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The Toronto transit community recently lost a longtime valued member and fountain of knowledge with the passing of transit historian and photographer John F. Bromley earlier this month, on December 1st, 2019. From what I've been able to gather, John started photographing transit in Toronto in the late 1950's and continued documenting transit locally and abroad until his recent passing, with a focus on streetcars and LRT/LRVs (he had maintained a Flickr page of his photography and travels here). He was a member of the Toronto Transportation Society, authored a number of books and articles over the years, and was an active member in the transit slide collecting and trading hobby (most have a few of Bromley's in their collections). While I never had the pleasure of meeting John in person, I've corresponded with him a few times in the past concerning details about his photos and slides, and he was always helpful answering questions and providing information.I'm most familiar with John's photographic work documented the TTC through the 1960's, when the future of Toronto's streetcar system was uncertain and fleeting (the city announced they wanted to phase their streetcars out by 1970 in favour of rapid transit (subway) lines and buses, but later reversed that decision in 1972). This period saw the construction and opening of the University subway line in 1963, and the Bloor-Danforth subway line in 1966, both replacing notable streetcar lines on Bay, Bloor, Danforth, and various other lower-profile routes. Transit photographers like John, Robert McMann, Lewis Swanson and Bill Hood documented all of that on film and more, including deliveries of brand new H1 subway cars from Thunder Bay, the construction of important pieces of system infrastructure like Greenwood subway yards, uncommon streetcar diversions due to subway construction, old streetcar equipment including old Peter Witt and PCC cars stored, retired, being shipped out to be scrapped or sent to Egypt, photogenic scenes along less-known streetcar routes running out their last months in operation, and fantrips operating on rare-mileage trackage scheduled to be abandoned and ripped up.Typical of one of those 60's transitional scenes John captured is presented here: TTC PCC 4484 (an A7-class built new by CC&F in 1949) operates on the Bloor-Danforth streetcar line, facing southbound on Pape Avenue turning westbound onto Danforth Avenue as it starts it trip across town for Jane Loop in the west. The car is on diversion due to Bloor-Danforth subway construction, and coming from Lipton Loop to the north (now the site of Pape Subway Station, at Pape & Lipton). While the streetcar tracks here are gone today (replaced by the subway in 1966), the Royal Bank of Canada building at the northwest corner remains, and with its original tenant RBC too. Not just transit, but people and their latest fashion attire, current automobiles of the period, building architecture, storefront signage and advertisements all found their way into John's photography, documenting both transit of yesterday, and a past era in time many remember fondly or find fascinating to look back on.
Copyright Notice: This image ©John F. Bromley photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. all rights reserved.



Caption: The Toronto transit community recently lost a longtime valued member and fountain of knowledge with the passing of transit historian and photographer John F. Bromley earlier this month, on December 1st, 2019. From what I've been able to gather, John started photographing transit in Toronto in the late 1950's and continued documenting transit locally and abroad until his recent passing, with a focus on streetcars and LRT/LRVs (he had maintained a Flickr page of his photography and travels here). He was a member of the Toronto Transportation Society, authored a number of books and articles over the years, and was an active member in the transit slide collecting and trading hobby (most have a few of Bromley's in their collections). While I never had the pleasure of meeting John in person, I've corresponded with him a few times in the past concerning details about his photos and slides, and he was always helpful answering questions and providing information.

I'm most familiar with John's photographic work documented the TTC through the 1960's, when the future of Toronto's streetcar system was uncertain and fleeting (the city announced they wanted to phase their streetcars out by 1970 in favour of rapid transit (subway) lines and buses, but later reversed that decision in 1972). This period saw the construction and opening of the University subway line in 1963, and the Bloor-Danforth subway line in 1966, both replacing notable streetcar lines on Bay, Bloor, Danforth, and various other lower-profile routes. Transit photographers like John, Robert McMann, Lewis Swanson and Bill Hood documented all of that on film and more, including deliveries of brand new H1 subway cars from Thunder Bay, the construction of important pieces of system infrastructure like Greenwood subway yards, uncommon streetcar diversions due to subway construction, old streetcar equipment including old Peter Witt and PCC cars stored, retired, being shipped out to be scrapped or sent to Egypt, photogenic scenes along less-known streetcar routes running out their last months in operation, and fantrips operating on rare-mileage trackage scheduled to be abandoned and ripped up.

Typical of one of those 60's transitional scenes John captured is presented here: TTC PCC 4484 (an A7-class built new by CC&F in 1949) operates on the Bloor-Danforth streetcar line, facing southbound on Pape Avenue turning westbound onto Danforth Avenue as it starts it trip across town for Jane Loop in the west. The car is on diversion due to Bloor-Danforth subway construction, and coming from Lipton Loop to the north (now the site of Pape Subway Station, at Pape & Lipton). While the streetcar tracks here are gone today (replaced by the subway in 1966), the Royal Bank of Canada building at the northwest corner remains, and with its original tenant RBC too. Not just transit, but people and their latest fashion attire, current automobiles of the period, building architecture, storefront signage and advertisements all found their way into John's photography, documenting both transit of yesterday, and a past era in time many remember fondly or find fascinating to look back on.

Photographer:
John F. Bromley photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. [533] (more) (contact)
Date: 10/26/1963 (search)
Railway: Toronto Transit Commission (search)
Reporting Marks: TTC 4484 (search)
Train Symbol: Bloor (wbnd to Jane Loop) (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Danforth Ave. & Pape Ave. (search)
City/Town: Toronto (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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Photo ID: 38546

Map courtesy of Open Street Map

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3 Comments
  1. I love these blasts from the past. They’re the closest thing we have to a time machine. A Google Maps check seems to suggest that the bank building we see here is being renovated.

  2. It is disappointing to hear of the loss of Mr. Bromley, but at the same time this shows the importance of keeping photos files and noted for future generations. There is a wealth of history in these pictures of his that will never be duplicated. He left us all a great view of the past.

  3. All that track…all those wires… !!!!

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