All-Time List of Canadian Transit Systems

by David A. Wyatt

Toronto Region, Ontario

Toronto and York Radial Interurban

Principal System

Metropolitan Street Railway Company of Toronto (26 January 1885 - 1893)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 02 March 1877 (Ont.) Animal railway service on Yonge Street began in 1885. Electric service began 01 September 1890. Animal power was resubstituted circa October 1890 - circa May 1891 (RFC). Name changed to MStRyCo 1893.

Metropolitan Street Railway Company (1893 - 1897)
electric interurban Name changed to MRyCo 1897.

Metropolitan Railway 11 (Donald P. Evans collection) Metropolitan Railway Company (1897 - 01 November 1904)
electric interurban Service extended to Aurora and Newmarket by 1899. Controlling interest acquired by the Toronto Railway Company (city system), through its subsidiary, the T&YRR, 01 August 1904. (photos Donald P. Evans collection)

Metropolitan Railway loco 1 at Richmond Hill 1897 (Donald P. Evans collection)

Toronto and York Radial Railway Company (01 November 1904 - 16 March 1930)
electric interurban Incorporated 1898 (Dom.) Owned by the Toronto Railway Company (city system). Company operations began when the MRyCo, the T&SERL&PCo and the T&MRyCo were combined as the T&YRR 1904. Acquired by the City of Toronto 16 August 1922 and operated by the Hydro Electric Power Commission of Ontario as the Hydro Electric Railways: Toronto and York Division from 01 November 1922 until 12 January 1927. After this date, service was operated under contract by the Toronto Transportation Commission. Mimico line service suspended 27 September 1928 - 09 December 1928 and was ended 09 February 1935> (RFC). Scarborough line ended service 25 June 1936> (RFC). North Yonge service abandoned by the T&YRR 16 March 1930>. Partial service resumed in July under a new owner.

North Yonge Railway/TTC 411 ( Bernard 1948) North Yonge Railways (17 July 1930 - 09 October 1948>)
electric interurban Owned by area municipalities. Operated under contract by the Toronto Transportation Commission. (photo: Bernard 1948).

Schomberg Branch

Schomberg and Aurora Railway Company (1916 - 1922)
electric interurban Incorporated 1896 (Dom.) Opened in 1904 as a steam railway and acquired that year by the T&YRR. Line was the site of a trial operation by gasoline-electric car in October and November 1912. Electrified in 1916. Operated as a subsidiary of the T&YRR throughout its existence. Reported in the CYB 1916 to 1922 (CYB 1916-17 - CYB 1922-23). Line closed June 1927.

Kingston Road/Scarboro' Line

Kingston Road Tramways Company (09 June 1875 - circa May 1887)
street railway/light rail Horse car operation from the Don River east on Kingston Road (now Queen Street and Kingston Road) (RFC, Stamp). A forerunner of the T&SERy (RFC).

Toronto and Scarboro' Electric Railway, Light and Power Company (01 July 1893 - 01 November 1904)
electric interurban Incorporated 18 August 1892 (Ont.) Controlling interest acquired by the TRC 06 March 1895. Line divided between the city system and the T&YRR in 1904 or 1906.

Mimico/Port Credit Line

Toronto and Mimico Electric Railway and Light Company (16 July 1892 - 1903)
electric interurban Incorporated 14 November 1890 (Ont.) Initial service between Sunnyside (Toronto) and the Humber River. Service suspended 10 September 1892 - 01 July 1893 (RFC). Controlling interest acquired by the TRC 05 July 1893. Service extended from Humber River to Mimico Creek 10 July 1893, and further to Etobicoke Creek (Long Branch) 29 September 1893. Name changed to T&MRyCo 1903.

Toronto and Mimico Railway Company (1903 - 01 November 1904)
electric interurban Service extended from Long Branch to Port Credit 24 December 1905. Amalgamated into the T&YRR 1904.

