Today, people think nothing of getting to Toronto, either by using the 404 highway or Highway 48 through Markham. However, such ease of transportation was not always the case. Many people are aware that there were trains that used to serve Mount Albert in the early days of the settlement; but did you know that there was a bus line in Mount Albert as well? Read on to find out all about it!
Even in the early settler days of Mount Albert, getting to Toronto was important, as it related to your ability to efficiently sell your crops at the Toronto market. Gladys Rolling tells us in her history of East Gwillimbury in the 19th century that the first railroad was built through Mount Albert in 1877, which was a branch of the Grand Trunk Railroad line connecting Toronto to Jackson’s Point near Lake Simcoe. In 1905, another train line was built; the Canadian Northern Transcontinental line was “built to the west of the Village, giving Mount Albert two railway stations.” But by the 1920’s the automobile had been introduced and people were using the trains less; in 1925, the trains stopped running to the Mount Albert station, and the rails and stations were removed from that location a few years later.
For many years, Mount Albert was somewhat isolated since there was only one railway line offering sporadic service to Toronto. But in 1945, a new bus service was started offering more consistent service from Mount Albert to Toronto. It was known as the Hollinger Bus Line, and it offered two trips to Toronto per day. This service was made after several petitions were circulated in the community calling for its creation, with “11 petitions carrying a total of 1,405 names.” The bus would leave every weekday at 7 AM from Mount Albert and get into the bus station at Bay and Dundas at 8:45 AM; it would then go back up north at 5:30 PM and return to Mount Albert at 7:15 PM. A one-way adult ticket would cost $1.20, with an extra $1 charged for a return ticket; a twelve pack of tickets would run you a grand total of $8.00.
Figure 1: A booklet from 1945 showing the Hollinger bus line time table, with contact information on the front cover.
Unfortunately, after a few years, this bus service was discontinued, and then bought by the Grey Coach Bus lines. The difference with this bus line is that it would only make one trip per day instead of two. It would leave at 6:45 in the morning, and then return at 7:15 in the evening. On April 1st, 1957, another bus line was created which was known as the Newmarket Bus Line; it started a daily service to Toronto, which would also leave in the morning and return in the evening.
Do you have any memories of riding the Hollinger Bus, or the Gray Coach line buses? Please let us know in the comments section below!
 Rolling, Gladys M., (1967). “East Gwillimbury in the 19th Century: A Centennial History of the Township of East Gwillimbury.” Toronto, ON: The Ryerson Press. 139.  Starr, Mrs. E.M. (1945, September 13th) “Mount Albert – City Bus Service Given Inaugural Try-Out”. In the Newmarket Era, No. 33, Page 1. Retrieved from https://news.ourontario.ca/newmarket/116062/page/2