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Happy Birthday to the TTC Subway!

Today is the birthday of the opening of the original TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) Subway system on Yonge Street and the opening of the extension of the system to York Mills in 1973. Click on the video below to see a 7 minute newscast by the CBC:

Derek Boles, our TRHA Historian provides frequent broadcasts on the ToRyHeritage (Toronto Railway Heritage) Yahoo Group of historic events on that day of the year in the past. 174 subscribers currently enjoy these news items. If you wish to receive frequent updates on significant dates in Canadian Railway history, join this Yahoo Group. Here is Derek's posting for today:
March 30, 1954:
"The official opening of Canada's first subway by Ontario Premier Leslie Frost and Toronto Mayor Alan Lamport. The subway had first been recommended in 1911, approved in 1946, and construction began in September 1949. Prior to the subway, surface traffic on Yonge Street had become horrendous, with streetcars operating on 1-minute headways. The Yonge subway ran 4.6 miles from Union Station to Eglinton with twelve stations. Much of the $67 million project had been built using the "cut and cover" method, causing much grief for downtown merchants. This would remain Canada's only subway until the Montreal Metro opened in 1966."
March 30, 1973:
"The official opening of the 2.7 mile Yonge subway extension from Eglinton to York Mills. Unlike the "cut and cover" method employed for the original Yonge subway, most of the extension consisted of tunneling deep underground, except around the stations at Lawrence and York Mills. The stations were over a mile apart, compared to an average of 2300 feet for the original. At Lawrence station, the connecting bus platforms were built underground for the first time in Toronto. As the first subway had doomed the Yonge streetcars, the extension resulted in the abandonment of the YONGE-97 trolley coach route."
The Engineers
One interesting footnote is that the original subway was designed by De Leuw Cather Canada. This was initially set up as a branch of a Chicago based firm with experience in subway building. De Leuw Cather Canada was incorporated on December 31st, 1953 with offices opened at 52 St. Clair Avenue East in Toronto right by the subway. The company subsequently has had a long history of great achievements in Canada and abroad and eventually became DelCan in 2006 and became headuqartered in Toronto. To view a very innovative timeline of their history click here. I remember them well as I worked summers as a young university student for this firm as an inspector of heavy construction on the building of the Gardiner Expressway from 1963 to 1966.
Posting by Russ Milland

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