Before PRESTO, access to the TTC would be gained through the use of a cash fare, a ticket, a token, or the Metropass. The tickets for both the Toronto Transit Commission and Gray Coach Lines could be used for anywhere on one line, or for a specific destination, and some tickets were specific to an age group.

Children’s Fares

Historically, children’s fares have been based on the height of the child. In 1921 a child’s fare was allowed for any child under 51″ in height. The use of 51″ was approved by the Commission upon a review of statistics for average children’s size. In 1942 this was increased to 53 ½” upon another review of statistics for the average height of boys and girls, aged 10. The height limit was again extended in 1960 to 56″, and in 1972 to 58″.

In 1973, children whose height exceeded 58″ could still use a child fare with proof of age.


Interior of empty streetcar.
Streetcar no. 4766, interior view. An engraved ring was added to the stanchion located near the farebox on all buses and streetcars to determine a child’s height. When the height was changed, a new ring was added above the first ring, and only the highest ring was used to determine eligibility.
April 15, 1966
Fonds 1567, Series 648, File 197, Item 6.


Child's ticket, Toronto Transportation Commission
Child’s fare ticket, back and front
[between 1921 and 1929]
Fonds 16, Series 2186, File 76.
Front and back of a child's fare ticket, Toronto Transportation Commission
Child’s fare ticket, back and front
[between 1979 and 1987]
Series 2210, File 33.

Eaton’s Inter-Store Coach

On October 30, 1930, Eaton’s and Gray Coach Lines agreed that a shuttle bus would operate between the two Timothy Eaton Company department stores on Yonge Street. The fare would be three tickets for five cents. On October 31, 1942, the Transit Controller suspended this service due to the war; it resumed on June 4, 1945. Service was later operated with TTC buses, with Eaton’s paying the TTC for any deficits incurred. Service ended in 1972.


Ticket for Eaton's Inter Store Coach Service, Gray Coach Lines Limited
Eaton’s Inter-Store Coach Service fare ticket
Fonds 16, Series 2186, File 72.
Men and women lined up to board bus. Background contains brick buildings.
Eaton’s Inter-Store Coach Service
October 30, 1930
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 8135.


Empty bus showing front and side view.
Gray Coach Lines, Eaton’s Service
September 26, 1933
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9935.
Men and women lined up to get on bus. Background show storefronts.
Passengers boarding Eaton’s Inter-Store Coach Service at Albert and Yonge streets
April 6, 1940
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 13403.

Toronto Tours

In addition to its intercity routes, Gray Coach Lines, a TTC subsidiary, also offered tour packages to see the City of Toronto. There were three potential tours. Tour one covered points of interest in Toronto, such as Queen’s Park, Casa Loma, and St. James Cathedral. Tour two covered areas of interest in the west end, such as High Park, the CNE, and Sunnyside Beach. Tour three was a motor launch tour of Toronto Island and its lagoons.


Poster advertising with motor launch and Casa Loma
Window display, TTC Head Office
July 8, 1941
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 13832


Side and front view of bus full of passengers.
Twin Coach, diesel electric #650 – used for sightseeing tours
May 20, 1940
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 13452.
Map showing route for tour bus.
Map of tour no. 1
Fonds 16, Series 836, Sub-series 2, File 139.
Pink paper bus ticket with black writing and perforated stamp
Seeing Toronto Motor Tours ticket, Gray Coach Lines
[between 1937 and 1947]
Series 2186, File 5.

Gray Coach Lines Mystery Tours

Gray Coach Lines Mystery tours were advertised as a journey somewhere outside the City of Toronto. No one, except for the driver, would know where they would go. This service operated on weekends and holidays only during the warmer months, and destinations were usually parks and small attractions within an hour or so of Toronto. This special service was offered from the 1950s to the 1980s.


Article about the Mystery Tour
The Coupler, How to Satisfy the Wanderlust in you for $1.00
June 1950.


Article titled Ah, Mystery!
Headlight, vol. 2, no. 6
June 1956
Fonds 16, Series 836, Sub-series 1, File 45.
Pink paper bus ticket with black writing
Mystery bus tour adult ticket, Gray Coach Lines
[between 1956 and 1957]
Fonds 16, Series 2186, File 5.
Gray Coach Lines Camp Borden

The TTC and its subsidiary GCL played an important transportation role during the Second World War. GCL was instrumental in moving troops to and from the large Canadian Army and Royal Canadian Air Force base at Camp Borden, west of Barrie, Ontario. This special service was one of several that were inaugurated for the war.


Uniformed men boarding buses.
Service from Camp Borden
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 13730.
Uniformed men waiting to board lines of buses
Gray Coach Line service from Camp Borden
April 4, 1941
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 13731.


