The divisional carhouses used by the Toronto Railway Company and taken over by the TTC were hopelessly antiquated, and insufficiently equipped to house and repair streetcars. With safety for workers paramount, the TTC immediately began to tackle the job of constructing new facilities. The oldest of the carhouses was the Yorkville barn, constructed in 1861 for the use of horse-cars. As it could not accommodate the new Peter Witt streetcars, it was closed in 1922. A site was chosen for the new facility, at the south-west corner of Yonge Street and Eglinton Avenue, an area where empty fields stretched in every direction and a stream flowed through the property.


Interior and exterior of low brick building. Some images show tracks where streetcars were suspended so workers could reach underneath them to do repair work.
Montage of Eglinton Carhouse photographs taken on opening day. This was the first new carhouse constructed from scratch by the TTC. The carhouse building, and later adjacent bus garage, were used until 2002, and since 2004 have been part of the bus terminal at Eglinton Station.
December 16, 1922
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 2125.


The other carhouses included the following: Roncesvalles (opened in 1895), Dundas (1897), Lansdowne (1911), St. Clair (1914), Danforth (1915), and Russell (1916). These were rehabilitated by the TTC in order to provide service for many more years. The Roncesvalles and Russell facilities are still in operation, while the St. Clair Carhouse has been reimagined as the Artscape Wychwood Barns.


Workers installing four sets of streetcar tracks that all converge into one.
Construction of trackage at the north-east corner of the Roncesvalles Carhouse. This was part of the reconstruction and expansion of the former TRC facility.
September 24, 1923
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 2560.
A room with a high ceiling and large windows. It is furnished with wooden benches and long tables.
Interior of the trainmen’s room at Russell Carhouse. Motormen and operators reported for duty in this room, and waited here between their assignments.
April 8, 1924
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3111.


Several streetcars stand in a row outside of a low brick building with large garage doors.
St. Clair Carhouse, looking north-west. Built by the Toronto Civic Railways just a decade earlier, this facility required relatively few changes to bring it up to TTC standards. It was an operating carhouse until 1978, and was used for other TTC purposes into the late 1990s.
July 10, 1924
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3253.
A low brick building with a large smokestack in the back. A streetcar is driving on a loop of track surrounding a grass lawn in the front.
Danforth Carhouse and Yards. A modern facility, Danforth served streetcars until the 1960s and was then converted to a bus garage, and used until 2002. TTC subway operators still report for duty at this facility, which is planned to be rebuilt into a new police station.
October 16, 1925
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4116.


The divisional carhouses provided local facilities for maintenance and storage, but a new car shop facility for heavy maintenance of streetcars was also required. In 1922, the TTC purchased a 22-acre site at the south-west corner of Bathurst Street and Davenport Road that had formerly been the Hillcrest Racetrack. The racetrack had been built by local sports entrepreneur Abram Orpen, and operated during the 1912 to 1916 seasons. To the north of the track, on the south side of Davenport Road were a small farm and market gardens.


A large open space containing only a few fences. It is covered in snow. It is bordered by roads with houses on them. I
Hillcrest Race Track
March 14, 1914
Fonds 1231, Item 1473.
Looking down a hill to a road and houses beyond, all covered in snow.
View from Davenport Hill, looking south-east, showing the farmhouse at the north end of the Hillcrest Racetrack
January 16, 1914
Fonds 1231, Item 262.


Work on building Hillcrest commenced in January of 1923 and the facility was ready for occupation by March of 1924. All of the buildings, including general car shops, warehouses, and several small buildings for special purposes, were of the most modern construction, particularly with regard to fire suppression. The General Shops Building covered 5.04 acres and was designed so that the complete overhaul of a streetcar (required every 70,000 miles) could be completed in only six days. The 10 large buildings were all heated from a central coal-fired plant. An underground tunnel connected the powerhouse with all of the buildings. The seven-foot high tunnel conducted the heating pipes, gas and water pipes, compressed air pipes and electric cables. Hillcrest would later be expanded to include bus facilities.


A large room with enormous windows. Workers are repairing machinery at tables.
General Shops Building – armature shop. Note the large windows providing natural light and the ventilation pipes for fresh air.
April 1, 1924
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3067.
A large factory with a row of buses in different states of completion. One has a bus body on wheels, but others are just metal shells waiting for wheels and interior fixtures..
Standard coach and bus bodies in the course of construction. For some early TTC buses and Gray Coach vehicles, TTC forces built the bodies, and assembled the vehicles with chassis and drive trains from commercial manufacturers. By the 1930s, this practice ended and complete buses were supplied by manufacturers.
May 12, 1925
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3755.


The room is narrow, and sunlight is coming in through the wide windows. A worker is spraying glossy paint onto the side of a streetcar.
The spraying room paint shop was guarded from dust by a partition and powerful fans sucked the paint-impregnated air out of the room. It only took 30 minutes to apply one coat of enamel on a streetcar.
April 17, 1926
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4242.


Workers are fitting metal wheels on to a small machine. Behind them is a large warehouse filled with metal wheels.
General Shops Building – machine shop wheel press
April 1, 1924
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 3065.


A large machine with many cogs and wheels. A piece of metal streetcar track shaped like an I-beam is sticking out of it.
Rail bender – TTC Hillcrest Shops. For minor curves, streetcar rails were bent on site, when installed. Tighter curves had to be pre-bent at Hillcrest using this machine before being transported to the field. The TTC still has a (modern) rail bender today at the Hillcrest complex for this work.
April 9, 1928
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 5744.


Interior of a large factory with big windows. Workers are assembling the stops of streetcars.
Woodworking Shop – this photo gives a sense of the enormity of the General Shops Building.
April 23, 1923
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7567.
A worker in the bucket of a crane puts large metal wheels onto the bed of an open train car.
An operator is using the impressive 5-ton crane at the General Shops to load wheels on a service car. In the days before effective heavy-duty motor trucks, the TTC had a small fleet of specialized streetcars, or service cars, to transport parts and other supplies between Hillcrest and the carhouses, and to carry out track maintenance work.
February 12, 1931
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 8334.


The interior of a large garage with two long skylights in the roof. There are several small buses parked along the sides.
The Davenport Garage, located over two levels along the northern edge of the Hillcrest site, was used for Gray Coach Lines motor coaches, buses, and other TTC motor vehicles. Davenport was the first large purpose-built garage for motor buses, and was used until 1993.
May 10, 1927
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4884.


A group of men sit at tables and on wooden chairs and benches in the corner of an industrial-looking room.
Davenport Garage lunch room
March 3, 1926
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4206.


Carpenters are replacing sections on the sides and fronts of small buses in a larger room.
Motor coach bodies being overhauled in the Davenport Garage
April 30, 1928
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 5780.
A worker is polishing equipment parts on a lathe. Behind him is a table filled with cylindrical metal parts.
Buffing Department at the Davenport Garage
June 21, 1934
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 10440.


Attached to a brick and glass wall are levers, a fare box, and other controls used by a streetcar driver.
On the third floor of the Stores Building, there was a fully equipped School of Instruction for trainmen. This school officially opened in 1926. The photo shows a mock-up of a streetcar, providing operators and conductors with practice equipment before being unleashed on the real thing. Now renamed the Operational Training Centre, the same role is carried out at the same location today.
March 23, 1927
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4781.
An industrial complex, including two long, low buildings with clerestory windows, a four-storey office building, a streetcar track loop, and a water tower.
Composite photograph and drawing showing an aerial view of the Hillcrest complex, looking north-west. All of these buildings remain in use. The complex was expanded to the west in the 1980s.
January 19, 1928
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 5642.