Toronto Suburban Interurban

City and Suburban Electric Railway Company (October 1892 - 1894)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 12 November 1890 (Ont.) as the Weston, High Park and Toronto Street Railway Company. Name changed to C&SERyCo 1891.

Davenport Street Railway Company (06 September 1892 - 1894)
street railway/light rail Electric railway operating west of the then city limits of Toronto. Line was merged into the Toronto Suburban in 1894.

Toronto Suburban Street Railway Company (1894 - 1900)
street railway/light rail Incorporated 1894 as the merger of the C&SERyCo and the DSRyCo. Name changed to TSRyCo 1900.

Toronto Suburban Railway Company (1900 - 26 December 1923)
electric interurban Acquired by Canadian Northern Railway Company interests in 1911 and gradually extended. Line to Woodbridge opened October 1914. Service via Cooksville and Georgetown to Guelph opened 21 April 1917 (formal opening 14 April 1917). Canadian Northern became Canadian National Railways. Suburban lines within the city of Toronto sold 15 November 1923 and absorbed by the TTC.

Canadian National Electric Railways: Toronto Suburban District (26 December 1923 - 15 August 1931)
electric interurban (RFC). Track in the Township of York sold to the municipality 25 November 1924 for operation as York Township Railways on behalf of the community by the TTC (see Toronto). York Township and the Town of Weston jointly acquired Toronto Suburban Weston line 28 November 1925, adding it to York Twp Rys. The line from Weston north to Woodbridge was abandoned 10 May 1926. The Toronto - Guelph line closed 15 August 1931.

Toronto Eastern Interurban

Toronto Eastern Railway Company (No operation)
Incorporated 04 April 1910 (Dom.) to build a high speed electric interurban from Toronto east to Pickering, Whitby, and Oshawa. Company acquired by Canadian Northern Railway interests 1911 who extended the proposal east of Oshawa to Bowmanville and Cobourg. Construction begun 1912. By 1913 track was in place from Bowmanville to Whitby, and construction halted. The property passed with its parent to Canadian National Railways September 1918. Amalgamated with the Toronto Suburban 26 December 1923 to form Canadian National Electric Railways. CNERys began rehabilitation of the existing trackwork in 1923, and new construction between Whitby and Pickering was undertaken. The CNR abandoned the project a second time in 1924. No commercial service ever operated on the line. (RFC, Due)

Toronto Region Commuter Rail

commuter rail Commuter rail service in Canada has existed almost as long as there have been passenger railways, but the operation of rail commuter services by a transit agency in the Toronto region dates only from 1967.

Exactly when a train is a commuter train is open to debate. The pre-GO selections below are based on meeting three criteria:

  1. operation at least Monday through Friday,
  2. scheduled to arrive downtown just before the start of the workday and with a return trip departing just after the workday, and
  3. a one-way trip time of approximately 90 minutes or less.
With this criteria several commuter train services can be identified from CN and CP timetables in the late 1950s and late 1960s. This is supplemented by additional sources, but cannot be considered complete.

Great Western Railway [Toronto] 760 commuter locomotive Great Western Railway (1878 - August 1882)
commuter rail Initiated Lakeshore commuter train service between downtown and Mimico using steam dummy locomotives pulling a coach. GWR taken over by the GTR in 1882. (Boles 2015).

Grand Trunk Railway Company (August 1882 - 1896/1923)
commuter rail Absorbed the Lakeshore service from the GWR in 1882. Added a second line from York (now Danforth) via Toronto Union Station to Weston circa 1892. By 1896 GTR had discontinued both dedicated commuter train routes as unprofitable. GTR scheduled long distance trains to facilitate commuting into Toronto from Hamilton from at least the early 1890's through until it became part of Canadian National in 1923. (Boles 2015).

