Academy Road Service
September 26, 2016
Originally, Academy Road was a streetcar route linking River Heights to downtown. Ridership peaked in 1920 when the system carried 65.2 million passengers. Passenger traffic steadily declined after 1920 due to the Depression and World War ll, but especially owing to the growth in automobile use.
Turn-of-the-century motorists, few in number, searched for gasoline at hardware, grocery, feed and even drop stores. By 1910, underground gasoline storage with hand-operated pumps and hoses was developed, although curtsied pumps only added to the congestion of city streets as cars vied for space with horse-drawn vehicles and streetcars. Filling stations with off-street pumps became common and by 1915, oil companies were advertising “branded” gasoline. The companies competed for sites to develop chains of filling stations with elaborate structures and signage marketing their products.
Formed in 1906, the British-American Oil Company began by distributing kerosene and lubricating oils in Toronto. It later purchased the Winnipeg Oil Company in order to expand onto the prairies. In 1926, BA built British American No. 32 at the corner of Academy Road and Wellington Crescent. BA chose a “cottage” design for Station No. 32 with elaborate English Tudor brick and stone detailing. The original building had 2 service bays offering automotive repairs in addition to selling gasoline.