Williams Omnibus Bus Line

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The first transit system in Toronto commenced in 1849, connecting St. Lawrence Market to the Red Lion Inn (shown above in 1886) in Yorkville.

Williams Omnibus Bus Lines was the first mass transportation system in the old City of Toronto, Canada with four six-passenger buses. Established in 1849 by local cabinetmaker Burt Williams, it consisted of horse-drawn stagecoaches operating from the St. Lawrence Market to the Red Lion Hotel in Yorkville. The bus line was a great success, and four larger vehicles were added in 1850. After a few years, even more buses were in use, and were operating every few minutes. In 1861, the city gave a 30-year franchise for to Toronto Street Railways who built a horse car line, and the gauge of the buses was modified so as to fit between the tracks. The bus system lasted only until 1862, when it was bought out by the TSR. The omnibuses were manufactured by Williams' own cabinet-making store on Yonge Street, H. Burt Williams.

Prior to Williams' operations, there were a variety of stagecoach operators in the city:


Product list and details
 Builder   Description   Fleet size   Year acquired   Year retired   Notes 
H. Burt Williams cabinet store, Toronto small omnibus (6 passenger stage coach) 4 1849 1862 horse drawn stagecoach
H. Burt Williams cabinet store, Toronto large omnibus 4 1850 1862 horse drawn stagecoach

See also[edit]

The companies and agencies that succeeded Williams:


Preceded by
Public Transit in Toronto
Succeeded by
Toronto Street Railways