Toronto Belt Line Railway [Company] (30 July 1892 - 17 November 1894)
commuter rail Organized by local interests but closely allied with the Grand Trunk Railway Company. Constructed linking trackage creating two loops between downtown Toronto and nearby suburbs. Financially unable to complete construction, the TBL was acquired 01 June 1892 by the GTR which completed it and began operations. Unprofitable, the GTR terminated passenger service and abandoned some of the trackage in 1894. (Riddell, p. 7)

Canadian National Railways (1923? - 1982)

  1. Hamilton - Oakville - Toronto
    (39.3 mi./62.9 km, 80-90 min.). Commuting by train between Hamilton and Toronto has long been available. In the 1920s and 1930s short turn trips were also operated between Toronto and Oakville (21.3 mi./34.1 km). In 1956/57 a weekday Hamilton train arrived in Toronto at 7:35am and another, daily except Sunday, followed at 8:30am. Return commutes departed Toronto daily except Sunday at 5:20pm and weekdays at 6:20pm. Those homebound to Hamilton could also take a 55 min. express at 6:00pm. Off-peak service was supplemented by additional trains. (CN 1956/57). In 1956/57 a reverse commute was also possible, with passengers arriving in Hamilton at 8:20am. Return service was provided by a train originating at Niagara Falls, Ont., and boarding at Hamilton at 6:30pm (CN 1956/57). The Toronto schedule was the same 1966/67, but the reverse Hamilton commute was no longer possible (CN 1966/67). GO Transit assumed the service in 1967.
  2. Guelph - Georgetown - Toronto
    (48.8 mi./78.1 km, 85-92 min.). In 1966/67 a weekday morning train arrived in Toronto at 8:00am, with a corresponding homeward departure at 5:20pm (CN 1966/67). This service was discontinued 14 November 1975 after overlapping with new Georgetown GO service for 18½ months (Mark Brader).
  3. Weston - Toronto
    CNR battery car 15801 service between Toronto and Weston 1922 (City of Toronto Archives f1231_it1022) (8.6 mi./13.8 km). In the 1920s and 1930s CN operated frequent round trip service between Toronto and Weston. (photo: City of Toronto Archives).
  4. Stouffville - Markham - Toronto
    (28.7 mi./45.9 km to Stouffville, 22.3 mi./35.7 km to Markham). Route established by cutting back Toronto - Belleville via Stouffville 1962 to Toronto - Markham (out only). A 1971 application to abandon yielded order to extend to Stouffville. Became a GO Transit service September 1982. (Mark Brader, Tom Box).
  5. Barrie - Toronto
    (64.1 mi./102.6 km). A CN commuter run from April 1974. Became a GO Transit service September 1982 and cut back to Bradford (41.5 mi./66.4 km). GO resumed running through to Barrie between September 1990 and July 1993. (Mark Brader, Tom Box).

Canadian Pacific Railway Company (1908 - circa 1910, 1950's - 1978)
Via Rail Canada, Inc. (1978 - 06 September 1982, 03 June 1985 - January 1990)

  1. Brampton - Toronto
    In 1908 the CPR initiated local motor-car train service between Toronto and Brampton. The car was removed from service by about 1910. (Boles 2015).
  2. Havelock - Peterborough - Toronto
    VIA train 189 at Pontypool on the Havelock commute [RDC #6135] (D. Danko 1982) (100.8 mi./161.3 km and 145-150 min. from Havelock, 76.5 mi./122.4 km and 110-115 min. from Peterborough). Although very long by commuter train norms, it's difficult to explain why else this service was scheduled daily except Sunday, arriving in Toronto at 8:50am and departing at 6:30pm except for commuters (CP 1957/58). The schedule was still in place in 1968 (CP 1968/69) and was transferred to Via c1978. In 1988 bleary-eyed commuters still arrived in Toronto by 8:30am (163 minutes after leaving Havelock and 123 minutes from Peterborough). The return trip left Toronto at 5:30pm with similar running times (Via 1988/89). Service last day 06 September 1982, reinstated 03 June 1985, and cancelled permanently January 1990. (Tom Box, Via timetables 01 June 1982 and 01 June 1985, photo: S. Danko/


