Toronto Railway trams on King Street in 1900.
The Toronto Railway Company streetcars were made of wood and after 1906 the basic design of their cars did not change. All but ten of the TRC cars were built in-house at their car works at Front and Frederick Streets.
Because of a narrow devilstrip (distance between tracks), later cars were built with a taper to the roof on the passing side, and car bodies were offset to the right by four inches. The idea was to build a wider car and still safely pass another car traveling in the opposite direction.
Very early on, in 1894 the TRC decided on single-end operation. Many of the early streetcars were ‘open’ cars, where one entered from either side of the car, but with single-ended operation, only the curb ‘near’ side of the car was left open. In other Canadian cities (e.g., London, Montreal), this form of open car became common. Open cars carried huge loads of people, because there were no aisles.
In warm weather, people loved open cars. When it rained, there were side curtains that one could unroll from the roof to keep one dry. When it was cold, open cars were not so attractive, so the TSR developed a ‘convertible car’ in which the nearside of the car could be removed in the spring, and re-connected in the fall, thus changing from an open car to a closed car.