In the 1920s several private companies established businesses to provide motor coach services between Toronto and other locations in Ontario. These companies were successful because of the strong public demand for buses, but they were travelling into the city in competition with the municipally-owned TTC and the suburban electric railways. To protect its investment in public transportation services, the City of Toronto authorized the TTC to acquire the most important of its competitors in 1926.

Consequently, in 1927, the TTC incorporated a subsidiary business called Gray Coach Lines, Ltd. to provide interurban motor coach services and sightseeing operations. Routes covered much of central Ontario, and included Buffalo, where passengers could transfer to other US destinations. Gray Coach Lines also operated several extra-fare special motor coach services in Toronto and motor launch sightseeing tours of the lagoons at Toronto Island.


A long bus with banners written in Chinese on the side.
Gray Coach bus chartered by the Chinese National League of Hamilton
May 2, 1928
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 5818.


A group of Black people stands in front of a small bus. Behind them is a large brick wall probably the side of a theatre. In the background is a downtown street with stores.
A troupe of actors visiting from Basutoland (now Lesotho), South Africa about to embark on a sightseeing trip to Niagara Falls with Gray Coach Lines
August 23, 1933
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9884.



A poster reads, "Motor launch tours of Toronto Islands. See Toronto's waterfront, Hanlan's Point, Ward's and Centre Islands, The Royal Canadian Yacht Club, the beautiful island lagoons and parks, the imposing skyline of downtown Toronto."
Gray Coach Lines advertisement for boat tours of Toronto Island
July 29, 1929
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7058.


A group of people on a pier board a small boat with glass windows for sightseeing.
An excited group boards the Miss York motor launch for a tour through the lagoons of Toronto Island
July 29, 1929
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7059.


A small sightseeing boat with large open windows and a roof glides past trees on a shoreline.
The peaceful serenity of the Island lagoons provided for a perfect summer outing.
July 25, 1930
Fonds 16, Series 71, File 7839.


To promote business and its reputation as a progressive company, the TTC built the Toronto Bus Terminal in 1931. Located on Bay Street, just north of Dundas Street, the architecture of the terminal was the latest in Art Deco styling. Facilities included a waiting room, travel bureau, baggage check, washrooms, telephones, and restaurant services. Other coach companies, such as Toronto Greyhound Lines and Colonial Coach Lines also used the terminal on a rental basis.


Exterior of a two-storey white stone building with large square windows.
Gray Coach Lines bus terminal on Bay Street, constructed in 1931
April 28, 1932
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9217.


A waiting room that is two storeys high, with a stained glass skylight and large hanging chandeliers. The walls contain ticket windows and framed maps. There are several benches in the middle of the room.
Interior view of the bus terminal, looking east
December 19, 1931
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9031.


A waiting room filled with long wooden benches. In the background, a staircase leads up to a landing with a large arched window with the Grey Coach crest in it.
Interior view of the bus terminal, looking west
December 19, 1931
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9032.



Inside a store containing many wooden shelves full of goods. In the background is a lunch counter surrounded by high chairs.
Dining and shopping options inside the Gray Coach terminal
April 12, 1932
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9231.


Several buses are parked in a half-open garage. Numerous people are posed in front of them and are looking at the camera.
Colonial Coach Line buses waiting at the Gray Coach Lines terminal to take overseas passengers to ocean liners departing from Montreal
April 25, 1935
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 10852.


Exterior of a restaurant on a street corner. On the corner is a large curved sign reading "B and G Coffee Shoppe, Milk Bar."
For the convenience of its coach customers in west-end Toronto, a new bus depot with waiting room, washrooms, and lunchroom services was constructed in 1936. Illustrating the height of Art Moderne elegance, with primrose and black stripes, the Sunnyside bus depot at the north-west corner of Queen St. and Roncesvalles Ave. tempted trippers to “Travel the King’s Highway” with Gray Coach Lines. The building continues in use today as a fast-food restaurant.
December 28, 1936
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 11759.


A vacation tours brochure with photographs showing people water skiing, fishing, golfing, and playing tennis. There is also a drawing of a large resort hotel.
A vacation brochure reading "Away we go on a happy carefree holiday" and "land of sunshine and blue sky!" It shows people golfing and running into the water. It also shows photographs of a hotel and a lake with islands in it.
Vacation brochure advertising three-day or seven-day tour packages to Atlantic City. It includes a photograph of a large stadium and a beach, as well as a map of southern Ontario.
Brochure for Gray Coach Lines vacation tours
Fonds 16, Series 836, Subseries 1, File 5.


When GO Transit was formed in 1971, Gray Coach Lines was contracted to operate some of its bus services. However, this contractual relationship ended in the late 1980s when GO took over complete operation of its routes. Facing stiff competition in the 1980s, Gray Coach sought to strengthen its position by acquiring rival inter-urban operator Trentway-Wagar.

The TTC was enduring its own budgetary pressures though, and decided it had to direct its scarce resources towards its core responsibility of providing local public transit in the metropolitan area, rather than in the rest of Ontario. In 1990, the Commission sold Gray Coach Lines to Stagecoach, who then sold the business to Greyhound Canada and Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services in 1992.