Letter to W. Sargeant envelope

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Letter to W. Sargeant page 1

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GO transit timetable 1960s page 1

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GO transit timetable 1960s page 2

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GO transit timetable 1960s page 3

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GO transit timetable 1960s page 4

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GO transit timetable 1960s page 5

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GO 50th Anniversary

Now arriving 1960s

Post-war immigration to southern Ontario was booming. But more people meant more cars, and more cars meant more demand on congested highways in and around Toronto. The provincial government needed a way to get commuters out of their cars.

This launched a comprehensive transportation study of the Toronto area; the first of its kind in Canada.

1970s ⟶

A new approach to urban transportation

In May of 1965, the Government of Ontario gave the go-ahead to launch Canada's first specially-designed commuter rail service. The $9.2-million plan included 14 stations along 84km of Lake Ontario shoreline. See the letter that started it all.

View Letter

A visual connection

The logo, created by Montreal design firm Gagnon/Valkus Inc. in association with CN, is two wheels forming the letters 'G' and 'O' with the letter 'T' lying on its side. The letters stand for Government of Ontario Transit.

GO transit logo circa 1960s
GO Train circa 1960s

Arthur Lightbourn

With the goal of wooing drivers out of their cars and into GO Trains, the coaches were designed with comfort in mind.

The coaches were big enough to hold 125 passengers but only had seats for 94, to avoid the feeling of crowding. Designs included large windows, comfortable bucket seating, armrests and card tables.

Arthur Lightbourn

1967 1967

On May 23, 1967, Ontario's first interregional rail transit system was open for business. Single-deck push-pull coaches built by Hawker-Siddeley Canada transported passengers on the Lakeshore line between Pickering-Union-Oakville-Hamilton for free.
Ontario Premier John Robarts (holding paper in the photo, left) was on hand.

GO Milestone

GO had 32 coaches, eight GP 40 TC locomotives and eight cab cars. The inaugural train was Number 946 and left Oakville GO station at 5:50am heading eastbound toward Toronto.

Huge crowds and a crew of reporters and photographers attended the ceremonial opening. GO personnel and engineers worked around the clock in preparation.

Launched as a three-year experiment, GO proved itself much sooner by meeting its projected second-year passenger volume in just six months. GO Transit also ushered in a new era of signal technology with some of the continent's most advanced signal and control systems to date.

John Robarts riding on GO Train circa 1960s

Most of us realized at that moment that we had a winner.

I remember it well. It was 5:50 in the morning of May 23, 1967. The first GO Train leaving Oakville bound for Union Station. I was aboard with a few early-rising commuters and a goodly number of government and railway executives, suppliers, members of the press, and well-wishers.

I believe that most of us realized at that moment that we had a winner, but I do not think that any of us thought that, fifty years later, GO would have become one of the more successful stories in the history of public transportation.

—Bill Howard
First Managing Director of GO Transit (1967–1977)

GO recognized that public commitment to a commuter rail service demanded service beyond rush-hour operation. Passenger convenience was key to creating the schedule, and GO planners stated that trains would run at regular intervals, 18 hours per day, seven days a week, with extra trains for peak operations.

View Timetable

Unique ticket design

The GO fare tickets were unique in design and function. The two-part perforated tickets were colour-coded to identify origin and destination stations at a glance.

One portion was handed over at the start of the trip, and the second at the end. Customers themselves inserted the ticket into the fare box.

GO transit fare ticket circa 1960s
GO Train circa 1960s

In 1967, a one-way fare between Oakville and Union Station was 95¢. Fares were created to be competitive with the car.

Minimum Fare 42

Maximum Fare 2.00

Children 25

The minimum fare was 42 cents for trips between stations up to 12 miles apart; the maximum was $2.00 for the 95-kilometre trip between the two outer stations, Hamilton and Pickering. Children's fare was 25 cents (roughly the cost of a loaf of bread).

14 stations on 84km of track

The service ran on a single rail line along Lake Ontario's shoreline. All-day GO Train service ran from Oakville to Pickering with limited rush-hour service to Hamilton. Lakeshore GO Trains carried 2.5 million riders that first year and the service was considered a success.

GO Train circa 1960s

On May 2, 1967 the Toronto Maple Leafs won their 13th Stanley Cup in a best-of-seven series against the Montreal Canadiens. This was the last Stanley Cup Final in the Original Six Series.