Archives contain a multitude of stories. Some stories are easy to find, and some require a guide, someone with personal memories and lived experience to uncover.  When it comes to the TTC, Joe Feres is one such guide. Joe’s 30-year career at the TTC began in 1980. He worked first as a streetcar and subway operator, then inspector, and finally as a supervisor, retiring in 2010.


Group portrait of TTC employees
TTC Employees attend the premier of “Touchdown”. Joe Feres is second from the right.
April 1989
Fonds 16, Series 879, File 355, Item 22


Joe came to the Archives after seeing Irma James, the first Black female operator of the TTC, highlighted on the TTC Centennial web exhibit. Realizing that some of the first Black operators had been missed, Joe wanted the stories of four former colleagues, who were important to him during his career, told. Their names are James Bowen, Alfred Moss, Riley Whitely, and Wendell Feres.


TTC employees group portrait
Jimmy Bowen retires.
Jimmy is located in the centre of the picture holding his certificate of retirement.
September 1989
Fonds 16, Series 879, File 78, Item 42


James “Jimmy” Bowen, joined the TTC in 1960. He worked as a shed man at the Lansdowne Yard before becoming a streetcar operator in 1961. Bowen also qualified as a trolley coach driver and was a driver for the TTC’s Dial-A-Bus service. Jimmy retired in 1989 after 29 years of service.


Group portrait of TTC employees receiving awards.
TTC Operators presented civilian citation by Metro Toronto Police Commission. Alfred Moss is located fourth from the right,
The Coupler
December 1969


Alfred “Alfie” Lorenzo Moss worked for the Canadian Pacific Railway before applying to the TTC in 1965. Alfie started his training as a streetcar operator out of St. Clair Division in March of that year. Joe recalled that Alfie was a mentor and role model to him and others at the TTC. Alfie retired in 1993 after 28 years of service.


Group of men at table reading leaflets
Representatives from Personnel and Labour Relations visiting work locations, Riley Whitely (at right).
September 1982
Fonds 16, Series 879, File 359, Item 142


Riley Leonard Whitely joined the TTC in 1965. He qualified as a streetcar operator and worked out of Danforth Division. Around 1973 Whitely qualified as a subway operator and became the first Black TTC subway operator. Riley left the TTC for a short period before returning in 1981. He left the TTC again in 1985 and moved to Jamaica.


Group portrait of TTC employees receiving framed prints.
Wayside Supervisor Wendell Feres (second from the right) with a print to celebrate his 25th anniversary with the TTC.
April 1997
Fonds 16, Series 879, File 151, Item 67


Wendell Overton Feres worked out of the St. Clair Division and started as a streetcar operator in 1972. By 1974 Wendell had moved to Eglinton Division and was certified as a subway operator. In 1976 he became the acting inspector for bus and trolley cars. Wendell went on to become the first Black inspector and first Black supervisor at the TTC. He retired in 2003 after 31 years of service.

To hear more about Joe, Alfie, and Wendell watch this interview created by the TTC in 2023 for Black History Month.

The City of Toronto Archives would like to thank Joe Feres for sharing his research, knowledge, and time.