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97 Yonge

Compiled by Jeffrey Kay; text by James Bow

Public Transit on Yonge Street

Reasons for the Launch

When the TTC built the Yonge subway, it replaced only a portion of the busy Yonge streetcar. The section north of Eglinton Avenue remained and the TTC gave some thought about how the remnant service should be handled. After considering a “high tech” streetcar feeder route using PCCs, the TTC decided that the route was too isolated from the rest of the streetcar network to merit a retention of streetcars, and that a conversion to trolley buses would be a better approach to take. Service on the NORTH YONGE bus, which previously terminated at Glen Echo loop at the northern city limits, would be extended south on Yonge, operating express to Eglinton Station.

One of the interesting features of this route was switches leading onto Lawrence Avenue, connecting this route to Mount Pleasant Avenue and the 61 NORTOWN trolley bus for emergency diversions. This stretch saw no regular service.

After the 1920s Mount Pleasant experiment, 97 YONGE became the first trolley bus in Toronto to be abandoned. On March 31, 1973, the TTC’s subway extension from Eglinton to York Mills opened. Although the TTC decided to save money by spacing the stations twice as far apart as was normal before (eliminating potential stations at Glencairn and Yonge Boulevard/Glen Echo), the TTC also decided to extend the 97 YONGE bus north, initially to Sheppard and then, in 1974, to Steeles Avenue. They did not feel that this extension could be handled by trolley buses. The trolley wires on Yonge Street and Lawrence Avenue East were taken down soon thereafter. Glen Echo Loop was another casualty; this terminal serving North Toronto since the 1920s was eventually demolished and redeveloped, and bus connections moved to York Mills Station.

One of the main reasons for 97 YONGE’s existence is that, in the early 1970s, The TTC and Metropolitan Toronto decided that construction of the Yonge subway extension would proceed without “mid block” stations at Glencairn, Glen Echo and Empress, and that the parallel bus service would remain to serve passengers enroute who were a little far from the remaining stops. Since then, the route was extended south to the downtown core, providing local service to Yonge Street while the Yonge subway operated essentially as an express.

The abandonment of the Yonge trolley bus left the TTC with a number of operable but surplus trolley coaches, as well as reusable overhead wire. Rather than scrap or sell off this equipment, the TTC used it to convert the 6 BAY bus to trolley coach operation in 1976.

A Chronological History of 97 YONGE

March 7, 1954

Beginning at 1.30 a.m., gas buses replace streetcars over the north end of the YONGE route, between Eglinton and Glen Echo. Buses run through Glen Echo loop east from Yonge on the north side of the platform, then east and south to Glen Echo, returning west to Yonge. At the south end of the route buses use a temporary loop and loading platform north of Eglinton Carhouse Loop.

March 27, 1954

Trolley coach service inaugurated between Eglinton station on the Yonge subway and Glen Echo Loop. Coaches loop through Bay 3 at Eglinton Station, and the inner (south) lane at Glen Echo. Overnight service is provided by the 99 YONGE NIGHT route operating between Glen Echo and Front street.

Y O N G E

CITY LIMITS
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

September 1956

Assigned route number 97.

Y O N G E

97

CITY LIMITS
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y O N G E

97A

LAWRENCE
S U B W A Y

Unscheduled short turns

December 29, 1957

Trolley coaches rerouted through platform bay #2 at Eglinton station.

March 31, 1973

Coincident with the extension of the Yonge subway to York Mills station, trolley bus service is withdrawn and diesel buses operate from Eglinton station via Yonge to Sheppard, looping through the unopened Sheppard station bus loop on Sheppard Avenue, just west of Yonge.

Alternate buses run north on Yonge and then northwest on Yonge Boulevard and east on Wilson to York Mills station. These buses loop via north on Yonge then east and south through York Mills station, exiting onto westbound York Mills. Passengers disembark at the northbound stop on Yonge at the entrance to the station. This branch replaces 96 WILSON service on Yonge Boulevard.

Y O N G E

97

SHEPPARD STN
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97A

YORK MILLS STN
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

NOTE: “Sheppard Stn” destination sign above. This has been confirmed by photographic evidence. Possibly when these rollsigns were commissioned, it was still planned to have Sheppard station on this day. Labour disruptions delayed construction of the North Yonge subway extension and the TTC responded by only opening service to York Mills in 1973.

March 30, 1974

Coincident with the extension of the Yonge subway to Finch, Yonge buses are extended north of Sheppard via Yonge to Steeles and then via east on Steeles to an off-street loop located on the south side of Steeles, just east of Yonge.

