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When Toronto was still debating whether to keep its streetcars or not in the 70's, a number of transit and rail photographers turned their cameras toward the Mount Pleasant streetcar line that faced an uncertain future, including Robert McMann. Seen here, TTC A-8 class PCC 4518 heads southbound on Mount Pleasant just below Merton, climbing the old CN Belt Line bridge and passing the landmark Dominion Coal and Wood silos, a month before streetcar abandonment on this route.

The Mount Pleasant streetcar service had begun in 1925 as part of the St. Clair streetcar route, until it became its own route in 1972 from St. Clair subway station to Eglinton Loop at Eglinton & Mount Pleasant (note the southbound car is incorrectly signed up for destination Eglinton, when it should read St. Clair). This aging bridge in the photo was the catalyst for discontinuance: it needed replacement, and that combined with track rehabilitation costs of the line opened up the can of worms to keep Mount Pleasant as a streetcar line or convert it to cheaper trolley or diesel buses. After changing decisions once or twice due to pressure from local residents, and the Metro Roads department, it was announced in July 1976 as a bit of a surprise that streetcar service was to be discontinued that month (all this after it had been announced in April the route would be kept and rehabilitation work made the next year). The last car to use the line was a Peter Witt charter early on the morning of July 25th 1976.

As for the CN Belt Line rail spur (originally built as the Toronto Beltline Railway in the 1890's, then used by Grand Trunk and later CN for serving local industries), the line extended east from the CN Newmarket Sub at Fairbank to serve a number of local customers along the way such as Fairbank Lumber, the TTC's Davisville Yard (new subway deliveries), and Dominion Coal & Wood, and ended just east of the bridge pictured (the siding for the silos here was a westward facing switch on the east side of the bridge). This eastern portion of the line through Forest Hill and to Mount Pleasant was likely doomed by low traffic and the new Spadina Expressway construction that would sever it around Mile 1.66 by Marlee Avenue. CN lifted the rails starting in April 1970 (it had apparently last seen service east of  Mile 1.66 in 1969), and the raised berm the line occupied across the Spadina Expressway "pit" was eventually removed by 1975 (visible here, although the Expressway would not be complete for a number of years). The city acquired the right-of-way in 1972 for park or trail use (eventually becoming the present day Kay Gardiner Beltline trail, including the western portion of the line that lasted until its own abandonment in 1988). The Dominion silos lasted until 2001 before being demolished for condos.

TTC 4518 was a little luckier: rebuilt as A-15 class car 4615 for Harbourfront line service in 1985, it currently resides at the Kenosha Streetcar Society in Wisconsin, with 5 other ex-TTC cars.

Robert D. McMann photo, Kodachrome from the Dan Dell'Unto collection.

References for further reading:

Branchline magazine, July-August 2001 (25th Anniversary, TTC Mount Pleasant Carline Abandonment).

Transit Toronto - The Mount Pleasant Streetcar (deceased).
Copyright Notice: This image ©Robert D. McMann photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. all rights reserved.



Caption: When Toronto was still debating whether to keep its streetcars or not in the 70's, a number of transit and rail photographers turned their cameras toward the Mount Pleasant streetcar line that faced an uncertain future, including Robert McMann. Seen here, TTC A-8 class PCC 4518 heads southbound on Mount Pleasant just below Merton, climbing the old CN Belt Line bridge and passing the landmark Dominion Coal and Wood silos, a month before streetcar abandonment on this route.

The Mount Pleasant streetcar service had begun in 1925 as part of the St. Clair streetcar route, until it became its own route in 1972 from St. Clair subway station to Eglinton Loop at Eglinton & Mount Pleasant (note the southbound car is incorrectly signed up for destination Eglinton, when it should read St. Clair). This aging bridge in the photo was the catalyst for discontinuance: it needed replacement, and that combined with track rehabilitation costs of the line opened up the can of worms to keep Mount Pleasant as a streetcar line or convert it to cheaper trolley or diesel buses. After changing decisions once or twice due to pressure from local residents, and the Metro Roads department, it was announced in July 1976 as a bit of a surprise that streetcar service was to be discontinued that month (all this after it had been announced in April the route would be kept and rehabilitation work made the next year). The last car to use the line was a Peter Witt charter early on the morning of July 25th 1976.

As for the CN Belt Line rail spur (originally built as the Toronto Beltline Railway in the 1890's, then used by Grand Trunk and later CN for serving local industries), the line extended east from the CN Newmarket Sub at Fairbank to serve a number of local customers along the way such as Fairbank Lumber, the TTC's Davisville Yard (new subway deliveries), and Dominion Coal & Wood, and ended just east of the bridge pictured (the siding for the silos here was a westward facing switch on the east side of the bridge). This eastern portion of the line through Forest Hill and to Mount Pleasant was likely doomed by low traffic and the new Spadina Expressway construction that would sever it around Mile 1.66 by Marlee Avenue. CN lifted the rails starting in April 1970 (it had apparently last seen service east of Mile 1.66 in 1969), and the raised berm the line occupied across the Spadina Expressway "pit" was eventually removed by 1975 (visible here, although the Expressway would not be complete for a number of years). The city acquired the right-of-way in 1972 for park or trail use (eventually becoming the present day Kay Gardiner Beltline trail, including the western portion of the line that lasted until its own abandonment in 1988). The Dominion silos lasted until 2001 before being demolished for condos.

TTC 4518 was a little luckier: rebuilt as A-15 class car 4615 for Harbourfront line service in 1985, it currently resides at the Kenosha Streetcar Society in Wisconsin, with 5 other ex-TTC cars.

Robert D. McMann photo, Kodachrome from the Dan Dell'Unto collection.

References for further reading:
Branchline magazine, July-August 2001 (25th Anniversary, TTC Mount Pleasant Carline Abandonment).
Transit Toronto - The Mount Pleasant Streetcar (deceased).

Photographer:
Robert D. McMann photo, Dan Dell'Unto coll. [353] (more) (contact)
Date: 06/26/1976 (search)
Railway: Toronto Transit Commission (search)
Reporting Marks: TTC 4518 (search)
Train Symbol: Mount Pleasant (sbnd to St. Clair) (search)
Subdivision/SNS: Mount Pleasant & Merton - CN Belt Line Bridge (search)
City/Town: Toronto (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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