Heritage

Public Transit in the News: 1956 Version

From a May 22 1956 editorial in the Ottawa Citizen:

Toronto's Transport Commission, faced with a deficit of more than $4,000,000 this year has decided to increase the basic fare to 12 1/2 cents from 10 cents and is appealing to Metropolitan Toronto Council for a $2,000,000 subsidy. In addition, the outer zone fare will be increased. The reasons for TTC difficulties are complex but basically they are similar to those which have contributed to public transport troubles in other cities, including Ottawa, in recent years.

For one thing, the rapid expansion of urban building in lightly populated fringe' areas has forced public transport companies such as the Ottawa Transportation Commission to extend their services uneconomically. As well. civic administrations have done too little to discourage the use of the automobile in downtown areas so that public transport has to face stern competition from the private passenger car.

Yet the life of any large city depends on an efficient solvent public transport system. Without it property values in the vital central district would decline and the taxpayers would lose much of their large investment in the downtown area-sewer, water and lighting installations, for instance.

It is in the interest of any city, including Ottawa, to do everything it can to maintain an efficient transport system. Traffic regulations which would encourage the greatest possible use of public transport are required. As well, the private automobile should be allowed to impede the movements of buses and street-cars as little as possible. Finally, a stand-by charge could be leveled on all ratepayers for the benefit of the public transport system, because good public transport benefits all citizens, including those who use a bus or street-car only occasionally. Given sufficient help, there is no reason why a public transport company could not, even ln the automobile age earn enough to maintain and expand its service.

I don't know if the Citizen would write the same editorial today. As a bonus I also learned that the 1956 Citizen carried a Bible Message on the editorial page!

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Map of Ottawa on top of aerial photo.

Map from Illustrated historical atlas of the county of Carleton (including city of Ottawa) Ont. [microform] (1879) (http://www.archive.org/details/cihm_12020).

Aerial image from City of Ottawa

 

I came so close to lining up the streets.

ott sat mash

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Socialism Plus Electricity Plus Temperance Equals a Canadian Utopia

 

From In the new capital, or, The city of Ottawa in 1999

Socialism plus electricity plus temperance equals a Canadian Utopia.

This book published in 1897 imagines Canada in 1999 where alcohol and private property have been abolished and hydro-electricity has enabled a near utopia.

Skip ahead to the waking up in 1999 which begins on page 104 (pg. 95 of the text).

Highlights include:

Well, Baron, how is it that so many people have horseless carriages, and such pretty homes, yet they don't seem to labor much, and have so many holidays?" "That is easily explained. The great gift of electricity to us by nature assists in shortening our hours of labor, and is free to all now, but in the past it was legislated as a benefit to a few by the patent laws, and these patentees were protected by a law compelling the users to pay them their stated price, and only the rich could do it. As no monopolies or patent laws exist everybody is free to use any invention or apply it to his use. We respect foreign laws in patents, not to traffic in their patents, but may use them for private benefit, and as we have plenty of spare time we take a great pleasure of putting it in our homes and making a great study of it.
"In the past, money, which was spent in drinking habits and vice, is now spent in decorating the homes with statues, paintings, music and all results of modern arts.
 

pg. 118  (pg 127)

It is good to know bagpipes survive socialism.

“This is a wonderful age, but I would have thought that the great music by electricity would have super-seded the music of the bagpipes. Baron," said I.
Oh, no; you can't measure the Scotchman's love for the bag-pipes, or his ancient customs, yet he is very democratic in his ideas.

pg. 121

 

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Downtown Ottawa Trains

With trains (potentially) making a return to Ottawa I was reminded of an image I bookmarked a few years ago. This is an image from the CN Rail Archives hosted at the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa.

http://www.imagescn.technomuses.ca/railways/index_view.cfm?photoid=29815...

 

Passenger train leaving Ottawa Union Station beside Rideau Canal

The photo caption reads:

Passenger train leaving Ottawa Union Station beside Rideau Canal
1963
Image No.: CN000562

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Notre Dame Mash-up

Update: Just in case it the origin of these two images is not clear. The current image is taken from Google Street Views and the older image is from the 1884 book Views of Ottawa which has been scanned and saved online at the Internet Archive.
Mash-up of Views of Ottawa and Google Street Views. I have a an idea for a little more creative mash-up for when I have more time.
Also I will need to improve my photo manipulation skills.

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Time Travel Mash-up

Inspired by the mash-ups seen at The Torontoist and linked to by Andy I have tried to merge an image from my phone with an image from 1910 (these images can be seen at http://kingston-wayne.ca/node/66 and http://kingston-wayne.ca/node/65).

More coming as time permits.

One clear lesson from this is the my image manipulation skills are poor.

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Using New Technology to Look at Old Buildings

While the time machine is still waiting to be invented, I have been having fun with a few bits of new technology to look at some old and new sites.

First, I have been spending some time looking at the holdings of the Internet Archive. This is a fantastic organization that is dedicated to offering permanent access to many collections of digital/digitized content. I have previously used the site's Way Back Machine to look at older versions of web sites and sometimes to find old versions of software. I had not spent too much time looking at the other holdings. As well as the Way Back Machine, the Internet Archive hosts extensive collections of moving images, texts, software and audio.

For someone as curious and distractible as I am, this has become a bottomless pit of interesting archived material. My current list of bookmarked pages can be found at http://www.archive.org/bookmarks/timwayne. The finding aids are poor when compared to a reference desk at an archive, but good enough for my purposes. In the texts collection most items are accessible online (using good page turning software) and can be downloaded in multiple formats.

While browsing a booklet (http://www.archive.org/details/souveniroftoront00torouoft) I recognized old views of familiar Toronto buildings and street scenes. Curious as to how these scenes currently look, I browsed maps of the same places with Google Street View. Google Street View is flexible enough that I was able to recreate many of the views from the archived texts. My first attempt at matching an old image to a current street view (and still one of my favourites) was the corner of Huron and Bloor, near where I grew up. Finding the right Street View image to match the old photos is pretty fun (for me). The only picture I actually took was for a view of the canal in Ottawa that Street View didn't have. I used this photo from my phone instead.

The idea of using Google Street Views and the Internet Archive, two sites that are using excellent new technologies, to get a new perspective on old images appeals to me. I also liked the fact that looking at these images online got me to walk around to see if I could find them today. I have a bunch of old/new matches bookmarked ready for when I have a few extra minutes to entertain myself. This is of course a game anyone can play. In fact, I have a few old images that I can't identify, perhaps I'll ask for help the Internet way if I remain stumped.

Take a look at the previous few entries on this site to see how it's done.

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43 and Going Strong

Image No.: CN005127

Image No.: CN005127 CSTMC/CN Collection

 

And from http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Ottawa+ON+tr...

 

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Toronto Queen's Park: How fast do trees grow?

I hope people are not yet bored with this project. Heritage pictures + Google Street View = fun (for me at least).

 

Image No.: CN002858 CSTMC/CN Collection

From http://www.imagescn.technomuses.ca/structures/index_choice.cfm?id=134&ph...

Image No.: CN002858 CSTMC/CN Collection

"Ontario Leg." Google Street View

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Queens+Park+...

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