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.