97A “Yonge Boulevard” buses now terminate at a platform in York Mills station, with buses operating via east on Wilson and York Mills, entering the station and proceeding clockwise around the bus terminal to the designated platform.

Overnight service, formerly provided by 99 YONGE NIGHT, now provided by the 97B branch of the YONGE route, running from the off-street loop at Steeles via Steeles and Yonge to Lakeshore Boulevard, looping via west on Lakeshore, north on Bay and east on Front. Limited early morning Sunday service offered between Lakeshore Boulevard and York Mills station via Yonge Boulevard on a special 97C branch.

Y O N G E

97

S T E E L E S
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97A

YORK MILLS STN
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y O N G E

97B

S T E E L E S
LAKESHORE

7 days a week, “owl” service

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97C

YORK MILLS STN
LAKESHORE

Early Sunday mornings

June 26 to July 8, 1974

The installation of pedestrian malls on Yonge Street between Bloor and St. Mary, Gerrard and Dundas and Albert and King force diversions to 97B night bus services. Southbound buses operate via south on Yonge, east and south on Church, west on Gloucester, south on Yonge, east on Gerrard, south on Victoria, east on Adelaide, south on Church, west on Wellington to Yonge. Northbound buses operate via north on Yonge, east on King, north on Victoria, west on Gerrard, north on Yonge, east on Dundonald, north and west on Church and north on Yonge.

July 9 to September 3, 1974

The northern pedestrian mall wraps up for the season, but malls continue to operate between Gerrard and Dundas and between Albert and King. Southbound buses are now rerouted to south on Yonge, east on Gerrard, south on Victoria, east on Adelaide, south on Church, west on Wellington to Yonge. Northbound buses operate via north on Yonge, east on King, north on Victoria and west on Gerrard to Yonge. Normal service resumes on September 4.

September 8, 1974

All northbound trips on the 97 branch now stop at a platform inside the bus terminal at Finch station rather than serving the station from stops on Yonge Street. Buses run north on Yonge, east on Finch, through Finch station and then west on Bishop continuing north on Yonge. Southbound buses remain on Yonge Street past Finch station.

February 9, 1987

As part of a major expansion and rebranding of the TTC’s night services, overnight trips that operated on Yonge Street as 97B and 97C buses are now redesignated 320 YONGE BLUE NIGHT

Y O N G E

97

S T E E L E S
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97A

YORK MILLS STN
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

November 26, 1989

As part of a realignment of services in the Avenue Road/Chaplin Crescent area, all 97 YONGE buses are extended south of Eglinton station via Yonge to Davisville station, replacing a segment of the 5 AVENUE ROAD route.

Also, on weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., trips leaving Steeles Avenue are extended south of Davisville station via Yonge to Front Street, looping via west on Wellington, south on Bay and east on Front, replacing the discontinued 27 DOWNTOWN route.

Y O N G E

97

S T E E L E S
DAVISVILLE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97A

YORK MILLS STN
DAVISVILLE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y O N G E

97B

S T E E L E S
F R O N T

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97C

YORK MILLS STN
F R O N T

Unscheduled short turns

February 17, 1992

Midday “Yonge Boulevard” trips are extended south of Davisville station to St. Clair station, looping through the Pleasant Boulevard bus loop.

Y O N G E

97

S T E E L E S
DAVISVILLE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97A

YORK MILLS STN
DAVISVILLE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

Y O N G E

97B

S T E E L E S
F R O N T

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

Y   O   N   G   E
via YONGE BLVD.

97D

YORK MILLS STN
ST CLAIR STN

Monday to Friday, middays

February 18, 1996

Due system-wide cutbacks as a result of the elimination of provincial operating subsidies, service south of St. Clair station is eliminated during midday, Mondays through Fridays. Late evening (10 p.m.) service on Yonge between Yonge Boulevard and Steeles also eliminated, seven days a week.

May 5, 1997

During the morning rush hour, 97B trips are extended south from Front to Queens Quay, looping via west on Wellington, south on Bay, east on Queen’s Quay, north on Yonge, west on Lakeshore, north on Bay and east on Front before returning north on Yonge. Afternoon peak buses continue to loop via west on Wellington, south on Bay and east on Front. It is likely that the “97B Front” rollsign continued to be used for this extension.

