Then and Now

Special Years


Citizens of today and yesterday recounted the service during some special years in OC Transpo history.


1870

  • We have public horse cars now! They go between New Edinburgh and the Chaudière; anywhere else, you walk…
  • the rails are fashioned to allow horse cars to take passengers by day and sawn lumber by night
  • with the rails about three inches above the street, farmers' wagons suffer great damage…
  • though sleighs are brought into service in the winter, we can be without streetcars for days when the snow begins, and again when it melts in the spring…
  • our streetcars cannot run when spring ice jams flood Rideau Street.

1900

  • Many of us think Sunday streetcars would be a flagrant wickedness, others think it would be a good thing for workers and their families to visit Lansdowne Park, or Beechwood, for a breath of air…
  • over in Quebec, we foresee the riff-raff of Ottawa being dumped into Aylmer if Sunday cars are allowed…
  • snow removal is a big concern; box sleighs take it away and dump it in the canal or in the river at the Chaudière…
  • sometimes the streetcars are stranded in drifts for days…
  • we riders keep the box stove stoked with wood to keep us all warm ...
  • there are no windshield wipers ...we are much concerned about this dangerous new 10 mph speed limit…
  • children love the cars; they sail round the semi-circular back seat when the streetcar goes round a corner…
  • bad boys sometimes pull the electric cable connection off and stop the car…
  • for all the problems, we are happy to take the cars because they save walking time, and take us to far-away places like Britannia, where the streetcar company has made a pleasure park.

1959

  • Electric railways that have served us well for so many years are being replaced by a bus system that promises to offer even better service…
  • on May 1, we watch rather sadly as the last streetcar - Britannia 831 - turns into the Cobourg Car Barn for the final time. The streetcar era has come to an end.

1991

  • We can get a bus virtually anywhere we live in the Ottawa-Carleton region and many of us can get an express bus to work…
  • we don't get dusty or rained on or windblown in open coaches…
  • we can often wait in a shelter for the bus to arrive…
  • we can telephone for personalized information about how long we'll have to wait for a bus…
  • we and the bus people get together on food drives for the needy…
  • we can use the buses on our streets as an aid in any emergency, just by flagging one down so the driver can use the radio…
  • disabled persons are not confined to their homes; many of them can use special buses which pick them up at the door…
  • life was very different before the automobile; today the 80 million bus rides we take each year are a major factor in lessening traffic congestion and improving the quality of Ottawa's air…

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