54 Lawrence East

Compiled by Jeffrey Kay
Originally published in Transfer Points, March 2005. Updated for Transit Toronto
Map by John Calnan

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See Also

As the city grows in the years after World War II, the township (later borough) of Scarborough became a bedroom community for many people who worked in Toronto. Transit service was extended north from The Danforth to serve the newly urbanized districts. Some of these routes operated for a short distance along Lawrence Avenue East. By 1963 TTC buses from five routes ran on parts of Lawrence Avenue East between Leslie and Orton Park. These routes were 25 DON MILLS, 70 O’CONNOR, 23 DAWES, 17 BIRCHMOUNT and 15 BRIMLEY. Finally, in the fall of 1963, when suburban routes underwent a major re-structuring, a new through service was introduced on Lawrence East in the form of the new 54-LAWRENCE EAST route. This article details the development of route 54 from its inauguration to the present day.

Today, with just under a 54 kilometres round trip, the 54A branch between Eglinton Station and Starspray is the longest TTC route that operates seven days a week, inside the City of Toronto There are a couple longer routes that are extended into York Region, but they only operate during limited hours.

September 1, 1963

Service begins on a new route offering through service along Lawrence Avenue East as part of a major reorganization of suburban bus routes. 54 LAWRENCE EAST operates from the corner of Yonge and Eglinton via east on Eglinton, north on Leslie and east on Lawrence to beyond Markham Road, looping via north on Orton Park, west on Brimorton and south on Scarborough Golf Club Road. Buses operate seven days a week, eighteen hours a day.

A second branch, serving the community of Churchill Heights, operates from Eglinton and Yonge over the normal route to Bellamy before operating north on Bellamy, east on Painted Post, west on Brimorton, south on Markham Road and returning west on Painted Post and then south on Bellamy over the regular route back to Yonge. Service operates during the daytime, Mondays through Saturdays.

At Eglinton and Yonge, there is not enough platform space at Eglinton station on the YONGE SUBWAY, so incoming buses loop via south on Holley, west on Soudan and north on Yonge. Transfers are required between LAWRENCE EAST buses and other services at Eglinton station.

Buses operate out of Birchmount Garage. Service operates through fare zones one and two, with the zone boundary on Leslie Street, just north of Eglinton, at the Columbia Records building.

LAWRENCE EAST

54

ORTON PARK
S U B W A Y

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54A

CHURCHILL HTS
S U B W A Y

Monday to Saturday, daytime

December 15, 1963

Following the construction of three additional bus bays at Eglinton station (platforms 11, 12 and 13 and a subsequent reorganization of bus bay assignments), 54 LAWRENCE EAST buses now enter Eglinton station instead of using the on-street loop at Yonge. Buses run on Eglinton to just past Yonge, then through Bay #3, leaving the station through the east exit, returning north on Yonge and east on Eglinton.

September 8, 1964

The Churchill Heights loop is expanded, with buses now operating east on Painted Post beyond Brimorton, then north on Scarborough Golf Club Road, west on Ellesmere, and south on Markham Road to Painted Post.

By this date, rush hour buses were operating express on Eglinton Avenue between Eglinton Station and Leslie with intermediate stops at Mount Pleasant, Bayview, Laird and Brentcliffe. This service was not running in September 1963 when the route was inaugurated, but the exact start date is not known.

August 19, 1966

The Churchill Heights branch is discontinued, replaced by an extended branch of the 86 SCARBORO route. A new branch extends service east on Lawrence beyond Morningside, looping via south on Beechgrove, west on Coronation and north on Manse. A new short turn service is established between Eglinton Station and McCowan Road, looping via south on Valparaiso, east on Hollyhedge and north on McCowan.

LAWRENCE EAST

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54A

BEECHGROVE
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

LAWRENCE EAST

54B

McCOWAN
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

October 31, 1966

The peak period short turn service is extended east on Lawrence to Markham Road, looping via north on Markham, then east and south on Greenholm Circuit.

LAWRENCE EAST

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54A

BEECHGROVE
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

LAWRENCE EAST

54B

MARKHAM RD
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

October 2, 1967

Evening and Saturday service is added to the Beechgrove branch. Buses now loop at Beechgrove counterclockwise in the morning and early afternoon. Service operates clockwise after 4 p.m. until the end of evening service. No change in destination signs.

