A Photo Tour of 501 Queen

Text and photos by Roman Fomin.

See also:

  • Route 501 - The Queen Streetcar
  • In 2007, National Geographic listed Toronto's 501 Queen Streetcar as one of the world's top 10 trolley rides in its Journeys of a Lifetime book. According to the book, "Route 501 boasts one of the longest streetcar routes in North America. Starting on Lakeshore Boulevard, it whisks through lively downtown Toronto and into the Beach district with its distinctive red-and-white Articulated Light Rail Vehicles (ALRV)". The following photo tour invites readers to take a look at how the 501 streetcar travels from west to east in 50 different locations.


    501 Queen Tour Image Archive

    501 Queen Tour Map.png

    A map illustrating locations of the photographs.

    1_501_4248_2010_01_18.jpg

    1. 0.0 km / January 18, 2010.
    ALRV 4248 sits in Long Branch Loop, the TTC's westernmost part of streetcar network.

    2_501_Long-Branch_2010_01_18.jpg

    2. 0.0 km / January 18, 2010.
    Located near to the border with the City of Mississauga, Long Branch Loop serves as a transfer terminal between TTC and MiWay (Mississauga Transit). Long Branch Loop came into being on December 8, 1928 when the TTC extended 'city' tracks from the Humber River along Lake Shore Boulevard to this site.

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    3. 3.2 km / August 17, 2010.
    ALRV 4231 trundles down the Lake Shore, eastbound towards Neville Park Loop, going through the former Town of New Toronto.

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    4. 3.9 km / May 5, 2012.
    Passengers board downtown-bound ALRV 4228 at First Street and Lake Shore Boulevard West. A stop sign, visible on the right, reads '24-hour service' as, during the night, 501 Queen changes its number to 301 and continues to operate along the same route.

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    5. 4.6 km / May 5, 2012.
    As the Lake Shore curves from east to north, ALRV 4250 passes through quiet and shady neighbourhood with charming houses along the way.

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    6. 5.5 km / May 5, 2012.
    Here, ALRV 4227 runs along the Lake Shore to Long Branch through the former Town of Mimico.

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    7. 7.5 km / January 6, 2010.
    ALRV 4222, heading westbound to Long Branch, roars inside the tunnel beneath The Frederick G. Gardiner Expressway.

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    8. 7.6 km / January 6, 2010.
    Two ALRV streetcars - 4211 (left) and 4249 (right) - take a short break at north-eastern loop at Humber Bay.

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    9. 7.6 km / January 6, 2010.
    Short-turn ALRV 4235 waits at one of two Humber Loops to enter 501 Queen service. The area south of the Lake Shore, seen in the background, has been almost entirely redeveloped in recent years with the demolition of almost all the motels and the building of many condominiums.

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    10. 7.6 km / January 6, 2010.
    Having just gone through the underpass beneath The Queensway (eastbound), ALRV 4250 pulls into Humber Loops.

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    11. 7.7 km / February 22, 2010.
    Heavy snowstorm didn't disrupt operations of 501 Queen. ALRV 4209 makes its way through the storm, entering private right-of-way near Humber Loops. This dedicated streetcar right-of-way was built all the way to Glendale Avenue (2.5 km long).

    12_501_4249_2010_01_07.jpg

    12. 7.7 km / January 6, 2010.
    ALRV 4249 approaches Humber Loops along The Queensway. CN freight train, running along Gardiner, is visible in the background.

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    13. 8.0 km / June 3, 2011.
    Here we see a picture of TTC ALRV 4233, crossing Humber River along The Queensway. New condominium building is a new focal point of the area, that replaced Stelco Factory operated until 1989.

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    14. 9.4 km / August 16, 2009.
    ALRV 4245 rockets along state-of-the-art private right-of-way on The Queensway near High Park. This portion of The Queensway, connecting Ellis Drive and Parkside Drive, was in contravention of stipulations by original High Park owner John Howard that the lands be used for parkland only. To build it, Metro government bought 18 acres (7.3 ha) of High Park from the city.

