Toronto neighbourhood: Community of Fairbank, former city of York.
Community Services
Fairbank Fire Hall PDF Print E-mail
Fairbank Fire Hall

Located on Vaughan Road at Greyton Crescent.
Oakwood Streetcar PDF Print E-mail

All information taken directly from:

Please see this website for the complete article.



A PCC enters Gilbert Loop at the northwest end of the Oakwood streetcar. Eglinton Avenue is in the background. Note the tail-track in the foreground. Photo donated by Curt Frey.


Eglinton Streetcar at Caledonia

PCC 4555 operates on Eglinton Avenue near Caledonia Road (at Snider Avenue) in Oakwood service. As with the Rogers Road route, the neighbourhood Oakwood served may have been considered suburban, but it has more in common with the more established downtown neighbourhoods than it does with suburbs today. This picture was donated by Curt Frey.


By James Bow.

The Township of York, when first created, surrounded the small Town of York from the Humber River to where Victoria Park Avenue is now and south of where Steeles Avenue is now. When the City of Toronto slowed its pace of annexation in the 1920s, developed spilled over the City’s boundaries. As a result, a sharp difference between the character of northern York township and southern York township developed. In 1924, this difference was recognized when the township of North York was created, within much the same boundaries as the City of North York in its last days before amalgamation. Initially, the Township of York existed in two pieces, divided by the trunk of the City of Toronto, before the eastern portion was removed and reformed into the independent Township of East York in 1928.

Thus, in 1922, when the Township of York entered into negotiations with the Toronto Transportation Commission to improve public transportation within itself, it had an eye towards providing service not only north of St. Clair, but to the neighbourhoods north of the Danforth as well. In a mid-1923 plan, five routes were proposed:

  • St Clair - from St. Clair and Oakwood via Oakwood, Vaughan and Eglinton to the Canadian National tracks at Gilbert Avenue.
  • Oakwood - from Oakwood and St. Clair via Oakwood and Rogers Road to Weston Road (It is unknown why this proposal made such an odd choice of route names).
  • Pape - From Lipton Loop at Danforth and Pape north to Don Mills and O’Connor.
  • Coxwell - From Coxwell and Danforth via Coxwell, McMichael and Lumsden Avenue to Main Street
  • Runnymede - From Runnymede Road, along Dundas to the Humber River

For whatever reason, the East York routes never materialized. After considerable discussion, the TTC agreed to construct the St. Clair (now renamed Oakwood and rerouted to operate along Oakwood and Eglinton Avenues only) and Oakwood (now renamed Rogers Road) lines, and purchase the Lambton and Weston routes from the Toronto Suburban Railway. Under the deal, the Toronto Transportation Commission would run the streetcars, but all capital costs and any operating deficits would be paid for by the Township of York Railways. This deal is similar in many ways to the arrangements the cities of Mississauga, Vaughan and Markham have when contracting out TTC services today.

The Oakwood streetcar started at an off-street loop at Gilbert and Eglinton Avenues, close to the CNR Newmarket subdivision. From there, it travelled east along Eglinton Avenue, through a well-developed older suburb in the Borough of York, to Oakwood Avenue. At Oakwood, it turned south and ran to St. Clair (joining the Rogers Road streetcar at Rogers), looping at Oakwood Loop, via St. Clair and Robina. Oakwood was abandoned on January 1, 1960.

The Rogers Road streetcar started at an off-street loop at Bicknell and Rogers Road, just a stone’s throw from Weston Road. There, it travelled east along Rogers Road, until it got to Oakwood Avenue. There, it turned south and ran to St. Clair, where it looped at Oakwood Loop. Rogers Road was the last of the Township of York streetcar lines to fall, ceasing operation on July 21, 1974.

All negotiations were settled on July 24, 1924 and a deal was signed on August 7. Construction on the Oakwood and Rogers Road streetcars started soon after that. The Oakwood streetcar opened along with the first phase of the Rogers Road streetcar on November 19, 1924 (the remaining Rogers Road segment from Dufferin Street to Bicknell opened to the public on August 29, 1925). The opening ceremonies were elaborate, and featured Witt trains operating in the parade, the only time Witt trains be seen on the route. The TTC only assigned Birneys, old TRCs and other older vehicles to the two lines until August 1, 1947 when the last TRC cars used in base service were replaced by Witt cars. On September 7, 1952, PCCs finally arrived.

