Today on Spadina

New, super-long streetcars are still a rare sight in Toronto, as Bombardier fails to meet delivery schedules. This one on the dedicated lane Spadina route lined up nicely with an older single car, affording a kind of comparison in size.


The new model consists of 5 segments with accordion connections to accommodate curves. Each one is two-headed so it doesn’t have to turn around to reverse its path. (No remarks about TTC expertise in backward systems, please.)

Why not smaller streetcars, instead of larger, so that more cars could be put into service at peak times and fewer at low traffic times? Who knows? Maybe that would have meant more drivers and higher operating costs. Surely longterm plans will involve driverless streetcars, though.

elmo-sign-200Since I was standing near Spadina and College, the iconic El Mocambo sign caught my eye. How to present it, though? I decided against a column-wide photo because it would have been a big download. Instead, here’s a small version you can click if you want to see the bigger one.

Michael Wekerle of Dragon’s Den fame gets a big thank you on the marquee. His money saved the rock ‘n roll shrine from closure.

This is where Margaret Trudeau once partied with the Rolling Stones back in 1977. Elvis Costello, Blondie, Jimi Hendrix, Charles Mingus, U2, Lou Reed and the The Ramones have all played the El Mocambo.

2 thoughts on “Today on Spadina

  1. Streetcar size? Do not assume any thought was involved. For years I’ve preached that smaller buses for less busy routes made sense. Less fuel, repairs costs etc. etc. No one listens. And yes, I played the El Mocambo – but I wasn’t on the bill.

  2. Yes, Brian, smaller streetcars would provide much more scheduling flexibily than huge, articulated beasts. TTC planning seems to be an oxymoron. Politics have been a huge factor, but TTC management has shown itself to be weak and bumbling, too.

    Like you, I’ve “played” the old El Mo dive, from the floor, not the stage. I think Wekerle plans to put some money into the building as well as into operations, so I’m kind of glad I saw the grotty, old version. The sign should be kept, but it could use fresh paint.

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