Many childhood trips downtown were with my maternal grandfather. We'd take the 112 West Mall bus to Kipling station, take the subway to Spadina station, and then head south on the 77 Spadina bus to the Dragon City Mall at the south-west corner of Spadina and Dundas.
After the previously scheduled engagement at the mall, and usually after a stroll through Chinatown, one less used way of getting home was the 505 Dundas streetcar. As a suburbanite, streetcars were something of a novelty and any opportunity to ride the rails was, and continues to be, a treat.
One time we may have gone east to Broadview station, just to ride the subway to Kennedy station before heading back west. But most of the time we rode the streetcar to Dundas West station, and from there the subway to Kipling or Islington station.
As my maternal grandfather and I did so many times in my childhood, we'd ride the subway from Kipling station to Spadina station, before heading south on the 77 Spadina bus to the Dragon City Mall at the south-west corner of Spadina and Dundas.
Dundas on the southbound 77 was like Dufferin on the westbound Bloor-Danforth: everybody got off there, adding to the throngs already bandying about Chinatown
The 77 ride always seemed disproportionately long. The packed-in passengers, lack of air conditioning, each bump and swerve, the roar of the diesel engine, all would have been felt more keenly by a child. By comparison, the later 510 Spadina streetcar is merely crowded.
St. George #6 is labelled not only with the station name, but with the station entrance as well. James Bow passed along some thoughts on these secondary entrance transfers in an email.
I've wondered a lot about those secondary transfers, why some stations had them and others didn't. The best theory we could come up with was that they were installed in situations where one might enter a subway station from a secondary entrance, walk through the station, and then transfer to a connecting bus or streetcar route from the main entrance. For instance, you'd enter the subway from the Sherbourne-Glen Road entrance, walk along the Sherbourne platform, and use that transfer to board the 75 Sherbourne bus. I think that theory works in most cases, but not all, and it doesn't explain why some stations have secondary entrances but no special transfers (like High Park).
A long while back, my father took me to a few concerts by the Toronto Philharmonic Orchestra at the Music Hall on Danforth Avenue. This was one of the few times I had cause to ride the subway past Bloor-Yonge and over the Prince Edward Viaduct. We'd leave the car at Islington station, get off at Broadview and walk the rest of the short distance.
I recall I wasn't thrilled about going to those concerts. I had much less tolerance for staying out very late those days, and was no more thrilled at the need to "dress up" than I am now.
I only remember visiting Kennedy once as a child before the transfer design changed in the mid-1990s. One time after going to the Dragon City Mall at Spadina and Dundas with my grandfather, we took a more round about route of going home to Etobicoke. Instead of heading back west immediately, we went east to Kennedy. There we relocated to the new front (formerly the back) of the train.
While I did not get any transfers from the stop, the train operator made the layover a pleasantly atypical just the same. While waiting for the next train to arrive, the operator invited me to examine the operator's cab, and slyly suggested that I press a certain button on the console. And so it was that I joined the ranks of delighted children who have honked the horn of a subway train!