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What Is Transit Toronto

By James Bow

Originally written: October 1, 2000

That has been a question I have been asking myself lately. This web page was started in 1997, as the Toronto Subway Page, on a lark by Aaron Adel. Although an adjunct to his other personal web pages, he accepted my input on a few new articles, and the site developed from there. Since then, it has been a rush of covering as much of the Toronto Transit Commission as possible. Aaron left for other projects in April 2000, and I took over full operation of the website. I gave it its own URL and have been updating it since.

In the past two years, we have gathered together enough to give a good picture of many facets of the TTC. We have route histories of every streetcar route to have operated since 1960. We are getting detailed histories of the construction of Toronto's subway network. We have pictures, pictures and more pictures. But as all of the obvious gaps have disappeared, I have found myself with more time to ask a more difficult question:

Why do it?

The best answer I can come up with is akin to Edmund Hillary's response to why someone would want to climb a mountain: "because it's there." I am here because I love what I'm doing. I love Toronto and I love public transit. Combine that with an ability to work with HTML (most of which I learned after I came on board the original Toronto Subway Page), and I can create something that has attracted notice within the railfan community. I have received a lot of letters of support as well as a lot of letters with constructive criticisms, and all of these have given me incentive to continue.

I am also motivated, I think, by the fact that my parents were both librarians. From them I have inherited not only a love of books, but also a belief that information should be free. And while that can't wholly explain why some 28 year old would want to spend so much time building a web site about public transit in Toronto, it seems as good a starting point as any. Transit Toronto should be an Internet resource, independent of any organization or club, existing to serve the railfan community and anybody else with an interest in public transit in Toronto.

For this reason, it gives me great pleasure to announce a strategic alliance with Christopher Livett, webmaster of SITW. Christopher has been building a web site focusing on maps and plans from London, England and Toronto, Ontario. I have found that I cannot cover all the information there is to cover on transit in Toronto, but others can cover what I miss. And Christopher is going to host an archive of transit maps and plans, current and historical. We will modify our websites so that the combined information of Transit Toronto and SITW are close to the user's fingertips. With Transit Toronto, you will find a repository of route histories, vehicle specs, charter reports and pictures of transit today and yesterday. Through SITW, users will be able to delve through an archive of Toronto transit maps from all periods in Toronto's history. The information will be free for all, which is as it should be.

There may be other strategic alliances in the future. What they are, and how they affect this web site, only time will tell. So, stay tuned for future developments in Transit Toronto's future.