If the commuter travel time window is stretched to two hours, then Via Rail Canada, Inc.'s weekday trains between Toronto and London via Brantford and Woodstock (185 km, 115-121 min.) arriving Toronto 8:25am and departing 5:15pm, and between Toronto and Niagara Falls via St. Catharines, Grimsby and Oakville (132 km, 113-115 min.) arriving Toronto 8:35am and departing 5:45pm would also qualify as commuter trains (Via 2006/2007). Weekdaily commuting, especially from intermediate points, is also available on Via's trains 86 & 87 (Toronto - London) and 651 & 48 (Toronto - Kingston), although endpoint-to-Toronto travel times approach or exceed three hours on these services (Tom Box).

Commuter train operation by a public transit agency began in 1967.

GO Transit 1311 highway coach GO Transit (23 May 1967 - present)
commuter rail Originally established as Government of Ontario Transit, but this long form of the name is now obsolete. GO Transit became the responsibility of the Greater Toronto Services Board 07 August 1999 as the Toronto Area Transportation Operating Authority (TATOA). GO returned to provincial control as a crown corporation under the Greater Toronto Transit Authority (GTTA) 01 January 2002. The GTTA adopted the name Metrolinx in 2007. GO amalgamated with Metrolinx, becoming an operating division, in 2009. (website, Wikipedia).

Seven rail lines.

  1. Lakeshore West (1967 - present)
    Toronto - Port Credit - Oakville - Burlington - Hamilton.
  2. Lakeshore East (1967 - present)
    Toronto - Pickering - Ajax - Whitby - Oshawa (1990 - present).
  3. Georgetown (1974 - 1990, 1993 - 2011) / Guelph (1990 - 1993) / Kitchener (2011 - present) / London (2021 - 2023)
    Toronto - Weston - Bramalea - Brampton - Georgetown - Acton (1990 - 1993, 2012 - present) - Guelph (1990 - 1993, 2011 - present) - Kitchener (2011 - present). One daily round trip extended to London (18 October 2021 - 13 October 2023).
  4. Milton (1981 - present)
    Toronto - Cooksville - Streetsville - Milton.
  5. Richmond Hill (1978 - present)
    Toronto - Langstaff - Richmond Hill.
  6. Bradford (1982 - 1990, 1993 - 2007) / Barrie (1990 - 1993, 2007 - present)
    Toronto - King City - Aurora - Newmarket - Bradford - Barrie South (2007 - present) / Barrie (1990 - 1993).
  7. Stouffville (1982 - present)
    Toronto - Unionville - Markham - Stouffville.
GO also operates (or contracts for the operation of) bus services in the Toronto region. Bus services, first introduced 08 September 1970, now link several additional communities with the rail system and with Toronto, including Acton, Barrie, Bolton (discontinued 1990s), Bowmanville, Churchill, Courtice, Goodwood (ended 1996), Guelph, Holland Landing, Huttonville, Nobleton (discontinued 1990s), Norval, Oak Ridges, Palgrave (discontinued 1990s), Rockwood, Stroud, and Uxbridge (ended 1996). Bus service contractors have included Gray Coach Lines (Canadian Coach 1972, Russell's 1989), Travelways (Canadian Coach 1972), Charterways Transportation Limited (Russell's 1989), and Penetang-Midland Coach Lines Limited (Russell's 1989). (CUTA 1989, CUTA 1991/2, CUTA 1992. Photos: Richard Hooles 2001, Alex Regiec 2004, Wikipedia)
GO Transit train at Richmond Hill 2004 (Alex Regiec photo) GO Transit highway bus 2004 (Alex Regiec Photo)

GO Transit logo
system logo
Service area population4,200,000 (1991)
Vehicle fleet211 buses,
45 locomotives,
314 coaches (2000)
Ridership54,897,200 (2009)
Employees1,193 (1991)
Data source:CUTA 1991/2
Mike Rivest 1998 (logo)
CTF [Aug. 2010] (ridership)

Toronto Region Commuter Bus

GO Transit (08 September 1970 - present)
See above.

