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56 Leaside

Compiled by Pete Coulman
Additional research by Jeffrey Kay

The story of the LEASIDE bus begins in 1915. The exact date is not known, but this is the year that James Bristow of 602 Merton Avenue bought a bus. He owned the Leaside Fuel Company, taking scrapped boxcars from the nearby Canadian Northern Railway yards and converting them into firewood. He followed this up with sales of coal and coal-oil. Leaside was still under development at the time, and there were no public transportation facilities, so Bristow saw an opportunity to carry passengers to and from the Canada Wire & Cable Company and to the Grand Trunk Railway shops.

Bristow’s first buses were converted taxi-cabs. Later, having trucks for his fuel business, he built bus bodies on three of those truck chassis. During rush hours or for picnics, when ridership was high, he would build benches on his fuel trucks to carry the load. Finally, he bought three purpose-built buses from REO Motors in Leaside.

His initial route ran from Jackes Avenue on Yonge Street, just south of St. Clair, via north on Yonge, east on Merton, east on McRae, and south on Laird Drive to Lea Avenue, returning via the reverse route. On November 2, 1922, when the newly-formed Toronto Transportation Commission extended YONGE streetcars north to Glen Echo loop, Bristow cut service back to Merton and Yonge, so as not to compete directly with the TTC. At its height, Bristol’s operation provided service every thirty minutes, 18 hours a day, Monday to Saturday, with additional Sunday service operated from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. The fare was five cents cash or ticket. The service continued until December 15, 1927, when Bristow got out of the transportation business, allowing the Toronto Transportation Commission to take over.

TTC Operation

December 16, 1927

The first day of operation by the Toronto Transportation Commission, under contract to the Town of Leaside. Service operates from Yonge & Balloil via a laneway to Merton, then via Merton, MacRae Drive, and Laird Avenue to Lea Avenue, returning via Laird, MacRae, Merton and Yonge to Balloil. The fare is 7�, 4 tickets for 25�, 50 tickets for $3. No transfers are issued, but City School tickets are accepted.

LEASIDE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

June 7, 1928

In a report issued by the TTC to the Leaside Town Council, the TTC states that the LEASIDE route incurred $2,600 in losses during its first four months of operation.

July 1, 1928

To save costs, the LEASIDE service is combined with the EAST YORK bus. LEASIDE buses now operate from Yonge and Belsize (three blocks south of Merton) via east on Belsize, southeast on Forman, east on Millwood, northeast on McRae, south on Laird, south across the Leaside Viaduct and south on Pape Avenue to Lipton loop, just north of Danforth Avenue. A short turn service is operated from Lipton loop to the south end of the Leaside Viaduct, where buses wye and return. The service operates in two fare zones, with adult fares set at 5� cash (or 11 tickets for 50�) per zone.

LEASIDE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
“VIADUCT” window cards used for short turn service

August 1, 1928

Service rerouted to operate in both directions via Belsize, Mount Pleasant and Millwood instead of via Foreman Avenue. No change to destination signs.

November 5, 1928

Additional Monday-to-Saturday rush hour service is added from McRae Drive in Leaside via south on Laird, south across the Leaside Viaduct, south on Pape, west on Coburn Avenue and southwest on Broadview Avenue to Danforth Avenue, looping clockwise via west on Danforth, northeast on Cambridge and southeast on Pretoria.

LEASIDE

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
“VIADUCT” window cards used for short turn service

LEASIDE-DANFORTH

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

April 20-June 9, 1930

Service is rerouted to operate via Belsize to Bayview instead of via Millwood Road due to paving construction.

June 10-July 20, 1930

Service is rerouted to operate via Manor Road from Yonge to Mount Pleasant instead of via Belsize due to paving construction.

November 11, 1930

Service is reorganized to operate from Yonge and Belsize via east on Belsize, south on Mount Pleasant, east on Millwood, northeast on McRae Drive, south on Laird, south across the Leaside Viaduct, and south on Pape to Lipton loop. Additional short turn service operates from Lipton Loop via north on Pape to Don Mills Road (today known as O’Connor Drive), looping via east on Don Mills, northwest on Donlands and southwest on Pape. In addition to this, rush hour service operates from McRae and Laird via south on Laird, south across the Leaside Viaduct, southeast and south on Donlands west on Coburn, and south on Broadview to Danforth Avenue, looping via Danforth, Cambridge and Pretoria.

LEASIDE

Y O N G E
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

VIADUCT
DANFORTH

Additional short turn service

LEASIDE

McRAE DRIVE
DANFORTH

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

February 28, 1931

The rush hour branch operating via Broadview and Coburn is discontinued. Short turn service is routed to operate from Lipton Loop to the Viaduct and return on Pape Avenue, instead of looping via Don Mills and Donlands.