May 10, 1968

The last day of operation for the Markham Road short turn service. All buses now operate to either Orton Park or Beechgrove.

April 17, 1972

The Eglinton rush hour express feature is eliminated from this route. A bus lane opens on Eglinton East, allowing all buses to speed up on their way too and from Eglinton station.

January 2, 1973

Service is extended east on Lawrence beyond Beechgrove to an off-street loop serving Rouge Hill GO station beyond Port Union Road. Service on Beechgrove, Coronation and Manse is replaced by a branch of the 86 SCARBORO route.

LAWRENCE EAST

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54A

PORT UNION RD
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Saturday, 18 hours a day

January 21, 1973

The two zone fare system within Metropolitan Toronto is eliminated, and 54 LAWRENCE EAST passengers no longer have to pay a second fare when crossing the zone boundary on Leslie Street north of Eglinton.

July 22, 1973

Sunday and holiday service is added to the Port Union (54A) branch.

January 2, 1974

Service is extended on a new branch east to serve the growing Rouge Hill neighbourhood. Buses run east on Lawrence, then north on East Avenue and west on Island Road to an off-street loop near Port Union, returning over the reverse route. Buses operate Mondays to Saturdays during the day, replacing the 54A Port Union branch during those times.

LAWRENCE EAST

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54A

PORT UNION RD
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Saturday, evenings
Sunday and holidays, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE EAST

54C

ROUGE HILL
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Saturday, daytime

September 4, 1974

At all times except early Saturday mornings, the Rouge Hill 54C extension is replaced by the new 13 ROUGE HILL route. Trips that ran to the loop on Island Road now turn back at Port Union Road.

December 6, 1976

A new permanent TTC loop is established at Rouge Hill GO station, and buses are extended to serve it.

March 23, 1985

Coincident with the opening of the SCARBOROUGH RT, all buses in both direction begin serving the bus terminal at Lawrence East station, located beneath Lawrence Avenue East, between Kennedy and Midland.

March 16, 1987

A new afternoon peak period short turn service is established over the busiest portion of the route (between Don Mills and Morningside). In the west end, buses loop via south, west and north on the Donway on the south side of Lawrence Avenue. In the east, buses loop via north on Morningside and southwest on Kingston Road.

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54A

PORT UNION RD
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Saturdays

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54C

ROUGE HILL
EGLINTON STN

Early morning Saturdays, only

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54D

MORNINGSIDE
DON MILLS

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

July 27, 1987 (or late June 1987?)

Some Port Union trips are extended further east on Lawrence to a new off-street loop on the north side of the street near Starspray Boulevard.

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54A

PORT UNION RD
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Saturdays

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54C

ROUGE HILL
EGLINTON STN

Early morning Saturdays, only

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54D

MORNINGSIDE
DON MILLS

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54E

STARSPRAY
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

September 4, 1988 (or earlier)

54A route signs are officially changed to read “ROUGE HILL GO STN” instead of “PORT UNION RD”

February 3, 1989

The afternoon peak period short turn service between Morningside and Don Mills is discontinued.

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54A

PORT UNION RD
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day
Except early morning Saturdays

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54C

ROUGE HILL
EGLINTON STN

Early morning Saturdays, only

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54E

STARSPRAY
EGLINTON STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours and midday

January 8, 1990

Weekday evening and Saturday daytime and evening service (from 10 a.m. until after midnight) added to the 54E Starspray branch. Saturday morning service continues on the 54C Rouge Hill branch.

July 22, 1990

Sunday service is added to the Starspray branch. And all peak period trips that previously turned back at Rouge Hill GO station are extended to Starspray, effectively discontinuing the 54A branch.

January 20, 1991

The looping arrangement at Orton Park is revised. Before 3 p.m., buses operate via north on Golf Club Road, east on Brimorton and south on Orton Park. After 3 p.m., this looping is reversed.

February 23, 1991

New Saturday morning service on 13 ROUGE HILL replaces the 54C branch. All 54C buses now operate to Starspray on the 54E route.

May 10, 1992

A new peak period service is introduced between Lawrence East RT station and Morningside, looping in the east end via north on Morningside and southwest on Kingston Road. This loop was later revised to operate via north on Morningside, east on Kingston Road and south on Collingsgrove.