    15_501_4235_2012_05_05.jpg

    15. 10.1 km / May 5, 2012.
    ALRV 4235 heads away from Parkside Drive station, running eastbound on 501 Queen. The stairs, seen on the left of the photograph, take passengers down to street level. The waiting shelter, although seems to be as old as the overpass itself, looks quaint and clean.

    16_501_4203_2012_05_05.jpg

    16. 10.2 km / May 5, 2012.
    This photograph, taken from The Queensway overpass across Parkside Drive, looking east, shows TTC ALRV 4203, climbing a steep hill. The brick building in the background, Glendale Wing of St. Joseph's Health Centre, built shortly after the private right-of-way was opened.

    17_501_4229_2010_01_18.jpg

    17. 10.2 km / January 1, 2010.
    ALRV 4229 runs downhill from The Queensway overpass, approaching Glendale Avenue, the east end of the private right-of-way for 501 Queen.

    18_501_4235_2010_07_06.jpg

    18. 10.4 km / June 7, 2010.
    This picture, on The Queensway, looking east, shows ALRV 4235 flying past St Joseph's Hospital to Long Branch.

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    19. 10.4 km / December 18, 2011.
    ALRV 4223 travels eastbound along The Queensway towards Roncesvalles Carhouse, followed by ALRV 4200 on the same Queen service.

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    20. 10.6 km / December 18, 2011.
    This photograph shows ALRV 4204, turning off of The Queensway into Sunnyside Loop.

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    21. 10.7 km / January 15, 2010.
    ALRV 4223 on the Queen run passes Roncesvalles Carhouse, seen on the left of the picture, on its way to Humber Loops. Streetcar operators use the island stop on the right to switch shifts.

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    22. 10.7 km / August 16, 2009.
    Looking north from Queen Street West, here is the storage tracks of Roncesvalles Carhouse. In total, the carhouse houses 29 tracks, numbered from east to west.

    23_501_4201_2011_12_18.jpg

    23. 11.2 km / December 11, 2011.
    ALRV 4201 trundles down Queen Street West near Callender Street, westbound to Long Branch.

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    24. 12.1 km / August 16, 2012.
    After passing CN / CP Sub, ALRV 4208 travels further west to Humber Loops. The City of Toronto finished an underpass to carry Dufferin Street traffic below railway corridor in the end of 2010.

    25_501_4207_2012_08_16.jpg

    25. 13.9 km / August 16, 2012.
    TTC ALRV 4207 shares the road with cyclists and cars during busy evening rush-hour. The car is about to cross Euclid Avenue.

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    26. 14.3 km / August 8, 2009.
    This photograph, taken at Queen Street West and Bathurst Street, shows ALRV 4243, heading westbound to Long Branch Loop.

    27_501_4229_2012_08_16.jpg

    27. 14.9 km / August 16, 2012.
    ALRV 4229 crosses newly rebuilt "grand union" intersection of Queen Street West and Spadina Avenue. "Grand unions" are intersections where streetcars can go in any direction. There are only three of them in North America and they are all in Toronto. Two other "grand unions" are located at King Street West / Spadina Avenue and King Street West / Bathurst Street.

    28_501_4227_2012_08_17.jpg

    28. 15.2 km / August 16, 2012.
    This picture shows ALRV 4227, passing through Entertainment District along Queen Street West.

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    29. 15.4 km / August 13, 2009.
    ALRV 4251 is shown crossing McCaul Street, westbound to Humber Loops, followed by 502 Downtowner bus (Orion VII 7780). The buses replaced some of streetcar runs on this route at that time.

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    30. 15.8 km / August 11, 2009.
    After passing University Avenue, ALRV 4245 jogs further east, reflected in the glass wall of Canadian Opera House.

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    31. 16.1 km / August 11, 2009.
    ALRV 4234 moves past 'The Bay' department store, acquired by Hudson Bay Company from Simpsons in 1978. The store, however, operated under its old 'Simpsons' brand until 1991.

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    32. 16.1 km / April 16, 2010.
    Another shot of 501 Queen in Toronto Downtown Core. Here, ALRV 4231 stops briefly near Old City Hall, seen in its reflection. The articulated streetcar is followed by its compatriot 502 Downtowner (CLRV 4056), heading to McCaul Loop.

