During the 1880s, widespread availability of electricity was a modern wonder. It allowed fast electric transit vehicles to replace the traditional horse—drawn conveyances. Initially these streetcars (or trams) travelled on steel rails, but soon trolley coaches, with their rubber—tired buses began to dominate, because they proved more maneuverable streets increasingly crowded with automobile traffic.
Every major city in Canada added fleets of the new electric coaches, which, thanks to their quiet powerful motors could climb hills and accelerate faster than their petrol—fuelled counterparts.
St. Johns, Saint John, Halifax, Montreal, Ottawa, Cornwall, Toronto, Hamilton,, Kitchener, Windsor, Port Arthur—Fort William, Winnipeg, Regina, Saskatoon, Calgary, Edmonton, Nelson, Vancouver, and Victoria are the focus for this history, which features more than 200 photographs and drawings, route maps, a history of the nine Canadian trolley coach manufacturers, and complete system rosters.
Tom Schwartzkopf is a teacher, writer (both of award—winning children's books and historical transport histories), professor, and playwright. He lives in Ottawa.