#ThrowbackThursday: Ottawa Electric Street Railway 2

As many of us eagerly await the new light rail service, we’re throwing it back 126 years today, to June 29, 1891, when the Ottawa Electric Railway Company first opened electric street railway service in Ottawa. The new trams replaced the horse-drawn streetcars that had been used previously. The city operated these new electric trams in a wide network, as can be seen in the map below.

So what happened to them? In the 1940s the company was purchased by the city and became the Ottawa Transportation Commission. By the late 1950s, it had fallen into financial trouble and was plagued with a fleet of aging streetcars. A consultant survey recommended replacing the fleet with diesel buses, and the OTC began removing the streetcar system. The last electric car ran on May 1, 1959, 68 years after they had first been introduced.


Credit: Library and Archives Canada/PA-176776


Ottawa Street Car System before it was removed, 1948. Source: http://www.nccwatch.org/blunders/sparks.htm


Sparks Street, circa 1909. Source: http://www.nccwatch.org/blunders/sparks.htm


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2 thoughts on “#ThrowbackThursday: Ottawa Electric Street Railway

  • Hal Ade

    Your caption above states that the “Ottawa Street Car System before it was removed, 1948.”. Actually, the Ottawa streetcar system was terminated in May 1959. I grew up with streetcars in Ottawa until that time.

    • D.A. Hill

      I think what is meant is that the map is dated 1948, before the system was removed. It does not state that the system was removed in 1948.