Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services

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Ontario Northland
Motor Coach Services
Ontario Northland logo.svg
Ontario Northland 5041.jpg
Ontario Northland bus departing from the Toronto Coach Terminal
Parent Ontario Northland Transportation Commission
Founded 1937 (Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway bus operations)
Headquarters 555 Oak Street East, North Bay
Service area Hearst to Toronto, via Sudbury and North Bay[1]
Service type scheduled coach service, bus charter and bus parcel express
Routes 4 regular
3 shuttle
Fleet 23 (2003)[1]
Website ontarionorthland.ca

Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services is an intercity bus service operated by the Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a Crown agency of the government of Ontario, Canada.

Coach service began in 1937 following the amendments to the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway Act that allowed the then Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway to operate buses in Northern Ontario.

Ontario Northland Motor Coach Services operates passenger and parcel transportation service between Toronto (from the Toronto Coach Terminal and Yorkdale Bus Terminal) and locations in Central and Northern Ontario.

There are two scheduled routes running North-South between Toronto and Hearst; the Highway 11 corridor, through North Bay and Cochrane, and the Highway 400/69/144 corridor, through Parry Sound, Sudbury and Timmins. There are also routes running East-West between Sudbury and Ottawa and between White River and North Bay.[2]

All buses have complimentary WiFi for passengers which is available wherever a cellphone signal exists. There are scheduled rest stops for passengers every hour and a half or so.

The bus service was suspended when a drivers' strike began on September 29, 2007.[3] The strike left the train as the only public transportation available for many communities; bus service did not resume until December 11, 2007.


In 2012 the provincial government announced the divestment of the crown corporation citing it could no longer subsidize the money-losing operation. The government then cancelled the Northlander passenger train service from Toronto to Cochrane. Then premier Dalton McGuinty vowed to keep the coaches running after the Crown agency is sold off (the number of coaches in service has increased to compensate for the lack of the passenger train service) to continue to provide transit to rural Northern Ontario.[4]


Northern Ontario municipal leaders had continued to express their fears regarding the divestment. They indicated that the ONR provides a fundamental link to many remote and rural communities and provides freight transport to many companies, including mining and forestry, allowing them to thrive. They indicate that the government maintained its funding to the GO Transit network in Southern Ontario and it is important not forget about the important service the ONR provides to Northern Ontario residents.[4] February 2014, the new premier of Ontario Kathleen Wynne met with northern community leaders and the head of the company and union to discuss the future of the company. They decided the union and management would present a reconstruction plan to the government for consideration.[5]

In late February 2014, a report to restructure the ONTC was delivered to the Minister of Northern Development and Mines. The proposal detailed how the organization could be modernized both culturally and in job reductions through attrition. The report was well received by the minister who appreciated how management and labour come together to explore options for the corporation.[6]

In April 2014, the provincial government concluded the company would remain in public hands. However, Ontera (its telecommunication division) was sold off to Bell Aliant. The government reinvested in the company to purchase new coaches and refurbish rolling stock for the Polar Bear Express. This decision was supported by other members of Provincial Parliament after the auditor general's review cited that it would have cost the taxpayer $820 million instead of saving $265.9 million over three years had the divestment proceeded.[7][8]

As per recent restructuring efforts, the ONTC closed the bus station in Englehart and Matheson which were replaced by an agency (as in other smaller locations) and with online solutions such as e-ticketing. New Liskeard, Kirkland Lake and Sudbury also had their hours reduced and will be closed on weekends (instead functioning as stops). The bus schedules themselves are not affected.[9]

In January 2016, the ONTC announced a route running East-West, between Sudbury and Ottawa (Eastbound - Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and Westbound - Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays).[10] While historically serviced by Greyhound, that company recently reduced its service along this corridor with only a night bus remaining.[11] In this case Ontario Northland has provided daytime service with a bus leaving Ottawa at 7 AM and from Sudbury at 2:05 PM. This marked the first time in the company's history that they have serviced Highway 17.[12]

As of January 2018, new funding from the provincial government allowed for further expansion Westward covering an additional 750 km and 20 communities West of Sudbury to White River.[13][14]

Feasibility studies underway to determine whether service expansion would include other communities currently not serviced including Hornepayne[15] and servicing a number of communities on Manitoulin Island[16]. Based on these studies, Ontario Northland initiated weekday bus service to Manitoulin Island including 15 different stops.[17]


Coaches stop at the following stations. Additional flag stops are available along each route.

Route 1:

Route 2:

Route 3 (East-West)

Ontario Northland also operates three shuttle routes connecting to the Northlander and the Polar Bear Express.

Northlander Shuttle (southern route):

Northlander Shuttle (northern route):

Polar Bear Express Shuttle:


In 1991, ONR acquired some buses from the sale of Gray Coach by Stagecoach Group.

A list of current and retired buses operated by Ontario Northland:


  • 4 MCI D4505 - 4 active
  • 20 Prevost X3-45 - 3 newly acquired


  • MCI 102DL-3 - 1 sold
  • MCI 102D3
  • MCI 102C3
  • MCI 102A3 - acquired from Gray Coach
  • MCI 102A2
  • MCI 102-AW3 - wheelchair assessible with lift
  • MCI MC9 - a few acquired from Gray Coach
  • MCI MC8
  • MCI MC7
  • MCI MC5A
  • MCI MC5B
  • CC&F/Brill IC-41
  • CC&F CD-36A
  • Dodge B-322

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b ONTC 2003 Annual Report
  2. ^ Ontario Northland, Motor Coach Services, Route Map
  3. ^ Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (2007-10-13). "Ontario Northland bus talks break off". Retrieved 2007-12-11. 
  4. ^ a b Maria Babbage (2012-06-23). "McGuinty promises to keep buses running after Ontario Northland selloff". Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Kathleen Wynne encourages ONTC, union to work on business plan". CBC. 2014-02-06. Retrieved 2014-05-07. 
  6. ^ "Ontario Northland restructuring plan in minister's hands". Northern Ontario Business. 2014-02-28. Retrieved 2014-03-07. 
  7. ^ Ross, Ian. "Ontario Government will keep Ontario Northland". Northern Ontario Business. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  8. ^ Wilson, PJ. "ONTC divisions to remain public". The Nugget. Retrieved 2014-04-05. 
  9. ^ "Ontario Northland to close Englehard, Matheson bus stations". cbc.ca. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2015-02-18. 
  10. ^ "Ontario Northland adds Sudbury run". The Sudbury Star. 17 January 2016. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  11. ^ "Greyhound to make major cuts to service in Sudbury". Northern Life. 28 August 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2016. 
  12. ^ "ONTC adds new bus routes along Hwy 17, starting this week". CBC News. 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2016-01-20. 
  13. ^ "Ontario Northland expanding service area". CBC News. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  14. ^ "New Bus SErvice Between North Bay and White River". Ontario Northland. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  15. ^ {{cite news|title=Ontario Northland adds more bus routes|url=http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/sudbury/ontc-adds-northern-routes-1.4428509%7Caccessdate=2018-03-10%7Cpublisher=CBC News|2017-12-01
  16. ^ Robin Buridge (2018-02-07). "Ontario Northland takes inaugural Manitoulin bus trip". Retrieved 2018-03-10. 
  17. ^ "Ontario Northland to launch Manitoulin bus service". Northern Ontario Business. Retrieved 6 April 2018. 

External links[edit]