Text and Photos by James Bow.
We have already shown pictures of the TTC PCC graveyard at Wychwood. Here, we saw pictures of PCC streetcars waiting to be scrapped. However, not all of these cars end up as recycled metal. Some are taken from the scrapyard and continue to stand, years later, as incongruous monuments to Toronto's PCC heritage. Farmers can use the car bodies as sheds, PCCs have appeared as boutiques, and it's even possible to eat inside a number of them.
This page describes some of the PCCs which have escaped the scrapyard and the lives they are living today.
Burger and Fries in a PCC
In the hamlet of Primrose, just east of the town of Shelbourne, is a diner called Super Burger. Located at the northwest corner of Highway 10 and Highway 89, the diner looks like any other diner... except that it has a PCC streetcar attached to it.
A lot of work has gone into incorporating former PCC 4341 into the diner structure. A glass passageway leads from the main building and into the front of the PCC. The PCC itself has been re-floored and has had its seating removed and diner chairs and tables put back in. Other than this, PCC 4341 retains most of its features. The windows are original, the advertising recalls the early 1980s, and the rear doors still open when you step down onto the treadle. The venue is quite popular with children.
To get to this unique diner, travel north on Highway 10 from Mississauga, past Orangeville towards Primrose and Shelbourne. Where Highway 10 meets Highway 89 and turns left, you will see the diner just left of the intersection, on the north side of Highway 89. You can also get there from Newmarket by travelling west along old Highway 9 towards the village of Orangeville. At Highway 10, turn right and head north towards Primrose and Shelbourne.
Super Burger makes nice char-broiled burgers, diner style fries and onion rings. For railfans, the venue may be worth an afternoon's outing.
Another PCC restaurant exists in Springville, New York, named "Streetcar Named Dessert". We do not yet have pictures of this restaurant, or directions on how to get there, but hope to find them soon.
The Boutique at Rutherford Road
What could be more ignominious than being abandoned? How about being abandoned twice? That's the fate of TTC PCC 4716 (ex-Birmingham 816).
The streetcar was sold complete, trucks and all, and moved to the north side of Dundas Street just west of Yonge during the late evening of July 15, 1973. Unoriginally, it was named Desire, was painted a brilliant red and opened as a boutique. On July 27, 1977 it was removed in preparation for the construction of the Atrium on Bay, and stored at an unknown location in Markham until 1981. Then it was sold again and moved to a lot at Birchmount and Steeles. In 1982, it was sold again and moved to a lot run by the owners of Shy-Low Farms on the west side of Warden Avenue just north of Steeles where it was used as a residence and office. It was repainted, poorly, in pseudo TTC colors but whether in 1981 or 1982 is unknown. The final journey took it to Bathurst and Rutherford in Thornhill (same ownership) in May, 1987 where it sits to this day.
Thanks to John Bromley and Matthew Biemiller for supplying us with pictures and information on PCC 4716.
Dale Laird was kind enough to send me two photographs of a Toronto PCC that ended up as far afield as a field in Perris, California. PCC 4460 was retired by the TTC in 1991 and kept in storage inside Russell Carhouse until it was purchased by one Ralph Cantos along with two others that almost went to San Francisco's Muni's F Line before San Francisco backed out of the deal. Car 4460 was stored temporarily beside an ex-CTA 'L' car which caught fire, causing minor damage to the PCC. Ralph looked into donating the PCC to streetcar museums in Vancouver and San Diego but the car is still in storage.
Side view shot of PCC 4460 in a field in Perris, California.
Matthew Biemiller discovered a class A-8 PCC masquerading as a diner in Perkinsfield, Ontario, near Georgian Bay. Unlike the diner in Primrose, this diner looked to be closed down and abandoned, so there's no chance of a meal, here, unfortunately...
A Streetcar Named Dessert
In Springville, NY, an establishment called 'A Streetcar Named Dessert' uses ex-TTC PCC 4434 to enhance its gimmick. According to Duane Fischer, "You will find it off West Main Street just behind the old Depot which is called Choo-Choo Gifts. Also you will find a neat ice cream place in the middle made out of an old caboose. The owner/operators are Leo nad Linda Lubke. Great people."
West Main Street is also Route 39 - head east from the 219 Expressway or 219 from the south ( turn right) slow down when you come to the railroad tracks and turn left into the Gift Shop (Depot).
- Partridge, Larry, Mind the Doors, Please, The Boston Mills Press, Erin (Ontario), 1983.