WEST YORK COACH LINES
by Raymond L. Kennedy
All photographs: James V.Salmon Collection/Toronto Public Library Baldwin Room unless otherwise credited.
Keele Street north of Dundas Street West. Here we see
West York's Eileen Avenue route bus loading passengers
Subway Hotel is neither named for an underground subway
(not yet built) nor Subway sandwiches!
Note: At some point in time, possibly by the time this
photograph was taken, the Subway Hotel became a rooming house
482 a 1948 Twin signed for Westmount route next to another Twin signed
for shorter Eileen route.
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.
Garage at Pacific and Vine and the adjacent bus yard (below). Note
the new Chev sedan delivery. July
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
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.
West York & District Coach Lines 8 enroute to Shomer Hadati, a
hachshara (Zionist Youth) in Guelph. c.1946
School service to Weston Collegiate started from Eileen Ave. via Scarlett Road and Lawrence Ave. to Pine Street in Weston.
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
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 Coach 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
1951 statistics showed the following:
Fares in effect May 1952
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
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)
Malton - Junction: fares same as Malton- Jane & Bloor service
Staff May 1953
Manager and Assistant Manager - Operations.
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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