March 22, 1998

Looping at Steeles expanded, with buses now looping via west on Moore Park, north on Hilda and east on Steeles before returning south on Yonge. Also, during rush hours, all “York Mills station via Yonge Boulevard” trips originate at Davisville station (97A) rather than St. Clair station (97D)

February 14, 1999

As a result of construction on the Sheppard subway at the Sheppard/Yonge intersection, the 97 YONGE route is split in order to improve the reliability of service. All YONGE buses operate north on Yonge and northwest on Yonge Boulevard only, heading east on Wilson and looping through York Mills station. A separate, temporary 197 NORTH YONGE is operated north from Lawrence station to cover the portion of Yonge Street between Yonge Boulevard and Steeles Avenue.

Also on this date, the rush hour looping of 97B trips in the downtown area is revised, with morning trips now looping via east on Wellington, south on Bay, west on Queen’s Quay and north on Yonge, and afternoon trips looping via south on Yonge, west on Queen’s Quay, north on Bay and east on Front.

97A

Y O N G E

 

97A

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO DAVISVILLE STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except Monday to Friday, midday

97B

Y O N G E

 

97B

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO QUEEN’S QUAY
VIA YONGE BLVD

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

97D

Y O N G E

 

97D

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO ST CLAIR STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

Monday to Friday, midday

October 14, 2001

With major subway construction at Sheppard now finished, through service is again operated on Yonge to Steeles Avenue, with the separate 197 NORTH YONGE service discontinued.

97

Y O N G E

 

97

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO DAVISVILLE STN

Monday to Friday, early evenings
Weekend and holidays, daytime and early evenings

97A

Y O N G E

 

97A

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO DAVISVILLE STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except Monday to Friday, midday

97B

Y O N G E

 

97B

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO QUEENS QUAY

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

97C

Y O N G E

 

97C

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO ST CLAIR STN

Monday to Friday, midday

97D

Y O N G E

 

97D

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO ST CLAIR STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

Monday to Friday, midday

November 23, 2008

As part of the Ridership Growth Strategy, late evening service restored north of York Mills station to Steeles Avenue. Late evening service operates every thirty minutes on the main branch (97), alternating with 97A buses operating from Davisville station to York Mills station via Yonge Boulevard, also at 30 minute intervals, combining to provide 15 minute service between Davisville station and Yonge Boulevard. Service also increased during weekday middays and Sundays and holidays, with the 97 and 97A branches operating at every 30 minutes, combining to provide 15 minute service between Davisville station and Yonge Boulevard.

January 6, 2014

Due to watermain work on Yonge Street between Finch and Sheppard, service on 97 YONGE is split to maintain reliability. Buses now operate in three branches: from Lawrence station via Yonge to Steeles (operating 7 days a week, 18hours a day), from Davisville Station via Yonge and Yonge Boulevard to York Mills station (operating 7 days a week, 18 hours a day), and from Queen’s Quay via Yonge to York Mills station (not via Yonge Boulevard) (operating during rush hours only). Unlike the previous split at Lawrence, the Lawrence-to-Steeles run is not renumbered 197 NORTH YONGE. Midday service between St. Clair and Davisville stations is discontinued.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

97A

Y O N G E

 

97A

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO DAVISVILLE STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Sundays

97B

Y O N G E

 

97B

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN

TO QUEENS QUAY

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

97C

Y O N G E

 

97C

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO LAWRENCE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Sundays

October 12, 2014

On this date or before, watermain construction at Yonge and Sheppard ends, and normal service is restored on the 97 YONGE route, including service to St. Clair. Around this time, as part of a overall redesignation of TTC route branches, the main 97 YONGE “Davisville Stn-Steeles” branch is redesignated 97F.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

97A

Y O N G E

 

97A

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO DAVISVILLE STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except Monday to Friday, midday

97B

Y O N G E

 

97B

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO QUEENS QUAY

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

97C

Y O N G E

 

97C

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO ST CLAIR STN

Monday to Friday, midday

97D

Y O N G E

 

97D

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO ST CLAIR STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

Monday to Friday, midday

97F

Y O N G E

 

97F

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO DAVISVILLE STN

Monday to Friday, early evenings
Weekend and holidays, daytime and early evenings

May 8, 2016

Due to renewed construction around the Sheppard/Yonge intersection, the 97 YONGE route is split again at Lawrence station, with midday service between St. Clair and Davisville station eliminated, as it was in January 2014.

NORTHBOUND

 

SOUTHBOUND

97A

Y O N G E

 

97A

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

TO DAVISVILLE STN
VIA YONGE BLVD

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Sundays

97B

Y O N G E

 

97B

Y O N G E

TO YORK MILLS STN

TO QUEENS QUAY

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

97C

Y O N G E

 

97C

Y O N G E

TO STEELES

TO LAWRENCE STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Sundays


97 Yonge Image Archive