Latest Columns

My latest column is up at The Kitchener Post. Here's an excerpt:

Growing up in southern Ontario, I have enjoyed living in a world of progress. I've been a fan of trains and subways since I was a young boy, and some of my favourite memories have come when my parents have taken me to see a new subway station or line as it opened.

Even though Toronto's subway growth stalled in the early 1980s, I've always thought of my area of the world as a growing environment. New subdivisions get built, and new transportation infrastructure expands to fill them.

For this reason, I rode the first GO Train that departed Kitchener station for Toronto on Dec. 19, 2011. I eagerly look forward to taking the first ride on Waterloo Region's LRT. I look forward to visiting Ottawa when they open their LRT in 2018, and returning to Toronto when the Eglinton Crosstown LRT opens in 2021.

One of the best things about supporting these projects is looking forward to using them and having the new service make your life easier or better.

But by 2021, I will be 49. The Greater Toronto Area and Waterloo Region continue to grow, so we have to plan for more transportation infrastructure. But when I see plans that call for Toronto's Downtown Relief Subway line to open in 2031, I realize that some of these projects may not open until I'm 59 or older.


I've written before about how old I feel. I sometimes do it just to make my father feel older. But I do think this is a change in my thinking. Before, when feeling old, I've been looking back and counting the anniversaries. Has it really been ten years? Twenty? Twenty-five?

But now I'm starting to look forward, with a sense of regret over what I might not get a chance to see. And that realization is more humbling, I think.

In other news, I also posted what I think might be the last history on all the regular streetcar routes the TTC operated. For years, I had a list of every route abandoned by the TTC since 1921. I know that there are routes that were abandoned beforehand, but those articles will come another day. In the meantime, I'll just sit and appreciate the work that's been done so far. Here's an excerpt on the history of the Davenport streetcar:

In its last days of operation, at the end of 1940, the DAVENPORT streetcar was the shortest regularly scheduled streetcar route on the Toronto Transportation Commission's network. Offering a round trip of 2.93 kilometres, it was longer only than the DUFFERIN streetcar, which did not operate as regularly. Throughout the history of the TTC from 1921 onward, only the LANSDOWNE NORTH streetcar was shorter. There were no loops on the DAVENPORT route. Streetcars operated from a crossover on Davenport Road just west of Bathurst west to a crossover on Davenport Road just east of Dovercourt, and returned via the reverse route. Short double-ended streetcars were usually used.

But the shortness of the DAVENPORT route from 1924 to 1940 belies a longer and more illustrious history, which stretches beyond the start of the TTC to the beginnings of electric streetcar operation in Toronto. The street has been served by three separate electric railway companies, and its development affects the shape of public transit in its neighbourhood to this very day.

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