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Old Time Trains


by Raymond L. Kennedy

All photographs: James V.Salmon Collection/Toronto Public Library Baldwin Room unless otherwise credited.

482 a 1948 Twin signed for Westmount route next to another Twin signed for shorter Eileen route.
Front advertising sign; Stringer's Hardware 2704 Dundas Street West. Rear sign; Creed's Cold Fur Storage.
Vine Street yard. May 23, 1954

West York Coach Lines Limited was an independent privately owned business that provided local bus service between parts of York Township and the Junction business area of West Toronto. It also served Etobicoke and the Village of Malton, (including the airport and burgeoning aircraft industry;) connecting it with either the Junction, via Mount Dennis, or the City of Toronto at Jane and Bloor Streets. Charter and school service was also a big part of their business and in fact the most profitable, no doubt similar to other bus companies as well. The Province regulates bus routes and highway runs as well as charter operations only permitting them to operate with a license stipulating where they can provide service. Highway runs and especially charter trips is where the money has always been and operation of local transit routes was the key to proving you were responsible and being granted the license you really wanted. Competition is not allowed or, is heavily restricted.

The formal address was 1785 St.Clair Avenue West, Toronto 9, Ontario. However, if you went to this address just east of Old Weston Road what you saw was a large, well-known Chevrolet Dealer, West York Motors. Previously, this had been a Ford dealership at the time Ford buses were bought. The President and General Manager of all three was, Edward B. Seedhouse of Etobicoke, and Miss Yvonne Longerhan, was Secretary-Treasurer of both businesses. All of the bus lines properties were owned by West York Motors.

Coach 38 a 1947 Flxible used on highway charters. (Became GCL 605) Vine Street yard. May 23, 1954

510 a 1951 Twin Coach (far right) and Flxible 38 signed Chartered, three more Twins are signed for Westmount, Bloor Jane Malton, and 490 (1949 Twin) Eileen routes. Twin Coach was a very popular manufacturer of buses. Vine Street July 1953

46 a 1947 Fitzjohn Duraliner interurban coach which became GCL 613. May 23,1954

56 a 1948 Aerocoach with International engine. (Became Grey Coach Lines 623). August 1953

Ford Transit 34 and 10 each showing similar right front damage! Signed for Eileen route Keele & Dundas and Scarlett Rd.
On side of bus is WYCL logo. Ad is for Creeds cold fur storage. Creeds was a high-end women's furrier dating from 1916.
Ad at rear says Hurry kills! Drive safely. May 23,1954

Garage at Pacific and Vine and the adjacent bus yard (below). Note the new Chev sedan delivery. July 1953

The garage and office of the bus lines was located at 444 Pacific Avenue on the south west corner of Vine Avenue, in the Junction. A 10 year old 89' x 100' garage of 8,900 sq.ft. all but filled the 117' x 100' property, while a house about 40 years old acted as offices. Adjacent properties at 145 Vine were a 5,000 sq.ft. body shop over 50 years old that had been a stable and barn, acquired from White Oak Farm Dairy Co. Ltd. In 1952 adjacent land on Vine Ave. was acquired for $47,184.15 at #139 ($11,000), 141 ($12,000), 143 ($6,700), and 147 ($16,800). The latter property was also acquired from White Oak and included a 6-room brick house, over 50 years old. It was rented out for $100 per month! In 1953 two adjacent houses were purchased and demolished to create a parking lot for their buses in place of a rented lot one block away at 2987 Dundas Street West, on the south west corner of Pacific, owned by Power Food Markets Ltd. Note: Shell Oil owned the gas tank and pump on the property, a common practice among oil companies. All of these properties had a total market value of about $120,000, while the total assets were $224,911.07 as of January 31, 1953, about a year and a half before their sale to the TTC. This did not include the value of goodwill which would also be paid to West York.

It is uncertain who owned all the shares of West York Coach Lines, but likely both it and the Chevrolet Dealership were controlled by Seedhouse. Stock was shown as: 2,500 shares of First Preferred at $10 par value, 2,000 shares of Second Preferred, also at $10 par value, and 25,000 common shares of No par value. The profit and loss statement of January 31,1954 showed Revenue of $370,761,28 Expenses of $280,367.07 with a Net Profit of $27,190.83

History of Operations

June 13,1932

West York and District Bus Service started by Mr. J. J. Heath of 13 Bayliss Avenue, Mount Dennis.

EILEEN service operated from the Junction business district of West Toronto from Vine Ave. (one block north of Dundas Street), north on Keele Street to St.Clair Avenue, west to Runnymede Rd. north into York Township, west on Henrietta Street, north on Castleton Avenue, west on Pritchard Avenue, north on Jane Street, west on Florence Crescent and Eileen Avenue to Scarlett Road. NOTE: In later years all routes changed to loop at Dundas, Mavety and Annette Streets back to Keele.

April 15,1937

School service to Weston Collegiate started from Eileen Ave. via Scarlett Road and Lawrence Ave. to Pine Street in Weston.

December 14,1937

WESTMOUNT service instituted between the Junction and Westmount operating over the same route as Eileen to Scarlett Road, thence north on Scarlett to Airport Road (Dixon) and west to Royal York Road. In later years; west on Lawrence to Royal York and looping just to the north. NOTE: In rush hours some trips were operated via St.Clair between Runnymede and Scarlett.

November 1, 1938

MALTON-WESTON service instituted between Weston and Malton via Malton Road (now Dixon Road). October 25, 1945 service was extended to the Junction via Weston Road and Keele Street. This was a rush hours only service.