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54

ORTON PARK
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54B

MORNINGSIDE
LAWRENCE EAST STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

LAWRENCE
E A S T

54E

STARSPRAY
EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

January 3, 1993

Operation of this route is now shared between Birchmount Garage and Eglinton Garage at Eglinton station. This is the day that Davenport Garage closed and the base for many routes was changed.

September 6, 1994

The peak period branch operating east from Lawrence East Station is revised, and the service is reorganized. In the morning peak, the new express buses operate local from Starspray to Markham Road and then express to Lawrence East Station, stopping at McCowan only. They return east out of service. In the afternoon peak, buses operate express eastbound and out of service west bound. This express service is redesignated 54E, as part of a system-wide shift of using E and F letters for express branches. Buses on the normal Starspray-Eglinton station service are redesignated 54A.

EASTBOUND

 

WESTBOUND

54

LAWRENCE EAST

 

54

LAWRENCE EAST

TO ORTON PARK

TO EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

54A

LAWRENCE EAST

 

 

 

TO STARSPRAY BLVD.

 

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

54E

LAWRENCE EAST

 

54E

LAWRENCE EAST

E X P R E S S
TO STARSPRAY BLVD

E X P R E S S
TO LAWRENCE EAST RT STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only
(Westbound only mornings, eastbound only afternoons)

February 18, 1996

Operation of this route is now shared between Malvern Garage and Eglinton Garage at Eglinton station. On this day, Lansdowne Garage closed, resulting in the alteration of many route assignments. With this change 33 years of operation of this route from Birchmount Garage ends.

Also on this date, morning 54E buses provide local service eastbound from Lawrence East station to Starspray.

May 4, 1998

During the morning peak period, eastbound 54E buses operate local from Lawrence East station to Morningside only and then run non-stop to Starspray (this pattern of operation may have started at an earlier day, but the wording of this operation was clarified on TTC routing sheets effective this date).

June 12, 2000

Two new westbound stops are added during the morning rush hour on the 54E express service. Buses now stop at Rushley Drive and at Midland Avenue. These stops were in operation since at least February 2000 but only became official as of this date. Afternoon buses continue to deadhead on their westbound trips for a short period of time but at a later (unknown) date, buses were scheduled to be in service in their “off peak” direction in both peaks.

March 31, 2002

The old Eglinton Garage at Yonge Street is closed and operation is shifted to the new Eglinton Garage on Comstock Road. Some buses continue to operate out of Malvern Garage.

March 1, 2004

The original bus terminal at Eglinton station is closed and a ‘temporary’ bus terminal is opened at the south end of the old Eglinton bus garage. 54 LAWRENCE EAST buses enter and leave through the new terminal via south on Duplex, one block west from Yonge Street.

February 17, 2008

Service is made accessible with all trips operated using Orion VII low-floor buses.

November 23, 2008

The route is now operated exclusively from Eglinton Garage on Comstock Road. On this day Mount Dennis Garage opened, affecting the base service of many routes through the system.

May 25, 2009

Buses on this route are equipped with bike racks.

June 22, 2014

As part of a system-wide revamp of the TTC’s route branch designation system, all eastbound 54 LAWRENCE EAST “Orton Park” buses are redesignated 54B. All westbound buses to Eglinton Station continue to show just “54”.

EASTBOUND

 

WESTBOUND

 

 

 

54

LAWRENCE EAST

 

TO EGLINTON STN

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

54A

LAWRENCE EAST

 

 

 

TO STARSPRAY BLVD.

 

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

54B

LAWRENCE EAST

 

 

 

TO ORTON PARK

 

7 days a week, 18 hours a day

54E

LAWRENCE EAST

 

54E

LAWRENCE EAST

E X P R E S S
TO STARSPRAY BLVD

E X P R E S S
TO LAWRENCE EAST RT STN

Monday to Friday, rush hours only

October 11, 2015

Additional service is added early Saturday mornings, late Saturday evenings and during the late evenings on Sundays and holidays to ensure that service operates at ten minute intervals or better between Eglinton station and Orton Park whenever the subway is open.


54 Lawrence East Image Archive