The Final Stop

The first day that I set foot on the streets of Toronto was on March 10, 1975. That day was also the first time I saw this strange looking red monster travelling on King Street West. It was heavy. It shook up the sidewalk when it passed by. There was a pole projecting from its roof and in contact with an overhead electric cable. They called it TTC Streetcar and was also affectionately known to Toronto passengers as The Red Rocket. I was amazed. There was not anything like it where I came from.

Just like most of the new immigrants, I rode The Red Rocket to move around the city. And for someone like myself who came from a tropical country, I depended on it during the freezing months of winter in Toronto. I used the transit system in hunting for a job. Little did I know that one day, I would be working for the Toronto Transit Commission.

It was in the late autumn, on October 25, 1976 when it happened. I was young when I entered the building of Harvey Shops. It was called Hillcrest Shops then. It was there within the walls of Harvey where I spent most of the next 25 years of my life. It was also there where I matured and interacted with some of the very gifted and talented workers from different corners of the world. We were all foreign to the city but we also shared a common ground. We all worked for TTC, which was the main source of our livelihood.

On May 13, 2002 the wind direction had shifted towards east. I left my union brothers and sisters in Harvey Shops and continued my services to TTC at McCowan Carhouse, where I completed the remaining years culminating to my retirement.

Over 31 years had been a very long and tiring journey. Every stop was a prelude to the next. It seemed to be a never-ending road. But today March 8, 2008 is a day of giving thanks to our Lord. I eventually reached the final stop_my hard earned destination. It is here where I get off. To all my friends who remained, hang on tight for the ride. You too will get there. And when you do, I will be at the other end to welcome you.

Looking back, did I make a difference in TTC? Probably not. But no matter how I look at it, TTC had been a part of my life. My three daughters grew up knowing that their father worked for TTC. My first grandchild will also hear about it. And someday many years from now, around the coffee table, my future grandchildren would look at the old photographs of the three TTC streetcars which were specially painted to represent Toronto’s Sesquicentennial and Ontario’s Bicentennial joint celebration. In disbelief they would ask: “Our grandfather painted these streetcars?” And yes, even in the slightest thought of it, no matter how insignificant it maybe to others, it brings me a sense of pride that at one time my work was attached to the three streetcars that were seen by the city of Toronto.

The Final Stop


Toronto, Canada

  • Artist

Artist's Description

My retirement from Toronto Transit Commission



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