April 6, 1942

MALTON-BLOOR & JANE service instituted from Jane Street (City Limit) westward via Bloor Street, Highway 5 (Dundas Street), Highway 27 (now 427), to Malton Road and west to Malton. January 9, 1945 service was re-routed to stay on Bloor Street between Kipling Ave. and Highway 27. Note: Looping at Jane & Bloor was via Willard, Ostend, and Windermere Avenues.

Ford Transit 42 is leaving Malton airport for Bloor-Jane. Sign over doorway reads Departmen of Transport. 1948

June 21, 1942 until November 1, 1944

War Time restrictions (Transit Control) compelled conservation of rubber and other supplies. This forced Eileen and Westmount routes to to end at Runnymede and Maria (mah-rye-ah) Street, one short block north of Dundas Street West and site of the TTC's streetcar loop. NOTE: It is not known if the TTC was compelled to accept a transfer from West York, or if people were made to pay a second fare to get to the Junction business area.

May 24, 1945

SWANSEA service purchased from Danforth Bus Lines. It was discontinued October 21, 1946. A new public vehicle operating licence was issued June 12, 1947 to operate a service between the Village of Swansea and Sunnyside in the City of Toronto at the corner of Queen Street West and Roncesvalles Ave. via Lakeshore Road or Queen Street to Parkside Drive, south to Lakeshore, then north on Riverside to Bloor St.West and Willard Ave. RESTRICTION prohibited picking up or setting off of passengers on Bloor, Willard or Ostend Ave. There was also approval to carry students between from the Village of Swansea to Runnymede Collegiate, located in York on Jane Street, just south of Dundas.

Early in 1946

West York and District Bus Lines became West York Coach Lines Ltd.

January 22, 1948

MALTON-BRAMPTON service begun, but in 1949 it was sold to Parkinson Coach Lines, of Snelgrove.

May 1, 1953

Rexdale service provided by Westmount bus, some trips running from Scarlett Rd. into Weston, (South Station Street), then back-tracking to Scarlett, Dixon and Islington to Rexdale. Keele-Malton rush hour service also had some trips operating to Rexdale.

July 1, 1954

West York's entire operation was sold to the Toronto Transportation Commission as all other independent bus lines were compelled to do following the formation of the Municipality of Metropolitan Toronto (Metro), on January 1, 1954.


No local passengers were carried in competition with the T.T.C. in Toronto. City Limits were on Runnymede just north of St.Clair and at Northland Ave. on Weston Road. In addition, no local passengers were carried on Bloor Street east of Poplar Ave. (5 blocks west of Kipling), this may have been a Gray Coach highway licensed area.

Service in Effect May 1952

Route Round trip miles Round trip time Headway (frequency) Vehicles required
Eileen 5.63 30 minutes 30 mins. 10 in rush 1 normal 3 rush
Westmount 11.57 60 minutes 60 mins. 30 in rush 1 normal 2 rush
Malton-Junction 22.10 80 minutes 40 minutes rush only 2 rush
Malton-Bloor 23.15 80 minutes 80 mins. 20 in rush 1 normal 3 AM rush 4 PM rush

1951 statistics showed the following:

Route Annual Miles Passengers Revenue Expenses Profit or Loss
Eileen 144,000 724,000 . $46,000 $59,000 $13,000
Westmount . 72,000 187,000 . $20,000 $30,000 $10,000
Malton-Bloor 216,000 517,000 $136,000 $90,000 $46,000
Malton-Keele . 41,000 103,000 . $28,000 $17,000 $11,000
Charters/special $550,000   $330,000 $230,000 $100,000
TOTAL $1,023,000   $560,000 $426,000 $134,000

Fares in effect May 1952
(old fares prior to December 3, 1951 shown in brackets)

Original size of one ticket 1 1/4" x 7/8" Ticket collection of R.L.Kennedy

Eileen and Westmount Adult 10 cents cash, 3 tickets for 25 ( 4 for 25 cents) Children 5 cents
A second fare zone existed for Westmount north of Ellins Avenue

Note: There were no transfers issued or accepted.

Malton: Bloor & Jane to Highway 27 Adults 35 cents cash ...4 tickets $1.20 (4 for $1.00)
................................................................. Children 20 cents ... Students 15c.
........... Bloor & Jane to Hwy.27 & Malton Rd. 20 cents ................ 15 cents
........... Bloor & Jane to Malton ...................... 35 cents ................. 20 cents
........... Bloor & Dundas to Bloor & Hwy 27 .. 10 cents ................. 10 cents

Malton - Junction: fares same as Malton- Jane & Bloor service
Malton-Weston: ............................................ 20 cents ................. 15 cents ...
................................................ Students 10c 7.30 A.M. - 6. 00 P.M. school days only
Hwy 27-Weston: ........................................... 10 cents .................. 5 cents

Staff May 1953

Manager and Assistant Manager - Operations.
Three office staff (female).
Inspector, Dispatcher
Drivers; 27.
Garage: Foreman and Assistant Foreman. 6 mechanics and 2 apprentices; 1 body man, 1 lubrication,
2 service men plus 1 part time; stock keeper; sedan delivery driver and janitor. Total: 17
Grand total: 51 not including the President-General Manager and the Secretary-Treasurer.

Map of Routes

Final roster of buses and coaches

Buses and coaches after sale to TTC/GCL

Group of drivers posing with Ford bus on St.Clair Avenue West in front of West York car dealership/bus office. June 1946

A driver remembers by Bill Worthington

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