The Electric Railroaders’ Association 2003 Convention will be held in Toronto, Canada. We will stay in the Holiday Inn Toronto Downtown Centre (formerly the Days Hotel and Conference Centre) at 30 Carlton Street, conveniently located along the TTC’s Carlton streetcar line and the Yonge Street Subway. Our 2003 convention includes a free movie night and banquet. We’ll ride streetcars, light rail and heavy rapid transit, and something in between, the Scarborough line. Those who stay over will get to cover GO Transit’s busy commuter services as well, or travel on VIA to Ottawa and see Canada’s only diesel light rail line.
We will spend Saturday on a TTC Streetcar Fantrip, using at least one PCC car. Our charter will leave from north side of Carlton (westbound) at Yonge Street (adjacent to our hotel) at 9:30 AM We will cover much of the streetcar system, ranging from Kingston Road at the east end of the system to Long Branch on the west, as well as the new Spadina and Harbourfront lines. A stop for lunch and a number of photo opportunities have been scheduled. The TTC streetcar system is one of the few networks left in the world with extensive on-street trackage through downtown areas replete with skyscrapers.
At 7 PM our Annual Movie/Slideshow will commence at the Days Hotel. The program will feature the vast network of electric traction lines that once provided dependable public transportation to the citizens of Toronto and Ontario, with an emphasis on operations during bygone days.
On Sunday we will visit a heritage location in the far suburbs of Toronto. Our chartered motor coach(es) will pick us up at 9:30 AM in front of our hotel to carry us to the Halton County Radial Railway in Rockwood, Ontario. The Ontario Electric Railway Historical Association maintains an extensive collection of operating streetcars on its 3-mile line, which has loops at each end. We will be able to ride and photograph rolling stock from old single-truck streetcars to modern PCCs, as well as rapid transit cars. Please note that the availability of food at the museum is limited, with the organization serving only hot dogs, meat pies and various snack foods, as well as beverages. Our bus(es) should arrive back in Toronto between 4 and 5 PM.
ERA’s Annual Banquet will be held in a private room at the Days Hotel and Conference Centre. An hour-long informal reception and cash bar will begin at 7:00 PM and dinner will follow promptly at 8:00 PM. Our guest speaker will be local resident and railfan Bob Halperin, who has been employed in the electric rail transit industry for most of his life. He will present an illustrated talk about his experiences with the UTDC (builder of the Canadian LRV) and Bombardier, as well as a retrospective of rail transit in Canada.
The convention will culminate with a Second TTC Streetcar Fantrip. Again, we will use at least one PCC to cover the portions of this vast system that we overlooked on Saturday, including the St. Clair line. We will begin at 9:00 AM from the carstop across the street from our hotel on Carlton, where we will head eastward. The trip will run about 5 hours, with no stop for lunch. This will leave the afternoon open for further exploration of Toronto’s transit system, including its rapid transit lines, on an individual basis.