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Toronto Railway History

The Toronto Railway Company (TRC) was the operator of the streetcar
system in Toronto between 1891 and 1921. It electrified the horsecar system
it inherited from the previous operator.
On August 15, 1892, the TRC became the second operator of horseless
streetcars in the Toronto area, the first being the Metropolitan Street
Railwaywhich electrified its horsecar line along Yonge Street within
the Town of North Toronto on September 1, 1890. (In 1912, the City of
Toronto would annex North Toronto.)
Formed by a partnership between James Ross and William Mackenzie, a 30-
year franchise was granted in 1891 to modernize transit operations after a
previous 30 year franchise that saw horse car service from the Toronto
Street Railways (TSR). At the end of the TSR franchise, the city ran the
railway for eight months, but ended up granting another 30-year franchise to
a private operator, the TRC. The first electric car ran on August 15, 1892, and
the last horse car ran on August 31, 1894, to meet franchise requirements.
On May 23, 1897, the Toronto Street Railway started Sunday streetcar service
after city voters gave approval in a referendum earlier that month. This was
controversial at the time; churches feared Sunday streetcar service would
lead to other activities inappropriate for a Sunday such as sporting events
and the sale of alcoholic beverages. The referendum, which had been
preceded by two prior unsuccessful attempts, was won by a narrow margin
of 0.7 per cent out of 32,000 votes cast.[2]
There came to be problems with interpretation of the franchise terms, for the
city. A series of annexations, especially in 1908–12, significantly extended
the city limits to include such areas as Dovercourt, Earlscourt, East Toronto,
Midway (formerly between Toronto and East Toronto), North Toronto,
and West Toronto. After many attempts to force the TRC to serve these areas,
the city created its own street railway operation, the Toronto Civic
Railways to do so, and built several routes. Repeated court battles did force
the TRC to build new cars, but they were of old design. When the TRC
franchise ended in 1921, the Toronto Transportation Commission was
created, combining with the city-operated Toronto Civic Railways lines.