Canada’s first locomotive completed

On today’s date in 1853, Toronto Locomotive Works (TLW) completed the first steam locomotive ever built in Canada.

In 2000, the Royal Canadian Mint featured Canada’s first locomotive – known as the Toronto – on a $20 silver hologram coin as part of its Transportation series. The coin’s design features a hologram depicting the mode of transportation. The coin has a mintage of 44,367, a weight of 31.1 grams and a diameter of 38 mm.

On April 16, 1853, the TLW completed the first steam locomotive manufactured in Canada. Before this time, locomotives were imported from Europe or the U.S.; however, Canada would soon have something to call its own.

Without the tender, the Toronto’s engine weighed 29 tons and stretched 8 metres in length. While small by today’s standards, at the time the engine was considered gigantic. The Toronto was on public display on Queen Street for two days, before moving down to Front Street, where the closest railroad was located.

Temporary tracks were laid west on Queen Street and south on York Street, and the giant locomotive was slowly moved using crowbars, moving only inches at a time. The same tracks the Toronto passed over were then taken up and relaid in front of the engine. The laborious process took five days, but the engine finally arrived on April 26. The Toronto’s tender was moved separately on a horse-drawn float.

In 1881, the Toronto was scrapped. The last remnants of the TLW disappeared in 1909.

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