TORONTO - If you are the same age as I am (or perhaps a little younger or maybe even a little older) you’ll probably remember what you were doing exactly 60 years ago Sunday.
Especially if on that day, March 30, 1954, you were anywhere near the intersection of Yonge St., Davisville Ave. and Chaplin Cres.
Here are a few hints: you would have heard the amplified sound of speeches coming from somewhere near the southwest corner of the intersection followed by enthusiastic cheering by crowds of Torontonians who had waited for years for this event to take place.
Then came the blast of an air horn followed immediately by the screech of an old style hockey referee’s whistle. The country’s first subway was officially in business! By the way those speeches you heard were made by Ontario Premier Leslie Frost and Toronto’s flamboyant, in the nicest sense, Mayor Allan Lamport who together started things rolling. With the opening of the Yonge line, something Torontonians had talked about for nearly half a century, our city joined the ranks of half a dozen other North American cities (Boston being the first) that decided in an attempt to alleviate the ever-growing traffic congestion problem they would build expensive, but necessary, underground transportation facilities.
Coincident with the opening of Toronto’s new subway the venerable old Yonge streetcar line (that had started as a horse car route in 1861, the nation’s first) ended.