TTC chronology


Municipal ownership of public transit is ushered in. it is a decade of rebuilding, modernization and expansion. On Sept. 1, 1921, the Toronto Transportation Commission takes over a mix of private and municipal street railways.


The TTC improves productivity, and continues to upgrade and modernize its fleet, despite a decade marked by a general decline in ridership caused largely by the Depression and, to a lesser extent, by the increased use of the private automobile. Buses provide service to new regions as roads are improved. Bus evolution grows rapidly, and by the end of the decade, both transit (“city type”) and interurban buses feature rear engines and larger bodies, which provide increased setting capacity and much-improved passenger comfort.


World War II places great demand on transit. Ridership more than doubles between 1939 and 1945. Wartime Transit Controller in Ottawa orders the TTC to sell “surplus” streetcars to Halifax, Ottawa, Fort William, and Quebec City. Hundreds of TTC employees take leave to join the armed forces, and are often replaced by women for the duration of the war. In the late 1940s, the first major streetcar lines are closed due to the wartime toll on rolling stock and tracks and the postwar power shortages that were plaguing southern Ontario at the time. Rapid transit begins in earnest.


The TTC reaffirms its commitment to the streetcar and buys up large fleets of late model, bargain-priced PCC cars from several American properties. At the same time Canada’s first subway begins operation. The TTC is restructured and is given a new mandate under the new Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto.


This is a decade of non-stop subway building and rapid expansion of suburban bus routes (1963 service improvements are the largest since the 1920s). The University and Bloor-Danforth subway lines, and later the Bloor-Danforth east and west extensions, open for business. In 1963, new, longer (75-foot), lightweight aluminium subway cars are introduced. Pioneered by the TTC and Montreal Locomotive Works, they are the first to be built in Canada and quickly become the U.S. standard.


This is a decade of general ridership and service expansion. Subway construction continues. The streetcar and trolley bus fleets are renewed. Gray Coach Lines faces major inroads in its established services from new GO Transit bus routes. Mounting costs, and zone-fare elimination, force the TTC to seek subsidies to meet operating costs.


This is a decade of annual ridership, reaching a peak of 463.5 million in 1988. The five-member TTC Commission is made up entirely of Metro Toronto Councillors. Subway building stops. New technology and transit innovations gain support.


The decade is a roller-coaster ride for the TTC. The ‘90s begin with a ridership of 459 million, which drops to a low of 372 million in 1996, and then rebounds to 392 million by the end of 1999. The TTC loses about $100 million in operating subsidies over eight years, while the number of buses on the road drops by 22 per cent. After a tragic subway accident, attention refocuses on the reorganization of the TTC, and a state of good repair capital program for the entire system. The Commission approves a $96-million rebuild program, which proposes to restore 1,000 ailing buses to first-class condition in five years.


The 21st century begins with a search for secure, long-term capital funding for transit. Government help is required at all levels to fund the $4-billion need to replace aging vehicles and infrastructure over the next 10 years. The fully accessible Sheppard Subway opens, and the Ridership Growth Strategy—the Commission’s blueprint for growth—is introduced to meet the objectives of the City of Toronto’s new Official Plan.


Latest News

 New Corporate Plan cover

TTC Corporate Plan 2018-2022

Advancing to the next level.

Corporate Notice

COVID-19 positive tests update.

From the CSO

COVID-19 Safety Notice.

Bicycle donation drive

Donate your new or gently used bicycles by July 22.

In Memoriam

Blunt, Burchat, Downey, Gamarra, Marshall, McIndoo, Mercieca, Mingo.

The Coupler wants to keep you connected

The Coupler invites all employees and pensioners to sign up for TTC news and headlines via our mailbox at Simply send us an e-mail request from your personal e-mail address and include your full name, badge number or pensioner number and work location or home address. Note: personal information is for verification purposes only. Please call Senior Communications Advisor/Editor Mike DeToma at 416-393-3793, or e-mail, for more information.

Back Track