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    33. 16.4 km / February 20, 2010.
    ALRV 4233 travels east to Neville Park Loop after passing Yonge Street.

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    34. 16.6 km / April 17, 2010.
    On this warm sunny April day, ALRV 4232 waits for a green light at the intersection of Queen Street East and Church Street to continue its trip through Downtown Core. In the background is Richard Bigley Building, originally built in 1876 and is named after it's builder. Over the years, it has seen a variety of industrial, office, and retail uses. City council voted it into the Toronto Heritage Building Inventory in June of 1973.

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    35. 17.3 km / April 25, 2010.
    ALRV 4212 runs down Queen Street East, past Ontario Street.

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    36. 17.6 km / April 25, 2010.
    After a brief stop at Queen Street East and Parliament Street, TTC ALRV 4250 runs further east to Neville Park.

    37_501_4242_2011_01_08.jpg

    37. 18.0 km / January 8, 2010.
    ALRV 4242 pushes through the snow after a furious snowstorm hit Toronto, covering streetcar tracks all over the city. Two-storey houses on the left, draped in snow, look gorgeous.

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    38. 18.2 km / February 21, 2010.
    This photograph shows ALRV 4201, running along Queen Street East, between Regent Park and Corktown neighbourhoods.

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    39. 18.4 km / January 28, 2010.
    ALRV 4226 rolls onto the Queen Street Viaduct to cross over the Don River. Built in 1911, the current steel bridge is at least the third bridge at this location. The first two bridges were closer to the river level below. The phrase on the top of the Viaduct reads as "THIS RIVER I STEP IN IS NOT THE RIVER I STAND IN".

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    40. 18.5 km / December 19, 2011.
    Here we see ALRV 4251 emerging on the other side of the Don River.

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    41. 19.6 km / May 7, 2012.
    In this photo, taken at Carlaw Avenue and Queen Street East, ALRV 4200 runs eastbound to short-turn at Russell Carhouse. Its counterpart 501 Queen bus (Orion VII 7797) heads west to Broadview station so that two short-turn services overlap each to allow passengers to transfer between streetcars and buses. Starting from May to July 2012, as the track repairs near Russell Carhouse were in progress, 501/301 replacement bus provided service on Queen Street to Neville Park Loop.

    42_501_4251_2010_01_28.jpg

    42. 21.1 km / January 28, 2010.
    ALRV 4251 runs down Queen Street East to Long Branch, passing the tracks to Russell (Connaught) Carhouse.

    43_501_Russell_2009_12_04.jpg

    43. 21.1 km / December 4, 2009.
    Looking southeast from Queen Street East. The storage yard of Russell Carhouse is relatively empty as most of the streetcars are in service during evening rush-hour. The carhouse consists of 22 tracks, numbered from east to west.

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    44. 21.2 km / December 4, 2009.
    ALRV 4247 pauses on Queen Street East, just east of Connaught Avenue, waiting to continue its travel to Long Branch.

    45_501_4213_2012_03_15.jpg

    45. 22.1 km / March 15, 2012.
    This photograph shows ALRV 4213, running west on Queen Street East past Woodbine Loop (note two tracks to the left).

    46_501_4224_2012_08_16.jpg

    46. 23.2 km / August 16, 2012.
    ALRV 4224, caught at Lee Avenue and Queen Street East, stops at the heart of The Beaches, a waterfront neighbourhood of Toronto with trendy shops and restaurants.

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    47. 23.8 km / August 16, 2012.
    Here, CLRV 4014 runs down Queen Street, just east of MacLean Avenue.

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    48. 24.6 km / August 16, 2012.
    CLRV 4124 boards passengers at Neville Park, near the border between the old City of Toronto and the old City of Scarborough.

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    49. 24.6 km / August 16, 2012.
    501 Queen has finally arrived at the destination. A look at CLRV 4184 streetcar resting in Neville Park Loop. Converted from a wye into a full loop on July 2, 1922, 'Neville' shares the title of Toronto's easternmost streetcar outpost with Bingham Loop.

    50_501_4219_2012_08_16.jpg

    50. 24.6 km / August 16, 2012.
    All over again. ALRV 4219 rumbles onto Queen Street from Neville Park Loop to run west all the way to Long Branch Loop.

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