Waiting for the Streetcar in Georgina
Georgina Pioneer Village
The Radial in Georgina
2"Midnight was really black, and if you stood outside, you could hear the electric wires sing. No lights anywhere."
B.D. Ashford. "Memories: Early days of Sutton and the Radial cars." Lake Simcoe Advocate February 18 1976 Page 31
3Sutton and North Gwillimbury's radial service began in 1907, and was the end of the Lake Simcoe line of the Toronto and York Radial Railway Company. Originally called the Metropolitan Street Railway Company of Toronto, then simply the Metropolitan Railway Company, it was bought in 1904 by the renowned owner of railways, William Mackenzie. In 1893, under previous ownershop, the Company received authorization to extend its line up Yonge Street to Lake Simcoe.
5It wasn't until April 28, 1905 that North Gwillimbury Council made mention of the matter in their minutes.
7Sutton and North Gwillimbury Council records little about the Radial. Besides removing a station from the Highway and matters concerning cattle on the tracks, a perusal of these books would seem dry to even the most ardent enthusiast on the subject.
11The Town of North Toronto wishes the T&YRRC to be prohibited from carrying freight on Yonge Street.
4 March 1912
12The Town of North Toronto wishes the Toronto and York Radial Railway Company to be prohibited from carrying freight on Yonge Street. North Gwillimbury Township is York County's smallest and furthest north. The Township feels "this would be a great injustice," and sends Jackson's Point favourite Herb Lennox to represent the Township on this matter.
13Metropolitan Radial Railroad Company wishes to string electric lights on Keswick streets.
10 March 1919
16Track is laid and stations and shelters are constructed. Jackson's Point welcomed the first Radial car on June 1 1907 and Sutton on January 1 1909.
21Toronto and York Radial Railway station and waiting room, Jackson's Point.
Jackson's Point, Ontario, Canada
23The Grand Trunk Railroad tracks crossed those of the Metropolitan just behind the Trolleyrest Hotel. This crossing was responsible for much lost time. The railroad controlled a switch here, which, when the streetcar reached the crossing, the conductor had to jump out, open the switch and then close it when the streetcar had passed. This sometimes ran so poorly that the Grand Trunk authorities threatened to destroy the track unless the management of the Metropolitan complied with their signal and switching specifications.
33Up to the time of the radial, settlers and visitors arrived by foot, horseback, schooner, stagecoach, steamer, and railroad. It was this newest conveyance, however, that brought the tourists in droves. To the south along the radial line is Bond Lake, between Richmond Hill and Aurora. The Metropolitan bought land around the shores of this lake and created a park. Swimming, boating dancing and all manner of sport were to be had at this popular summer destination.
35Up at the north end of the line, at Jackson's Point, similar attractions could be had, from annual regattas to church picnics. Locals with anything to celebrate did so at Jackson's Point, and likewise the toursts. The Village of Sutton council saw this too and when the railway eventually gave up its land at the Point, Council swiftly purchased it and the shelters to create a public park which exists as such to this day.
37Keswick up to this point, though situated on the Lake as well, did not see tourism like that at Jackson's Point. With the coming of the radial however, boarding houses and hotels popped up in the quiet town of Keswick.
44The Metropolitan first operated on Ontario Electric power, which turned out to be very unreliable. The power failures disrupted the time schedules. Power came from a steam generating plant in Keswick and often was so weak that the cars could scarcely move. On one Lennox Picnic day, thirteen cars could be seen stalled in the small ravine near Lakeview House, with approximately one hunderd passengers per car. The streetcar soon changed to the stronger and more dependable Niagara Hydro Electric power. Eventaully a sub station was established at Willow Beach which considerably improved the service.
46The travelling time from Sutton to Newmarket took one hour and ten minutes. The fare was one dollar return. Sutton to Toronto took two hours and twenty minutes and cost two dollars return. The students at Newmarket High School got a reduced travelling rate.
There was one car running daily between Sutton and Toronto during the week and six on weekends. On the last day of operation, the Metropolitan had three hundred and fifty passengers on it.
52Because of the differences in track sizes between the Metropolitan and the Grand Trunk, the streetcar lost sixty-four thousand dollars worth of freight in a period of four to five years. The main types of freight were cattle, horses, mail, vgetables and fruits. The barns at the fairgrounds were built by Jarvis, Rodgers and Beardmore to house the horses and cattle they shipped.
54The line had a very low accident rate, only one cow and one man were killed; the man was drunk. There was only one change in the interiors of the streetcars and this was in the heating. The old heaters were under the seats, but because of numerous complaints, the heaters were changed to the sides of the cars to the temperature could be more easily regulated.
56In 1930 the streetcar tracks were gravelled over in some places and torn up and sold for firewood in others. The first paving done in this area was on the Base Line coming into Sutton. A look at the Council minutes from the late 1920s into the 1930s shows the Village of Sutton was busy at work paving local roads. Initially no trucks were used to pave the first roads; it was all done by steam roller and horses.
57Petition for local improvement from ratepayers to North Gwillimbury Council, page 1.
29 August 1930
58The last radial rolled into Sutton on March 16 1930. Shortly after, many residents petitioned North Gwillimbury Council to purchase the right of way from the Toronto Transit Commission. This right of way becomes Metro Road and is a popular route taken by tourists.
59Petition for local improvement from ratepayers to North Gwillimbury Council, page 2.
29 August 1930
61Petition for local improvement from ratepayers to North Gwillimbury Council, page 4.
29 August 1930
63By Law 841 (continued). November 21 1930, North Gwillimbury Township Council Minutes.
21 October 1930
64It was in the 1930s that so many cottages were built between the Lake Shore Road and Metro Road. A bus line was set to replace the radial, and today a different bus line transports people to and from Toronto along a similar route taken by the radial over 76 years ago.
65Stop 95, Winch's Radial shelter at Georgina Pioneer Village.
Georgina Pioneer Village and Archives, Keswick, Ontario, Canada
66In 1975 the Georgina Historical Society acquired two shelters for the Georgina Pioneer Village.
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