Toronto Transportation Club Turns 100

TORONTO — 2013 was a year of many 100ths.

Last year, Canadians celebrated the 100th year since the Canadian Arctic Expedition started and the 100th year since the completion of the National Transcontinental Railway. 2013 also marked the 100th year since Canada’s worst Great Lakes storm in history, when 13 vessels were wrecked and 148 lives lost.

On December 5, 2013, 1,300 people gathered for the “Platinum Ball” at the Metro Convention Centre to celebrate another big 100th year anniversary of the Toronto Transportation Club (TTC), with the kind of enthusiasm celebrations of this calibre deserve.

The Toronto Transportation Club first opened its business in 1913, one year before an airplane travelling between St. Petersburg and Tampa, FL, made history as the world’s very first commercial airline flight. (The plane soared at a breathtaking altitude of 15 feet.) The club was founded to foster professional and social interaction among people in all fields of transportation including rail, steamship, and of course, trucks. Planes weren’t in the picture yet.

That was then: The centennial was marked with a splashy dinner starring Canadian Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who not only inspired those in attendance with a multi-media description of his adventures in space; he also performed the David Bowie hit “Space Oddity” with the banquet band.

At one point in the presentation, Hadfield paused over a photograph overlooking Earth from space and said: “I too am in the transportation business.”

“We were really lucky to have Chris Hadfield – we booked him over a year ago. He was really well received by the crowd,” said John Foss, the club’s immediate past president.

At the same time as the organization rocketed into the cyberspace age the TTC proved its roots run deep in the past. And it was never more apparent than at the Christmas party.

While celebrating their 100th anniversary, the TTC won two awards from Transportation Clubs International: one for being the oldest of its kind in all of North America, the other for having the most members – almost 1,000. Members vary from Air Canada Cargo to Canadian Pacific Railway to Canada Cartage Systems and Canadian Tire.

Everyone from Santa Claus to Mississauga’s mayor Hazel McCallion—who is probably the longest-serving democratically elected leader in the world—joined over 50 industry stalwards and many of the club’s past presidents, among them 92-year-old Jim O’Brian.

O’Brian was president of the club in ’62 and is the longest-surviving past-president.

During the ‘60s, there was growing controversy among club members about the no-female members policy. At that time, the number of women in the industry was on the rise and the club made a decision to accept its first female members: Carol Endersby, Helen Stewart and Doris Wilds. And just like that, the days of the “Old Boys Club” were officially over.

“We have a lot of respect for the past and the history of the club and its origin, its roots and where it came from. Overall it’s a great compilation of history and how it’s stuck together and mange to still be bound together and operate and still be leading the industry,” Foss said.

He credits the club’s long success to the inclusion of all the branches of the transportation industry.

“The tagline of our club is ‘Where industry meets’ and it’s true, we get all the different modes of transportation together in one setting whether it’s rail or airline, trucking and allied trades.” 

In with the new 

Talk about a cross-section of the transportation industry. The 2014 Board of the Toronto Transportation Club comprises the following industry leaders:

• Brad Bowering, Sr. District Sales Manager, Central Region, Peterbilt of Canada
• Kathy Cartan, President, Motive Media Ltd.
• Gary Fast, Associate Vice President, Transportation Operations, Canadian Tire Ltd.
• Joe Glionna, Director, Newcom Business Media Inc.
• Eric Carusi, General Manager, TPT Systems, Div. of Transpro Freight Systems
• Brad Carter, General Manager Sales & Marketing China Shipping (Canada) agency Co. Ltd.
• Mike Fontaine, General Manager C.H. Robinson Company (Canada) Ltd.
• Mary Clarke, Manager, Cargo Domestic Sales, Air Canada
• Cynthia Nagamatsu, Vice President, Commercial Client Services Hargraft Schofield LP
• Ted Brown, Executive Vice President of Muir’s Cartage and Indis Inc. Calx
• James Mitton, Vice President, National Accounts Apps Transport Group
• Tim Boyce, Group VP Sales & Marketing, The Wheels Group
• Brian Wright, Director or Sales, Canadian Pacific Intermodal

And meet the 2014 executive committee: 

• Peter J Collins -Director National Accounts & Business Development, Multivans Inc. – Elected to the Position of President.
• Tim Roulston – Director of Sales Intermodal Wholesale, CN Rail – Elected to the position of 1st Vice President.
• Lori McCreight, Chief Financial Officer, Maritime-Ontario Freight Lines Limited – Elected to the position of 2nd Vice President.
• John Foss – Account Manager, Trailcon Leasing Inc. will remain on the executive committee as immediate Past President.

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