Uncrowded Suburbs, 1904-07

AuthorC. Ian Kyer
   not yet fu lly assumed his role as the ch ampion of public
ownership, and the majority on city council had not yet come to see public
ownership as the way out of their problems with the Toronto Railway Com
to bring the TRC into line. They saw the problem as one of resolve; the failure
of the TRC to meet its contractual obligations seemed obvious to them. If
only the city council cou ld be motivated to drive forward with a legal as
sault on the TRC, it would win the decisive victory needed to end the City’s
preached this in hi s unsuccessful mayoralty campaign, and he a nd others
claimedthatthereneedbenofearastotheresult He assured the citize ns
certainly give the rel ief they so badly needed.
Theyear wason lyelevendays oldwhen theToronto Star reported
onanewa ldermanwhowasof asimilar viewOnitsfrontpaget hepaper
announced that there was anew champion in the lists against the street
railwayc ompany Earlier that day newly elected alderman, S Alfred Jones,
hadused hisrst city councilmeet ingto proposeseveralwaysfora civic
aackonthecompanyJoneswasplayingtothepressandhiscon stituents
when he gave notice that he intended to introduce a series of motions to
drivetheTRCintoprovidingbeerserviceInlightofthefactt hatTRChad
unfairlyandunjustlyenr ichedthemselves atthe expenseof thec itizens
he proposed that the city counci l reduce the transit fare to two cents from
itsc urrent vec ents until it obtained a certicate from the City engi neer
saying that service was adequate. In order to determine what was adequate,
he wanted the City engineer to report on t he advisability of laying down
additional track on various streets and on what number of passengers could
comfortably be accommodated on streetcars. Using this, he wanted the City
To make certain the TRC got the message that city council would not accept
inferior service, he went so far as to suggest that the City g ive sixteen years
advance notice that the transit franch ise would not be renewed. Finally, to
motivate his fellow council members to act, he called upon the provincia l
legislature to give private citizens the r ight to enforce the franchise ag ree
ment if the City did not do so.
Jones even challenged the management of the Toronto Electric Light
Company (TEC), which was not subject to City control at all. The TEC was
a separate company providing power to the TRC under contract. Neverthe
less, Jones was convinced that the TEC was acting inappropriately by selling
oelectricitytocompaniesotherth antheTRCpowerthatcouldbeusedto
improve service at the TRC. He wanted to know what quantity of electricity
was being sold by the TEC to other companies.
toknowt hatsomet hing hadtobedo netodevelopa beerwork ingrelat ion
shipwiththeCit yTheirdonationofanelephanttot hecityzooin had
obviouslynot earned them sucient goodwill Mackenz iebega nto th ink
that hiring a new general man ager might help. He appreciated Keating’s ten
acity and his ability to hold the li ne against the City’s threatened encroach
ments on the TRC’s freedom of operation, but Keating’s personality and
approach had done nothing to improve relations with the City or the general
publicMackenzie began tot hink that the manfor the job wasthe former
mayorandKeating supporterRJFlemingAs Mackenzie wellknewFlem
ing could be as tenacious as Keating, but he was more of a politician th an
inghadbeeneec tiverespecteda ndpopularEvenasassessmentcom mis
sionerhewas seena sa powerfulgur ein Citygovernment And he was
sai dto beaw iz ar dat jol lyi ng t hep ubl icMac ke nzi eap pro ach edhi man d
oer ed hi mamu lt iye arc ont rac tat  a yea r This was more than t wice
what Fleming was then earni ng with the City. Fleming was receptive for

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