Today the City of Toronto turns 180, so let’s take a quick peek at how far ‘Toronto the Good’ has come, by looking at historical snapshots of what has happened on this day in our shared heritage as Torontonians.
On this day in 1834, what had been the town of York incorporated itself under its original name. This was derived from the portage route called “Passage de Toronto” used by early French-Canadian traders to reach Lac Taranteau, which was later called Lake Simcoe. The phonetic equivalent ‘Toronto’ was a Huron word for the fishing weirs in the narrows connecting Lake Simcoe to present day Lake Couchiching.
The historic site for Fort Rouillé, on the south side of Exhibition Place, marks the location of what was more commonly known as Fort Toronto, built in 1750-51. It was established by order of the Marquis de La Jonquière, Governor of New France, to help strengthen French control of the Great Lakes and was located here near the important “Toronto” portage route to entice trade with natives travelling southeast toward the British fur-trading centre at the mouth of the Oswego River in the present day state of New York.
Almost a century later in 1852, a group of Toronto brokers formalised “a code of Rules and Regulations” that would underpin the formation of the Toronto Stock Exchange later on that year. No records survive of transactions conducted by this early group known as the Association of Brokers, though perhaps they might have traded in furs as well.
This day in 1884 also marks the opening of the first free public library in Toronto that would later become today’s Toronto Public Library. The newly created board was chaired by John Hallam (after whom Hallam Street is named), who opened this first library in the former “Mechanics Institute” at Church and Adelaide.
In 1889 we see a clear indicator of Toronto’s rigid and conservative upbringing, when Toronto Customs officials destroy novels by the French author Emile Zola on the grounds that they were “obscene”. Zola who was a major figure in the political liberalisation of France, would later be nominated for the first and second Nobel Prize for Literature in 1901 and 1902.
It’s great to see how much Toronto has loosened up in 180 years!
Cézanne’s Paul Alexis Reading a Manuscript to Zola
The TTC is finally addressing the enormous challenges of an ageing subway signalling system. Today, the TTC released a really good video that clearly explains not only the current track signalling system, used to manage the flow of trains, but also an outlook on the latests technology that’s being installed - which promises to finally bring the TTC’s subway system into the 21st century. Or at least finally leave technology from the 1950′s behind.
- The current ‘Fixed Block‘ system cannot allow for any more capacity and is limited to only one train per block, resulting in unused “headway” in front of trains, and large stretches of reserved track behind trains
- The new Automatic Train Control (ATC) using Communication Based Train Control (CBTC) to create a dynamic or ‘moving block’ that expands or shrinks depending on the trains speed and location (measured and re-calculated many times per second) for maximum safety and efficiency
- ATC will also result in faster service with fewer delays resulting from signalling system failures or issues
This leaves us to wonder a few things about the future of subway transit in Toronto
- If trains can travel faster and closer together, does that allow for more trains to be in service during rush-hour, or just that they can bunch-up tighter during delays, and the infamously regular “passenger assistance alarm” episodes.
- When is the ATC project expected to be completed, and at what cost?
- If more trains can operate, at what point would the costs outweigh the service benefits?
- What is the ideal ‘sweet-spot’ of increased ridership and service levels vs. the costs required to provision increased ridership
As we look forward to seeing tangible benefits of this ATC project, we’ll likely continue to wonder what the ideal ridership level is for a transit system that was clearly not built to handle the current rush-hour load.
Perhaps we can consider other solutions, alleviating measures, and even other forms of optimization such as:
- Reconfiguring train-sizes, speeds, and frequency
- Addressing the methods of dealing with “Passenger Assistance Alarms” since they are clearly greatest source of system delays
- Looking at social factors like workday schedules and time-shifting options to alleviate the rush-hour crush, and spread out passenger loads
Stand-By for further updates…
The newly announced updated subway line mapping scheme may have exposed the TTC’s penchant for spending money, everywhere except for where it’s needed most.
However this notoriously stagnant transit system is showing some slow and very subtle signs of growth…Finally!
Take, for example what we find hidden behind the new illuminated maps in the still-spanking-new “Toronto Rockets”
The six lights rising to the left from Downsview Station are definitely a prescient sign of things to come. Though Unless you count isolated screw-holes, there isn’t much to see in our immediate future. At least until we get some new maps, at least.
Oops…It seems that we have an interim vision after all.
Stand-By for more updates, and a better looking system.
…On paper at least.
Words won’t do this spectacle justice…
So if you can appreciate sport and cycling (even in the slightest) just keep an open mind, and watch this for a few minutes…You won’t regret it ;-]
” Before Watching: WTF is this shit “
” After Watching: WTF, this is THE shit! “
A couple of very clever Swedes have invented a new type of bicycle helmet that borrows from automotive airbag technology to offer urban cyclists abit more peace of mind. The Hovding is being presented as an ‘invisble bike helmet’ which can sense abnormal movement and inflate to protect the cyclists head in a collision. According to the images provided, it’s also being offered as a fashion accessory of sorts, since it boasts a variety of exterior linings to match any cycling outfit…Including cycling dresses?
There’s no longer any real need to resort to fancy smartphone apps or psychic devination, when it comes to catching the TTC here in Toronto, because beleaguered transit riders now have CatchTTC.com as an easy, one-stop location for their web browsers that will put the basic info at their fingertips. So what’s the catch?
There really isn’t one. This site is just a bare-bones scheduling service that let’s you pick favourite stops from all the TTC routes, and then just takes your current time to tell you when the next two arrivals will be. No dowloads, and no more searching through the maze of the TTC’s main website for route schedules.
Ad-Driven Transit Reforms?
If anything the TTC would be smart to spend a tiny fraction of its enormous budget (currently sucked up by management and personal) to just buy into this website now…While it’s still in it’s cheap infancy phase.
ie. Not showing much revenue from any ads that it will sure get clicks on as the layout and features improve themselves.
From there, this service could be easily improved upon by showing service disruptions and perhaps even optimized to offer tweetbacks of next arrivals to Twitter accounts that tweet a desire for info on their favourite #TTCstop…
In fact, if the TTC could figure out how to integrate that sort of service with forms of advertising that actually connected with riders during all of that blank-faced transit time, they could offer free Wi-Fi and have a real winner on their hands…and a much less disgrunteled ridership to boot!