach service between downtown and Rosedale begun 28 November 1928 (CR&MW December 1928, p. 743). TTC service area expanded 1954 replacing GCL suburban services. GCL remained an intercity bus operator and TTC subsidiary until it was sold to Stagecoach (Holdings) Ltd. of Scotland in June of 1990. The intercity operations were purchased by Greyhound Lines of Canada from Stagecoach December 1992. (photo William A. Luke).

A. Ireland (spring 1920 - ?)
Toronto - King City bus service. (Kennedy)

Foster Bus Lines (? - 14 May 1931)
R. Foster, owner (Kennedy). Toronto - King City bus service. Acquired 1931 by T.J. Shoniker. (Kennedy)

Eatons Inter Store Coach Service [Toronto] Eatons Inter-Store Coach Service ticket Eaton's Inter-Store Coach Service (30 October 1930 - 31 October 1942, 04 June 1945 - 11 March 1972)
The T. Eaton Company provided a coach service between its two Toronto department stores. The service was contracted to Gray Coach Lines 1930 - 31 December 1961 and the Toronto Transit Commission 01 January 1962 - 1972. Service suspended 1942 - 1945 due to wartime restrictions. (Knowles, photo Wikipedia).

Toronto Coach Lines, Ltd. (14 May 1931 - 01 July 1954)
Incorporated 1931 (Ont.) T.J. Shoniker, owner. Operating initially between downtown Toronto and King City replacing FBL. Acquired Swansea service from SBS 1938 and sold it to WYCL 06 March 1945 (Kennedy). (CR&MW 1931). Operations assumed by the TTC 1954.

Swansea Bus Service (? - 01 March 1938)
Sold to TCL 1938 (Kennedy).

C.F. Ramsell (Spring 1926 - June 1926)
In 1926 Toronto - Birchcliff Heights bus service was operated with one bus making 24 trips/day, 42/day on Saturdays. Fare was 5¢ (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263). Sold to DBL 1926 (Kennedy).

Danforth Bus Lines (June 1926 - 01 July 1954)
T.J. Shoniker, owner (Kennedy). Suburban bus service from Toronto to Birchcliff and points east (CR&MW 1931). Operations assumed by the TTC 1954. (Pursley 1961). (Ticket image courtesy Wayne Miller).

Hollinger Bus Lines [Toronto] #70 (Toronto Public Library) Hollinger Bus Lines Limited (June 1921 - 01 July 1954)
J. Hollinger & Co. Ltd., owner (Kennedy). Bus service in East York. Operations assumed by the TTC 1954. (Pursley 1961, CR&MW 1931, photos: Wayne Miller, Toronto Public Library).

Alex Hamilton (01 March 1927 - 27 December 1930)
Dawes Road bus service (Kennedy). Sold 1930 to DRCL (Kennedy).

Del-Ray coach 1936 (City of Toronto Archives) Del-Ray Coach Lines (? - 06 July 1936)
A. Sefton, owner (Kennedy). Suburban Toronto - Islington service acquired by GCL Spring 1929 (Prentice). Earlier references have the Toronto-Islington services operated by Bell and Fife (2 buses, 30 minute headway, 10¢ fare) and J. Hislop (2 buses, 6 trips/day, 30¢ fare) (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263). Dawes Road service sold to HBL 1936 (Kennedy). (photo: City of Toronto Archives).

West York and District Bus Service (13 June 1932 - early 1946)
J.J. Heath, owner (Kennedy). York Township - West Toronto Junction bus service.

West York yard, July 1953 West York Coach Lines Limited (early 1946 - 01 July 1954)
Incorporation of WY&DBS. Suburban operation absorbed by the TTC (Pursley 1961, Prentice). Service reached Malton (CC70).

Neath and Leadbetter (circa 1926 - ?)
Roselands - Toronto bus service using 3 buses on a 20 minute headway (10 minutes in rush hours) for a 5¢ fare (CR&MW May 1926, pp. 262-263).

Roseland Fitzjohn 1953 (Toronto Public Library) Roseland Bus Lines (1925 - 01 July 1954)
David R. Murray, owner (Kennedy). Weston - Woodbridge bus service from 1925, service extended to West Toronto Junction 1942 (Kennedy). RBL suburban operation absorbed by the TTC (Pursley 1961, Prentice). Service reached Woodbridge (CC70).