LEASIDE

Y O N G E
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

VIADUCT
DANFORTH

Additional short turn service

April 1, 1938

Operations transferred to Eglinton division from Davenport Garage. Service may have operated from Davenport garage since its introduction in 1927, although this is unconfirmed.

May 1, 1939

Transfer privileges granted between zone 1 on the LEASIDE bus and the new BROADVIEW bus.

June 15, 1939

The short turn service is revised to loop counterclockwise at the Viaduct via Pape, Donlands and O’Connor. No change to destination signs.

December 19, 1940.

New rush hour branch added, operating from Lipton Loop via north on Pape, north across the Leaside Viaduct (now called Millwood Road), north on Laird and east on Vanderhoof Avenue to wye at Brentwood (now Brentcliffe) Road, returning via the reverse route.

LEASIDE

Y O N G E
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

VIADUCT
DANFORTH

Additional short turn service

LEASIDE

BRENTWOOD
DANFORTH

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

December 1, 1942

Service revised at the west end to operate from Yonge via Belsize, Harwood and Millwood, instead of via Belsize, Mount Pleasant and Millwood.

March 20, 1943

Service via Belsize, Mount Pleasant and Millwood restored.

October 25, 1943

Coincident with the inauguration of the SOUTH LEASIDE, regular service now runs from Lipton loop via north on Pape, northwest on Millwood, north on Laird and west on Eglinton Avenue to Starrett bus loop at Yonge Street. Additional rush hour service is provided to Research Enterprises at Vanderhoof and Brentwood as before, except operating from Yonge and Eglinton via Eglinton and Laird. The short turn service from Lipton loop to the Viaduct remains, although destination signs have been revised to show “LEASIDE”.

LEASIDE

Y O N G E
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

BRENTWOOD
YONGE

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

LEASIDE
DANFORTH

Additional short turn service

September 10, 1945

Some runs are now operated from Sherbourne Garage. The remainder of the service continues to be operated from Eglinton Garage.

April 1, 1947

Rush hour service is revised so that most buses operate from Starrett loop at Eglinton and Yonge via east on Eglinton, south on Laird, east on Vanderhoof, south on Brentcliffe (renamed from Brentwood), west on Wicksteed, south on Laird, southeast on Millwood, and southwest and south on Pape to Lipton loop. Additional rush hour buses operate from Lipton Loop via north on Pape, northwest on Millwood, north on Laird to Vanderhoof, looping via Vanderhoof, Brentcliffe and Wicksteed. No change to base service outside of rush hours.

LEASIDE

Y O N G E
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Service may show following two signs during rush hour, depending on direction

LEASIDE

BRENTCLIFFE
DANFORTH

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

BRENTCLIFFE
YONGE

Monday to Saturday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

LEASIDE
DANFORTH

Additional short turn service

March 30, 1954

Coincident with the opening of the YONGE SUBWAY, buses operate out of Eglinton subway terminal. The LEASIDE route remains in the suburban fare zone, however, with adults charged 10� cash fare or 4 tickets for 25� per zone. It is likely that while passengers could board LEASIDE buses from the Eglinton bus terminal, incoming passengers had to disembark outside the subway entrance.

May 1-June 30, 1954

Gray Coach assumes operation of this route, although there may not have been a change in equipment. May 1, 1953 may have been the time that the route was transferred to Sherbourne Garage on a long term basis.

leaside-transfer-1955.jpg

A LEASIDE transfer, circa 1955

July 1, 1954

Service is assumed by the Toronto Transit Commission. Service is brought into the TTC City fare zone at this time, so transfers are offered and accepted between LEASIDE and connecting city routes, and free transfers are available between LEASIDE buses and subway trains at Eglinton station. Buses operate from the Eglinton subway terminal via east on Eglinton, south on Laird, southeast on Millwood (Leaside Bridge) and southwest and south on Pape to loop at Lipton loop just north of Danforth Avenue. A rush hour branch operates from Lipton loop via north on Pape over the regular route to Parkhurst, and then via east on Pankhurst, south on Brentcliffe and east on Wicksteed to a new off-street loop near Leslie Street. Another rush hour branch operates from Lipton Loop north over the regular route to turn east on Wicksteed, north on Brentcliffe and west on Eglinton to Eglinton subway station on the YONGE SUBWAY. The short turn service to the Leaside Bridge is abandoned on or before this date.

