On today’s date in 1968, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) officially opened its Bloor-Danforth subway extension, which included new tracks running west to Islington Station and east to Warden Station.
Two years earlier, on Feb. 26, 1966, the TTC opened the original Bloor-Danforth Subway from Keele Station to Woodbine Station. This original “Line 2” had 20 subway stations across nearly 13 kilometres of track, and an estimated 500,000 people rode the line on its first day.
On May 11, 1968, the line was extended in both directions to bring rapid transit to Scarborough and Etobicoke. A little more than a decade later, both Kipling Station and Kennedy Station opened.
Throughout its more than 60 years in service, the TTC has accepted various tokens as fare.
Before the subway line opened its doors on today’s date in 1954, all TTC tokens were issued in brass; however, these brass tokens were soon replaced with light-weight aluminum tokens struck by the Royal Canadian Mint. The new tokens would feature the word “SUBWAY” on both sides, surrounded by the words “TORONTO TRANSIT COMMISSION” on the obverse and “GOOD FOR ONE FARE” on the reverse.
By 1966, another token, this made of brass, was introduced for single sales. The original design was updated to depict the TTC crest on the obverse and the TTC logo on the reverse.
In 1975, new aluminum tokens were again introduced, and these tokens featured a design similar to the 1966 brass tokens. The tokens struck in 1954 and 1975 remained in circulation until February 2007, when the remaining 30 million pieces were withdrawn due to increased counterfeiting.
A year earlier, the TTC issued a replacement for withdrawn tokens. These bi-metallic tokens were heavier and featured more anti-counterfeiting measures. A total of 20 million tokens were ordered in 2006 and again in 2008.
In June 2018, TTC officials announced tokens and other legacy fare media would be fully phased out by the end of 2019 – two years later than planned – however, these plans fell by the wayside last spring, and tokens were still being accepted by the transit service as recently as this spring.
In mid-March, the TTC stopped accepting tokens, cash or tickets for fare payment on its buses due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly all – 93 per cent – TTC trips are paid for by Presto products, which includes Presto fare cards, monthly passes, tickets and 12-month passes, according to a recent report by CBC News.