A New Battleground, 1907-11

AuthorC. Ian Kyer
preparing its appeal to the Privy Council in the omn ibus
relating to the removal of snow and ice, one of the last vestiges of the days of
eectivecompromis eThetermsperm iedeitherparty tobringthear
rangementtoanendonthirt ydayswriennoticesolongasthenoticewas
givenbefore therst dayof NovemberIn OctoberGeneral Manager
Fleming wroteto MayorCoatsworth giving formal noticeof the cancella
tionWhetherthiswasbecause oftheongoinglegalbalesorinr esponseto
thecity councilsipopontheproposedloops onecannotbe sureWhat
is known is that it was not well received by the City.
Now in addition to its Privy Council appeal, the City solicitors began to
put together an application for an order restraining the Company from de
positing ice and snow upon the streets without its perm ission. That applica
tionhoweverwasnotapetitiontoOnta rioscourtsInsteadon January
itwasbroughtto therecentlyc reatedOntarioRai lwayandMunicipal
BoardORM B It would not, however, be heard until the next spring.
The board that heard the application was the brainch ild of James Whitney’s
Conservative government. It was their fond hope that the new board would
alleviatetheconstantcourt balesbetween municipalities andthei rstreet
railways, which often made their way to the politicians at Queen’s Park. It was
could bring expertise, exper ience, and a consistent approach to such issues
asthelocationoflinestheseingoffarest helevelsofserviceandthelike
The enabling legislationwaspassedinMayinconjunctionwithanew
OntarioR ailwayAct making it clear that it was primarily the railway juris
diction that motivated the government to create the board. Nevertheless, the
board was given jurisdiction to deal with ot her public utilities as well as a
supervisory review of municipal debt.
Fortheremainingfteenyearsofthetransitfranchi setheORMBwould
play an increasingly important role as arbiter of the disputes between t he
City and the TRC. It consisted of a chairma n, James Leitch, KC, and two
other members Andrew Ingram and Henr y Norman Kison who could
call upon a board secretar y and a railway expert, known as the inspect ing
engineer. Leitch was a practising Cornwall lawyer with municipal govern
ment experience, including several terms as Cornwall’s mayor. Ingram was
a former railway engineer turned politic ian who, when appointed, was sit
tingas theMember ofParliamentforEa stElginhe wouldsoonr esignhis
sea t).Kisona grocerfrom Hamiltonwas asuccessfulbu sinessmanwho
TheORMBs etupocesinthe LegislativeBui ldingatQueensPark Al
though it was intended to keep these issues out of the trial cour ts, the board
from the beginn ing adopted a courtlike approachIt heard applications
madebyi nterestedparties tookevidencet hroughexamin ationandc ross
examination of witnesse s, and decided cases based on the evidence before it.
OnApri ltheboardhear dtheCitysargu mentsonthe meaningt o
be given to the sections of the orig inal agreement dealing with snow remov
alBot hparties renewed thearg umentsthatthey hadmade in thes
The City contended that the reference to the tak ing away and depositing of
snow was intended to prevent the TRC spreading it on the adjoining por
tions of the road beside its tracks, as the TRC was doing using its electric
sweeper. The Company took the view that these clauses meant that if less
than six inches of snow fell, t he Company was to spread it evenly over the
road to facilitate the sleighs that many people still used to get about in w in
ter. If, however, more than six inches fell and if t he City engineer so directed,
the TRC was to remove the snow and deposit it at a point chosen by the City
On April t he board dismissed the Cit ysapplication for an injunc
tionIn explainingtheir decisiontheORMBstressedt hatthemeani ngthe
City was proposing was impractical and unreas onable. They noted that the
principalreason thattheseprovisions hadbeenincludedin theagree

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