For a Better Brisbane

Canada Transit Special: Moving Toronto

Map of Toronto (City of Toronto in lightly shaded areas) by SimonP (Wikipedia)

Toronto is Canada’s largest city and capital of the province of Ontario. Sitting on the shores of Lake Ontario, the city is home to 2.6 million people. If you include the regions around the City of Toronto- the GTA ‘Greater Toronto Area’ this rises to 5 million, so it’s not too far off that of greater Melbourne, Australia. Public transport in the Toronto area is provided by the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Like Melbourne, Toronto retained its streetcar (tram) system, but only after a campaign to save it. The TTC streetcar and rail systems are smaller than their Melbourne counterparts, but is arguably more tightly integrated with its rail (subway) system.

After the second world war, Toronto started growing and traffic started to become a real problem. In the 1950’s Toronto replaced its busiest streetcar lines by digging a gigantic trench into one of the city’s busiest streets- Yonge Street- to create Canada’s first subway. Although digging up streets resulted in huge disruption, a bored tunnel would have been deeper, costlier and more inconvenient for people interchanging from surface streetcar and bus lines. The Yonge Subway opened in 1954.

In a way that is similar to South East Queensland (SEQ), Toronto also has a number of cities within the GTA region. SEQ has Ipswich, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coasts, Toronto has Hamilton, Mississauga, Vaughan, Markham and Oshawa. It may come as a surprise, but this blog’s view is that SEQ is ahead of the GTA when it comes to regional integration of transport services. You can travel almost 200 kilometres in SEQ on the same TransLink ticket, you can go to different cities on the same smartcard. If Torontonians travel north of Steeles avenue into York Region (an east-west street at the top of the city) they have to pay an extra fare and the fares for all these different cities are all different.

Following BrisUrbane Blog posts will cover the TTC’s subway system and streetcar systems.

TTC: ‘A cavalcade of progress, 1921-1954’


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April 1, 2011 at 10:22 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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