LEASIDE

SUBWAY
DANFORTH

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
“VIA BRENTCLIFFE” window cards used during rush hours

LEASIDE

DANFORTH
LESLIE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

BRENTCLIFFE
DANFORTH

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

September 7, 1956

Service is assigned route number 56.

LEASIDE

56

DANFORTH
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

56A

DANFORTH�SUBWAY
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

56B

BRENTCLIFFE
DANFORTH

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

56C

L E S L I E
DANFORTH

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

There were a number of variations to these rollsign exposures, including:

LEASIDE

56A

DANFORTH�SUBWAY
VIA
BRENTCLIFFE

L E A S I D E
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

56A

DANFORTH
S U B W A Y

November 30, 1962

Lipton Loop closes, to be replaced with Gertrude Loop further north. Until Gertrude Loop opens, though, an on-street loop is likely used, possibly via west on Danforth, north on Gough and east on Canning to Pape.

December 2, 1962

Gertrude Loop opens. No change to destination signs.

December 4, 1962

Further construction of the BLOOR-DANFORTH SUBWAY closes Gertrude Loop to 56 LEASIDE buses. Buses loop via west on Danforth Avenue, north on Gough and east on Canning to Pape.

Also, on or before this date, 56C rush hour service to Leslie Street is discontinued.

LEASIDE

56

DANFORTH
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

56A

DANFORTH�SUBWAY
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

56B

BRENTCLIFFE
DANFORTH

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

March 16, 1963

Gertrude Loop reopens to buses. On-street looping discontinued.

January 2, 1964

Buses now loop through Gertrude Streetcar Loop at the south end due to subway construction.

May 1, 1964 (or before)

Service on the 56B “Brentcliffe” rush hour branch is replaced by a reinstated 56C “Leslie” branch, operating from Lipton Loop via the regular route to Wicksteed, and then east to an off-street loop at Leslie Street and Beth Nealson.

LEASIDE

56

DANFORTH
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LEASIDE

56A

DANFORTH�SUBWAY
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

56C

L E S L I E
DANFORTH

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

July 15, 1964

Buses no longer use Gertrude streetcar loop, possibly looping on-street

July 15th, 1964

LEASIDE buses no longer use Gertrude Streetcar Loop, via west on Danforth Avenue, north on Gough and east on Canning to Pape

February 26, 1966

Coincident with the opening of the BLOOR-DANFORTH SUBWAY, LEASIDE buses are routed into the new Pape station bus terminal. The “Leslie” branch is redesignated 56C to 56B.

LEASIDE

56

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

L E A S I D E
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

56A

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LEASIDE

56B

L E S L I E
PAPE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

April 23, 1967

Operation is transferred from Sherbourne Garage to Danforth Garage.

September 16, 1968

Due to the closure of the Leaside Viaduct for repairs, the LEASIDE bus route is rerouted to operate from Eglinton subway station via east on Eglinton, south on Laird, east on Overlea, south on Don Mills through the Don Valley, east on O’Connor and south on Pape to Pape station. Rush hour services are adjusted accordingly.

In addition to this, a LEASIDE-THORNCLIFFE bus, replacing the temporarily suspended 81 THORNCLIFFE PARK route, operates from Eglinton subway station via east on Eglinton, south on Laird and east on Overlea to loop via Thorncliffe Park Drive (counterclockwise in the morning, clockwise at other times), returning via the reverse route. Window cards are used to differentiate the services.

February 8, 1969

Repairs to Leaside Viaduct are completed and the bridge reopens to traffic. LEASIDE buses resume their regular routings, and LEASIDE-THORNCLIFFE buses are replaced by a reinstated 81 THORNCLIFFE PARK.

February 7, 1971

After some runs were transferred to Eglinton Garage on or after April 1967, on this day, this route was reorganized to operate entirely out of Danforth Garage.

September 4, 1973

Service on the 56B branch is revised to operate through more of the the Leaside Industrial Area. Buses operate from Eglinton station via Eglinton, Brentcliffe, Wicksteed, Beth Nealson, Thorncliffe Park Drive and Overlea, returning via Millwood Road and Laird to Eglinton. Alternate buses reverse this routing.

Sometime before this date, buses had been serving the 56A branches during the late evenings and Saturday mornings, to service industrial shift changes. These services remain unchanged at this time.

March 30, 1974

The 56B routing is expanded to operate via Eglinton, Brentcliffe, Wicksteed, Beth Nealson, Thorncliffe Park and Overlea, and then south on Millwood and south on Pape to Pape station.

March 30, 1975

The 56B rush hour service is replaced by a rerouted 88 SOUTH LEASIDE. During rush hours, alternate 56 LEASIDE buses now run via either Laird (56), or via Laird, Wicksteed, Brentcliffe (56A) before continuing to Eglinton or Pape stations.