Two green paper bus tickets with black writing and perforated stamp
Military bus tickets between Toronto, Barrie and Camp Borden
[between 1942 and 1944]
Fonds 16, Series 2186, File 6

Hill Route

Gray Coach Lines operated the Hill Route starting in 1925. One of several such routes operated by GCL, comfortable coaches moved people from their residences in North Toronto to the downtown core. The more-comfortable coaches, as opposed to city buses, were used for this service to entice people to leave their cars at home and use transit instead. Service was extended and rerouted over the years. Initially, the fare was 10 cents, and the Hill Route would terminate at Yonge and Temperance streets. By 1947 this route, along with the Mount Pleasant and High Park Coaches, would operate out of the Adelaide Coach Terminal, a short-lived off-street terminal built by the TTC on Adelaide Street just west of Yonge Street. The Hill Route, along with the other coach routes, were discontinued in late 1954 as much of the ridership had shifted to the new Yonge Subway.


Woman boarding bus from sidewalk.
Motor Coach, Hill Route, loading
October 21, 1925
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4126.


Foreground shows passenger waiting area and bus boarding location. Background shows station and buildings.
Adelaide Street Coach Terminal. The view is looking north towards Adelaide Street. This terminal, opened in 1947, was closed and sold by 1954.
October 10, 1947
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 15895.
Woman boarding bus on tree lined road
Twin Coach, Hill Route
September 29, 1936
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 11598.
Bus sign indicating bus service attached to pole in front of brick building.
Hill Route sign. This photograph was taken at the TTC Hillcrest complex, just outside the sign shop where most TTC signs were manufactured.
December 6, 1943
Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 4551.
Three paper bus tickets, each with void stamp, TTC
Hill Route bus tickets
[between 1926 and 1937]
Fonds 16, Series 2186, File 14.


Token holders

Tokens were first introduced during the opening of the Yonge Subway line, to work in the new subway turnstiles, allowing faster entry to the subway platforms. While the Commission viewed the token as a time-saver, many TTC riders opted not to use them. To increase the use of tokens, the TTC decided to test token holders. The initial token holder was developed by Peter Storms and Company. Released in 1962, these paper strips were used to package tokens, and helped increase the sale and use of tokens by the riding public. The strips were advertised as being convenient and disposable.


Article titled strip-type throwaway token holders soon to be tested.
Headlight, vol. 8, no. 1
January 1962
Fonds 16, Series 836, Sub-series 1, File 51.


Photograph of a metal Toronto Transit Commission token
TTC Token
Fonds 543, Series 2474, File 79.
Paper token holder with picture of a subway train and a metal TTC token inside
Token holder with complimentary token for Bloor Subway opening
Fonds 516, Series 2210, File 15.


Paper token holder with 6 cutouts for TTC tokens.
Token holder with advertisement for Toronto Dominion Bank
[between 1960 and 1980]
Fonds 516, Series 2210, File 15.
Silver metal token holder with blue printing on front and back view with TTC tokens inside
Token holder with advertisement for Canada Permanent Bank
[between 1960 and 1980]
Fonds 516, Series 2210, File 15.
Pink plastic token holder with black print ad for Honest Ed's
Token holder with advertisement for Honest Ed’s
[between 1960 and 1980]
Fonds 516, Series 2210, File 2.


On May 1, 1980, the monthly Metropass was launched, allowing unlimited fares for a calendar month. This was a major change to TTC fares, which had been primarily based on tickets and tokens, which offered a small discount from the cash fare. Reflecting the large core of dedicated TTC users that rode transit for more than just trips to and from work each weekday, the Metropass was priced at a premium that made it worthwhile for very frequent transit users. Within a decade, the Metropass was used for almost half of total TTC trips.

Originally the Metropass consisted of two parts: the pass, purchased monthly, and a photo identification card, which was reused. The pass and photo ID would be shown to station collectors and operators to gain entry to the system. By 1990 technology improved the Metropass. While still requiring the card and identification piece, the card could be easily swiped at a magnetically encoded turnstile to enter the subway system. In 2005 the Metropass was made transferrable. This meant that people could share a pass, and photo identification was no longer required for its use. In 2018 the Metropass was replaced by monthly passes encoded on a PRESTO fare card, and which could be easily reloaded each month.


Toronto Transit Commission advertisement for the Metropass
Transit car card advertisement for the Metropass
Series 244, Item 385.


Article titled Metropss a convenient way to travel transit
Headlight, vol. 6, no. 4
May 1980
Fonds 16, Series 836, Sub-series 1, File 69.
January 1981
Fonds 516, Series 2210, File 9.