Car Number 58 of the Niagara, St.Catharines and Toronto Railway


From the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway to the St. Catharines Transit Commission.

The world’s first…

Public transit came to St. Catharines on November 1, 1879 with the inauguration of the St. Catharines Street Railway. The system became the world’s first commercial electric railway.

In 1899 the Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway (N.S.& T.) purchased the system. Canadian National Railways took over the N.S.& T. in 1923, and for the next 25 years St. Catharines was in the unique position of having a multimodal transit system with direct rail and bus routes to nearby towns and cities, direct connections to steamships and major North American railways. Of historical significance is the fact that the last interurban electric streetcar movement in Canada took place in 1959 between Thorold and Port Colborne. By this time Canadian National buses had replaced streetcars on all other routes.

Canadian National exercised a notice of final discontinuance of their transit bus operation in August 1960 and by September 1961 the St. Catharines Transit Commission was formed, with Commissioners appointed by city council. The fleet started out with 35 buses and a maintenance garage. In the intervening decades, routes were expanded and eventually the Commission outgrew its first home on the eastern edge of the city on the Southeast corner of Bunting Road at Eastchester Avenue.

A new state of the art transit headquarters and maintenance garage was opened on First Street Louth in 1991. As of 2013 there are 20 bus routes with all buses being fully accessible, and 135 employees with 66 conventional buses and 8 paratransit buses.

A modern downtown terminal was opened in December of 1996. A hub for city and intercity routes, the passenger terminal is located within the first floor of the provincial Ministry of Transportation building on the corner of St. Paul Street and Carlisle Street.

Early Niagara, St. Catharines & Toronto Railway
Major Interurban Routes


Inauguration of the St. Catharines Street Railway.


Canadian National Railway takes over the N.S. & T.


St. Catharines Transit Commission was formed.


Modern downtown terminal is opened.

The Niagara, St. Catharines and Toronto Railway

St. Catharines Transit Commission

Looking for more information?

We offer information in a number of accessible formats. Please contact us if you need any help.