Quicklink 6427 at Kitchener (Alex Regiec 2009 Aug. 05) Greyhound QuickLink Commuter Service (200x? - present)
Various routes and schedules operated by Greyhound Transportation Canada Inc. in the Toronto Region are marketed as QuickLink commuter services, with commuting schedules and monthly passes. A January 2008 survey found around twelve routes with either schedules, monthly passes, or both:

  1. Toronto - Barrie (monthly pass: $315.00, 17+ round trips per weekday, one-way travel times 1:30-1:45);
  2. Toronto - Buffalo (pass: $425.00/student: $382.00);
  3. Toronto - Cambridge (pass: $359.00, 12+ rt/wkdy, 1:00-1:45);
  4. Toronto - Guelph (pass: $309.00, 16 rt/wkdy, 1:10-1:45);
  5. Toronto/Scarborough Town Centre - Grimsby ($254.00/student: $200.00);
  6. Toronto - Waterloo Sun Life/Kitchener ($359.00, 23+ rt/wkdy, 1:15-2:50);
  7. Toronto/Scarborough TC - Niagara Falls ($424.00/student: $412.00, 11 rt/wkdy, 1:20-2:15);
  8. Toronto/Yorkdale - Orillia ($359.00);
  9. Toronto/Scarborough TC -Peterborough ($355.00, 10 rt/wkdy, 1:30-2:25);
  10. Toronto/Scarborough TC - St. Catharines ($330.00/student: $297.00, 10 rt/wkdy, 1:10-1:50);
  11. Toronto - Hamilton ($269.00/student: $199.00, 4+ rt/wkdy, 0:55-1:20); and
  12. Toronto - Brantford ($350.00, 1 rt/wkdy, 2:10).
Since October 2007 Greyhound has been a subsidiary of FirstBus Canada Ltd. The QuickLink brand is also used in the United States. ( 27 January 2008).

Lake Ontario Commuter Service

Can-Am Hover Express (01 July 1974 - 21 September 1974)
ferry Commuter ferry service operated between Niagara-on-the-Lake (NOTL) and Toronto by hovercraft. Eight daily trips. Coordinated feeder bus services were operated from Niagara Falls to NOTL by G & G Bus Lines, and from St. Catharines to NOTL by Niagara Coach Lines. Service cancelled a week after an accident with one of the two hovercraft. (Canadian Coach, Jul.-Aug. 1974, pp. 15-16).


Seasonal passenger boat service from Toronto to points across Lake Ontario were operated for many years. The services were generally oriented to day travel from Toronto to the Niagara Region (rather than workday commuting to Toronto).

Niagara Navigation Company (1878 - 1913)
ferry Toronto to Lewiston and Queenston via Niagara-on-the-Lake. Company acquired 1913 by CSL. Also operated Toronto to Hamilton. (Henry).

St. Catharines, Grimsby & Toronto Navigation Company (circa 1882 - 1898)
ferry Owner A.W. Hepburn. Toronto to Port Dahousie East or St. Catharines. (Mills).

Lakeside Navigation Company (1892 - 1902)
ferry Toronto to Port Dalhousie. Acquired by Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway Company interests who renamed the company NS&T Navigation. (Mills).

Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Navigation Company (1902 - 1949)
ferry Toronto to Port Dalhousie. Passed with the NS&T to Canadian National Railways which operated the boat service under the name Canadian National Steamers (although the corporate name was unchanged). (Mills).

Canada Steamship Lines (1913 - 1951)
ferry Toronto to Niagara-on-the-Lake, Queenston, and Lewiston. Also operated Toronto to Hamilton until the mid 1920s. Lewiston stop discontinued after the 1938 season. (Henry).

Cayuga Steamship Co., Ltd. (1953 - 03 September 1957)
ferry Company formed to operated retired CSL ship on Toronto - Queenston route. (Henry).


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: Saturday, 01-Jul-2023 13:35:55 CDT