There’s something deep in the woods off Kennaway Road near Haliburton.
It used to belong to the City of Toronto, but for some reason it’s now nestled among the bushes and ferns in cottage country, some 220 kilometres from the provincial capital.
“It’s just there; it’s like The Happening,” explains long-time resident Nancy Stinson. “Seriously, I don’t think anyone could tell you how it got there.”
“It’s been there for years and years. It was just part of the scenery; we used it for geocaching.”
The TTC streetcar dates back to at least the 1950s to 1960s, with some local residents saying it’s been back in the woods for at least half a century.
When you hop on the streetcar, you’ll find the floor is rotted away, the roof is missing, peat moss is taking over what used to be the rails and some graffiti markings say 1979.
“People come out and you get pictures with it and pictures of it and you climb all through it,” explains Alex Sisson, whose family roots in Haliburton Highlands run about as deep as the waterways.
“It’s a little bit decrepit at this point in time. There’s no floor in it but imagination sparks in everyone.”
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Last weekend, Toronto city councillor Josh Matlow discovered the abandoned streetcar and had to do a double take.
“Either it’s one of the Bombardier streetcars that Toronto is still owed or it’s the streetcar that everyone’s waiting for every single morning and it just isn’t coming but it’s out there in the woods of Haliburton and it’s a mystery,” explained Matlow.
“It’s a great connection between the heart of Toronto where we use streetcars and Haliburton and the regions around us that we love so much.”
A common story around town is that the streetcar was purchased and placed out along Kennaway Road by Scouts Canada in the 1950s, almost as a gateway marking for the Haliburton Reserve.
“Homing beacons is what they called them — to let the boys know and the families know that they were getting close to the reserve and this was the biggest and most obscure one that they could come across at the time,” explains Sisson, whose uncle told her he remembered seeing it when he was a 10-year-old boy.
Others appear to make up their own stories.
“It went off of one of the side streets in Toronto and ended up in Haliburton, and we’re not sure how it got up to Haliburton, but it happened one dark night and that’s just all the information we’ve got on it,” chuckles Manfred Zyghannopure, a local beekeeper with a stand at the farmer’s market.
“There is a reason, and I can’t discuss it.”
It’s hard to decipher what’s fact and fiction when it comes to this runaway streetcar, as it appears to be a well-kept secret among local residents who actually know about its existence.
One thing is for certain: it’s a little piece of Toronto’s history nestled in the woods.