This group of Roncesvalles trainmen (yes, that’s what they were called!) gathered to pose for a picture outside their almost-new traffic office on May 13, 1926. TTC Operators and Conductors were making in the range of 15 cents an hour. Amid the latest technical advancement in the transit industry were forced-air coal-burning stoves introduced on board the newest streetcars. The farebox in the centre of the photograph, new at the time, likely remained in TTC service until the mid-1980s.
Roncesvalles Division originally opened as part of the Toronto Railway Company in 1895. The carhouse building, including the traffic office, fronted on the west side of Roncesvalles, 100 yards north of Queen. It was a brick structure with 14 inside tracks, sufficient to accommodate 75 large cars. It was in poor shape when taken over by TTC in 1921, and the Commission immediately embarked on a major reconstruction that included a new carhouse and a new traffic office building, opened in 1923. These are the same buildings in use today.
Between 1921 and 1923, 575 new steel-bodied Peter Witt cars and trailers were introduced into service in a major modernization program launched by the newly formed Toronto Transportation Commission – the very cars that this group of Operators and Conductors would have been running.
Generation after generation, Roncesvalles Division and Carhouse has always provided an invaluable streetcar service to the city of Toronto.