Archive for the ‘History’ Category

a sense of history in York Region

Wednesday, September 27th, 2017

a sense of history in York Region

150 years ago, York Region looked vastly different than it does now. Instead of a Starbucks on every corner, wide expanses of farmland were dotted with small villages. Small settlements defined the “downtown” of each, creating a sense of community.

This sense of community has flourished as the population of these cities and towns has grown. With a population that surpassed a million in York Region; the change in population has also been reflected in the community landscapes. The once quaint small-town streets have evolved and transformed into bustling metropolitan hubs, in and of themselves. Each hub is now being enhanced with transit, connecting people to housing and jobs, and businesses offering services, shopping, dining and entertainment!

These bustling towns and cities are exciting, but if you yearn for a simpler time, a visit to Black Creek Pioneer Village [see map] may be just what you need. Whether learning how to make a candle, or being an apprentice for the day with the blacksmith, Pioneer Village gives you the opportunity to experience how early residents lived in southern Ontario.

Once the new TTC Line 1 extension to Vaughan opens this December, getting to Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto will be even easier! Pioneer Village is one of six new stations being added to Line 1, on Steeles West between Keele and Jane StreetsYou’ll be able to get to TTC subway easily in Vaughan, with the new Vaughan Metropolitan Centre vivastation opening on Highway 7 with direct connections from Viva to the subway station below, and a new SmartCentres Place Bus Terminal opening for YRT customers, just two-minutes’ walk north. Transit agencies in the GTA continue to ‘pioneer’ new transit for our modern age, allowing our ever-expanding communities to stay connected. Unfolding histories – made in York Region.

 

by Adrianna Damiano

history of transportation along Yonge Street

Friday, September 15th, 2017

Click the image to view our YouTube video on the history of transportation along Yonge Street. 

Yonge Street was first initiated by Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe in 1796. Although the road – as we know it today – was commissioned as a military road, local historians indicate that the route was travelled centuries before by First Nations people.

In the early years, individuals who utilized Yonge Street were often reliant on their own strength to travel the route, often portaging, walking or snowshoeing with their belongings to their destination. As oxen and horses became more accessible, historians express that travellers started to rely on these animals as a way to transport them to their final destination.

Research suggests that with the influx of travellers, so did the need for transportation options. Established in 1849, H. B. Williams’ Omnibus Bus Lines provided the first known public transit alternative [horse-drawn carriages] within York/Toronto. Within a decade, however, the first street railway system—with radial services to outlying towns—was established on the same route and became a more popular option.

History has shown us that at the beginning of World War I, horses were becoming a less favourable choice for commerce. Around this time, motorized vehicles brought about unprecedented economic improvements for retailers and consumers alike.

With the onset of motorized vehicles, historians illustrate that Canadians wanted to improve both the quality and safety of their local roads. To improve their mode of transportation, locals started laying planks of wood—similar to a boardwalk—to create a more even surface to travel on.

More than 200 years later, the demand for safe, efficient and reliable public transit remains strong along the significant arterial route that is Yonge Street. Today, Viva travels Yonge Street in mixed traffic, but in the future it will have its own dedicated transit lane to further improve service along the import corridor.

Keep an eye out for the second video that will explain further the history of transportation along Yonge Street.

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a look back at the CN MacMillan Bridge expansion

Wednesday, July 12th, 2017

As work starts up on the Highway 7 bridge over Highway 400, which is being widened to accommodate rapidway lanes and a multi-use path, let’s take a look at a completed bridge expansion project: the CN MacMillan Bridge.

The Highway 7 bridge passes over the CN MacMillan Rail Yard, the second-biggest rail yard in Canada.

The expansion project, which was part of the Highway7 West-VMC rapidway project, involved widening the bridge by 8.5 metres to accommodate the two lanes of rapidway that opened in February 2017.

Crews poured 4,000 tonnes of concrete to build abutment walls, piers, foundation and piles, sidewalks and decks; embedded 300 tonnes of reinforcing steel; and built a new pedestrian sidewalk and hand-rail and bike lanes!

All of the work expanding the bridge had to be done – and was accomplished – without stopping the trains or impacting the 10 sets of tracks. For safety purposes, before construction even began, crews had to rehearse set-ups and take-downs with numerous safety drills so it would proceed like clockwork.

During construction, crews worked very closely with CN to coordinate work around train schedules. An additional challenge was the fact that the rail yard, which handles one-million-plus cars per year, also operates 24/7.

Mega feats of engineering and construction like the CN Bridge project are beginning again with the expansion of the Highway 7 west bridge over Highway 400. Next month, we’ll take a look at the different components of work involved for this project.

For information on ongoing vivaNext projects be sure to sign up for email updates, and follow us on Twitter. Questions or comments? Comment below or email us at contactus@vivanext.com.

it’s Canada 150 >> come celebrate!

Friday, June 30th, 2017

it’s Canada 150 >> come celebrate!

Even before it became a region in 1971, York Region has been an important part of Canada for more than 150 years. Key fur trade routes travel through the region, and Newmarket hosted the first speech to spark the 1837-1838 rebellions [leading to the British North America Act and the creation of Canada]. In more recent years, we’ve become one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Canada and headquarters for many international businesses.

There are so many ways to celebrate Canada’s sesquicentennial and YRT/Viva can get you there. To help you plan your celebration, here are a few of the biggest Canada-150 events in York Region:

At vivaNext, we’re so very proud to be building transit in this beautiful, diverse and growing Region of York. As you enjoy and partake in the festivities, we wish you a wonderful weekend with the best this country has to offer.

crossing a river and marking history on Davis Drive

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

crossing a river and marking history on Davis Drive

Earlier this week we helped the Town of Newmarket celebrate the history of transportation in Newmarket, at the Keith Bridge on Davis Drive.

The Keith Bridge crosses the Holland River, which was an important centre of the original village in the early 1800s, with a grist mill, tannery, and the earliest settlers nearby. The trade routes from the old market of “York” in the south [now City of Toronto] to this “new market” in the north were important, and led traders and settlers to destinations farther north. In the early 1800s Yonge Street was built, following a branch of the Toronto Carrying-Place Trail used by natives and traders. About 50 years later the first railroad came to Newmarket, following the Holland River near Newmarket’s current Main Street.

Davis Drive played an important role in connecting Yonge Street to the railway and market near Main Street, and over time developed into a place of homes and businesses. In recent years, the Tom Taylor Trail has connected Newmarket with a beautiful place to bike and walk, including crossing under the Keith Bridge.

When the vivaNext project built the Keith Bridge as part of the Davis Drive rapidway, it was transformed from a utilitarian bridge going unnoticed by passersby, into an attractive landmark. It’s not just about appearance though. The Keith Bridge is wider, allowing for the new rapidway lanes and wider sidewalks for pedestrians. Construction also included improved utility lines under the bridge and of course the infrastructure itself, built to last for generations.

We hope that as everyone crosses, they’re reminded of the history of the river, the road and Newmarket. If you’re walking, be sure to stop and take a close look at the beautiful series of historical plaques along the bridge. As we celebrate Canada Day, it is wonderful to preserve a piece of history.