The Oakwood and Rogers Road streetcars were double-tracked throughout their length and had loops at either end. Single-ended cars were used exclusively on these lines. With Rogers Road and Oakwood operating exclusively outside the City of Toronto, dual fareboxes were not required on these lines.

The Oakwood streetcar ceased operations on January 1, 1960. At the time, it was the first streetcar abandonment since the Church route was bussed in May 1954 and was one of the few route abandonments since 1954 to be completely unrelated to the opening of an extension of the Toronto Subway. Oakwood fell to an extension of the Ossington trolley bus, which until 1960 looped at St. Clair Avenue. Township of York travel patterns, which had seen patrons head south to St. Clair and then head east, changed to the point where offering through service north and south of St. Clair made a lot of sense. As it corresponded with the TTC’s policy of gradually eliminating all streetcar service in the city, the TTC decided that Oakwood’s usefulness as a streetcar route had ceased. The Ossington trolley bus was extended over Oakwood’s route to Gilbert Loop. The Eglinton leg of this extension became redundant a couple of years later as travel patterns changed to the point where through service along Eglinton from Gilbert to Yonge Street made more sense. The Ossington trolley bus was cut back to a loop at Eglinton and Oakwood on June 28, 1964. The trolley buses themselves would disappear due to diesel bus conversion in 1992.

Rogers Road would soldier on for another fourteen years after the abandonment of the Oakwood streetcar. In the early seventies, when the TTC decided to abandon its streetcar abandonment policy, they found that they needed a surplus of streetcars to maintain the fleet while embarking on an extensive rebuilding program.

Little remains of the Oakwood streetcar today; Gilbert Loop’s usefulness as a transfer point for suburban buses lapsed as the TTC’s fare zone structure was eliminated and through service was inaugurated on most of the routes in the area. By 1974, it did not see regular service. It stands today as a parkette.


For information about the sale of the land for use as a parkette see: Sale of Gilbert Loop

The Garage That Never Was PDF Print E-mail

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By Godfrey Mallion

During the Second World War the Toronto Transportation Commission recognized the need for another operating garage for west and north Toronto bus routes. On August 8, 1946 the General Manager reported that negotiations for the purchase of a site for a new operating garage on the east side of Dufferin Street, north of Eglinton Avenue, had proceeded to the point of purchase.

The Commission, at its meeting of July 25, 1946, informally approved the purchase of the property from the Watson estate at a price of $43,000.00 The property is an irregularly-shaped parcel located at the south-eastern corner of Dufferin Street and Ridelle Avenue, with a frontage on Dufferin Street of about 554 feet and a depth of about 744 feet on Ridelle Avenue.

The north-eastern corner of this parcel, with a frontage of 275 feet on Ridelle Avenue, by a depth of 325 feet, including a large brick residence was excluded from the purchase and retained by the Watson Estate. Subsequent investigations disclosed the fact that there was a private sewer, laid some years perviously, across the southerly 30 feet of this property, serving the Fairbank Lumber Company’s property to the south, which was also owned by the Watson Estate.

The excluded north-eastern corner property had the dimensions reversed, with the Ridelle Avenue frontage of 325 feet, and a depth of 275 feet. The southern strip of sewer line property was excluded from the agreement, and the final price of $41,500.00 for 3.7 acres of land was agreed to.

At the September 5, 1946 meeting, the Commission agreed to add an additional amount of land from the previously reserved northern section, measuring 325 feet by 125 feet, for $5,3000. During Commission meeting #1100, March 27, 1947, a contract for structural steelwork for the garage building, was awarded to John T. Hepburn Limited, in the amount of $131,000.

At its meeting on July 24, 1947 the Commission informally authorized that an offer in the amount of $305,000 (and, subsequently, raised to $400,000) be made to the War Assets Corporation for the industrial plant located at 289 Sorauren Avenue, in the City of Toronto. This was, formerly, known as the Dominion Bridge Company’s plant. The intention was to develop this property as an operating T.T.C. bus garage, and a heavy rebuild facility for Gray Coach buses.

An informal decision was reached by the Commission, at the July 3, 1947, to postpone the construction of the new garage on Dufferin Street, in York Township. The steelwork contract was informally cancelled on July 24, 1947 and formally cancelled on August 28, 1947.

The Parkdale Garage would be developed at a cost of $3,250 per vehicle, as opposed to $7,500 per vehicle costs at the Dufferin Street site. The existing garages of the day had been developed at a cost of $3,500 per vehicle.

The Dufferin Street Garage had become a memory.