LEASIDE

56

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

L E A S I D E
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

56A

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

March 14, 1976

Coincident with the opening of Wilson Garage, operation of this route is transferred from Danforth Garage to Eglinton Garage.

February 3, 1977

A new rush hour branch is established, operating from Pape station over the regular routing to loop via east on Eglinton, south on Brentcliffe and west on Wicksteed. This largely replaces the through service 56A branch, although some through service operates early Saturday morning and late evenings coincident with industrial shift changes.

LEASIDE

56

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

L E A S I D E
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

56A

EGLINTON STN
PAPE STATION

Limited late evening and Saturday runs

LEASIDE

56B

BRENTCLIFFE
PAPE STATION

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

June 28, 1981

This route’s operations are transferred from Eglinton Garage to Davenport Garage.

July 24, 1983

Coincident with the opening of Malvern Garage, operation of this route is transferred from Davenport Garage to Eglinton Garage.

October 14, 1984

Service is rerouted to operate out of Donlands station via north on Donlands, north on Millwood, across the Leaside Viaduct, north on Laird and west on Eglinton to Eglinton station, replacing the 8C “Donlands/Jones” branch of the BROADVIEW bus. Additional rush hour service is operated from Donlands station over the regular route to Eglinton, looping via Eglinton, Brentcliffe and Wicksteed. A limited number of trips corresponding to industrial shift changes late evenings and early Saturday mornings operate from Eglinton Station to Donlands station, diverting off the regular route via Eglinton, Brentcliffe and Wicksteed.

LEASIDE

56

EGLINTON STN
DONLANDS STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

L E A S I D E
VIA BRENTCLIFFE

56A

EGLINTON STN
DONLANDS STN

Limited late evening and Saturday runs

LEASIDE

56B

BRENTCLIFFE
DONLANDS STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

February 18, 1996

As part of a series of system-wide service cuts resulting from the elimination of provincial operating subsidies, late evening service Monday to Friday and evening service weekends and holidays is eliminated. Some runs are now operated out of Danforth garage.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

56

LEASIDE

 

56

LEASIDE

TO EGLINTON STN

TO DONLANDS STN

Monday to Friday, daytime and early evening
Weekends and holidays, daytime

56B

LEASIDE

 

56B

LEASIDE

TO BRENTCLIFFE

TO DONLANDS STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

August 31, 1997

All buses on this route now operate out of Eglinton Garage

November 21, 1999

Service rendered accessible using Flyer D40LF low floor buses.

November 23, 2008

As part of the TTC’s Ridership Growth Strategy, service on the main branch now operates 7 days a week, whenever the subway is open. Most buses on this route are transferred from Eglinton to Wilson garage. Runs that are interlined with 5 AVENUE ROAD are operated out of Mount Dennis Garage. Buses on this route are now equipped with bike racks. No change to rush hour service, or to destination signs.

May 8, 2011

As part of a system-wide service cuts resulting from a reduction in municipal subsidies, service after 10 p.m. weekdays and after 7 p.m. weekends and holidays is eliminated. All operation of this route is consolidated out of Wilson Garage. Interlining with 5 AVENUE ROAD ends.

June 22, 2014

As part of a system-wide reorganization of route branch designations, northbound buses operating from Donlands station to Eglinton station are redesignated 56A. All buses operating to Donlands station show just 56.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

 

 

 

56

LEASIDE

 

TO DONLANDS STN

Monday to Friday, daytime and early evening
Weekends and holidays, daytime

56A

LEASIDE

 

 

 

TO EGLINTON STN

 

Monday to Friday, daytime and early evening
Weekends and holidays, daytime

56B

LEASIDE

 

 

 

TO BRENTCLIFFE

 

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

September 6, 2015

Late evening weekday and evening weekend and holiday service restored. Buses now operate at intervals of 30 minutes or better, whenever the subway is open.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

The interline with 5 AVENUE RD is eliminated, seven days a week, to reduce the effects on service reliability as a result of Metrolinx Line 5 EGLINTON LRT construction. Between the two routes, one more bus will be used. Trips will no longer interline between routes.

During the late evening from Monday to Friday, and the evenings on Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, the service will change from every 30 min to every 24 min. The service during the early evening from Monday to Friday will also change from every 30 min to every 24 min for a smooth transition into the late evening.


56 Leaside Image Archive

References

  • Information on Bristow’s operation is courtesy Ivor Samuel, Frank Culham & Bristow’s grandson F. Bristow, from correspondence dated August 13th, 1980