Saturday, February 8, 2014

Philly Friday on a Saturday

Spambots rejoice! Philly Friday is back for one final installment.

Of all the posts amongst the first 400, the 3 posts in the short-lived Philly Friday experiment were their favourites. I had more updates for the series planned, but never posted them since the first three made it clear that they attracted spambots who tried their darnedest to get me to take notice of them and go to whatever abyss they came from. I figured since this was an anniversary of sorts, I’d throw caution to the wind and mention Philly Friday one last time in order to note that Philadelphia is the missing link between Toronto and its streetcars. Author Mike Filey states it best  in the opening chapter of his excellent book, Not A One Horse Town: 125 Years of Toronto and Its Streetcars, published by back in 1986,

"...This then was the Toronto in which Alexander Easton found himself, having recently arrived from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Easton was, in fact, an Englishman who moved to the States and began promoting and building electric street railways....Very little is known about Mr. Easton other than while he was living in Philadelphia he had published a small book titled A Practical Treatise on Street or Horse Power Railways and when he moved to Upper Canada, he lived in the Village of Yorkville, just north of the city. Nevertheless, Easton must have been well regarded in Toronto for he was able to convince the City Council of the day... that the time was right for Toronto to get a street railway system of its own. After all, this type of system had more than proved itself in such cities as New York, Philadelphia and Boston. And wasn’t Toronto important?..."

The result was Toronto was running streetcars in September of 1861 just a couple of months after the necessary bylaws were passed in late July 1861. That's right: law in July, running in September.
Mr. Filey’s book has a wonderful wrap-around cover painting by artist Doug Calvert. It’s an interesting example of ‘retro-future’ circa 1986. Just fanciful, and not prototypical? Well, if the what the physicists say that in a multiverse view of things, there is some universe out there were this is an actual depiction of day-to-day life :-)

400 posts. LTA-20-1. Amtronic ranch. Philly Friday. Ah, nostalgia. Speaking of Friday, yesterday, to and from work, I listened to Guru’s old Jazzmatazz Vol. 1 from 1993. No Philadelphia, all New York. I’d completely forgotten how good it is. 


  1. I enjoyed the track, thanks for that. That's incredible that Toronto had streetcars running in just a couple of months!! Has anyone told the city fathers in Edinburgh?

  2. Well, it was 1861 and they were horse-drawn streetcars (apparently the first line in Toronto didn't get converted to electricity until 1892), but the company did want to get things rolling, and the fares coming in, as fast as possible - that wouldn't happen today :-)