GO Dial-a-Bus (29 October 1973 - 26 June 1976)
Serving York Mills (until 26 June 1976), Armour Heights (until 23 June 1974) and Downsview (until 21 July 1974). Demonstration dial-a-bus project. Operation contracted to the TTC (Shortreed, CC74).

York University Shuttle (mid to late 1970s - circa 1977, circa 2002 - end of 2017?)
The initial YU Shuttle connected campus to the Finch Regional Terminal. This service perhaps ended when the subway was extended to Wilson Station 28 January 1978. The second incarnation of the YU Shuttle connected campus with York University GO Station approximately 1.6 km away. This second shuttle was expected to be cancelled with the subway extenstion onto campus. (Nicol 2017).

Line Six Transit OS (06 October 2014 - 10 October 2014)
Crowd funded subscription commuter bus transit between Liberty Village and Union Station. Service also called Liberty Village Express. After a trial in October 2014, regular service was announced for 19 January 2015 but cancelled before it began. (website 2014, Toronto Star Jan. 7, 2015).

UberHop (15 December 2015 - present?)
Flat-fare peak-hour only (7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.) shared ride service on four routes connecting the financial district with Liberty Village, Fort York, Cityplace and the Distillery District (CityNews 14 December 2015, Toronto Star 14 December 2015).

Toronto Islands Services

Privit's Horse Boat (late 1844 - ?)
ferry Most prominant of many early individual private ferry operators between Toronto and the adjacent Toronto Islands. Service also known as the " Peninsula Packet". (Pursley 1961). Other operators included (dates approximate) Michael O'Connor (operating "Sir John of the Peninsula" 1833 - 1851), George Heathcote ("Toronto" 1835 - 1851), James Good ("Victoria" 1851 - 1855), John Quinn ("Citizen" 1853 - ?), Robert Moodie ("Firefly" 1859 - ?), John Walsh ("Princess of Wales"/"General Wolsey" 1865 - 1883), James Saulter ("Bouquet" 1866 - ?), Thomas Lundy ("Perry" 1870 - ?). Turner Ferry Co. (various 1878 - 1890), Canada Steamship Co. (various 1880 - 1929), and A.J. Tymon Ferry Company (various 1882 - 1890). (Partridge)

Toronto Ferry Company (1890 - 1927)
ferry Incorporated 1890. Acquired the vessels and operations of the Doty Ferry Company in 1890, and of the Island Park Ferry Company in 1894. Acquired by the City of Toronto 1927. (Pursley 1961).

Toronto Transportation Commission (1927 - 1954 (Annually Easter to 15 December))
ferry Operation on behalf of the City of Toronto.

City of Toronto (1927 - 1954 (Annually 15 December to Easter))
ferry Operation using ice-capable tugs, initially for City employees but eventually expanded to include a growing year round residential community on the Islands.

Toronto Transit Commission (1954 - 1961 (Year round))
ferry Ferry service.

Metro Toronto Parks (1962 - 2001)
ferry Ferry service between the Toronto mainland and the Toronto Islands. Bus service (until 1993?) on the Islands, using chartered TTC buses and Parks staff (CUTA TT89).

Toronto Parks Department (2001 - present)
ferry Successor to Metro Parks.


Omnibus1849 - circa 1894*
Animal railway11 September 1861*** - 31 August 1894
Electric railway16 August 1892 § - present
Motor bus20 September 1921 - present
Motor bus busway20 November 2009 - present
Trolley coach18 June 1922 - 31 August 1925,
19 June 1947 - 19 July 1993**
Heavy rail transit30 March 1954 - present
Heavy rail transit (ICTS)22 March 1985 - 24 July 2023
* After 1861 Omnibus operation was restricted to remote lines and weather related interruptions in horse railway operations. Sleighs were also used in appropriate circumstances.
*** Formal opening ceremonies held 10 September 1861 (RFC).
§ Formal opening ceremonies held 15 August 1892 (RFC).
** Trolley coach service was suspended 19 January 1992 - 04 September 1992 and again beginning 19 July 1993.


Copyright ©1989-2023 David A. Wyatt. All Rights Reserved.
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The author is always interested in comments, corrections and further information. Please email to:
This page last modified: Wednesday, 30-Aug-2023 20:30:45 CDT