TTC subway's 60th anniversary

A shiny new train leaves Davisville station southbound on Toronto's new Yonge St. subway. It was at...

A shiny new train leaves Davisville station southbound on Toronto's new Yonge St. subway. It was at this station that the subway was officially opened 60 years ago Sunday. These cars represent the 104 vehicles built by the Gloucester Railway and Wagon Company in England. By 1991 all had been retired with one set of two "married" cars residing at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum near Guelph. Interestingly, right from the start back in 1954 all underground subway trains operate with the track gauge of 1,495 cm. which is exactly the same gauge as that of the surface streetcars. Davisville, once part of the Town of North Toronto, was so named for the Davis family that ran the neighborhood grocery store and post office in a building that still stands at the northeast corner of the Yonge and Davisville intersection. While we're here, the continuation of Davisville Ave. west of Yonge is Chaplin Cres. named in honour of the Toronto-born property owner (who became a prominent St. Catharines businessman and federal politician) James Dew Chaplin. Nearby Colin Ave. recognizes Chaplin's father-in-law Colin Burgess. (Ted Wickson photo)

Mike Filey, Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 12:34 PM ET

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.


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