Skip to main content

Theatre Passe Muraille‘s 501: Scenes include Donna-Michelle St. Bernard, Justin Many Fingers and Bob Nasmith.

Aviva Armour Ostroff

Diehard walkers must be the only Torontonians who don't despise streetcars.

These hell-red monsters grind down the city's major arteries, ensnaring cyclists in their tentacle-like tracks and impeding drivers. And those who actually have to ride in the belly of the sluggish, smelly behemoths have it worst of all.

Now, Theatre Passe Muraille is taking on streetcars as its fall season about Toronto nears the end of the line. The 501: Toronto in Transit, which collects overheard conversations from the streetcars that run along nearby Queen Street, is not as boosterish as expected. Rochdale College survivor Bob Nasmith narrates in an amiable mumble, telling 501 anecdotes that turn into tangents about renovation jobs, the $100,000 he lost at the track, and the time he was pepper-sprayed by the cops after refusing to disembark. (He seems to think this was fair.)

Story continues below advertisement

Co-creators Justin Many Fingers and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard fill in the gaps with brief sketches of (mostly) obnoxious riders – racist old men, gay bashers and cellphone screamers. It lacks polish, but, at 65 minutes, at least it moves faster than the 501 itself.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct Licensing Options
As of December 20, 2017, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this resolved by the end of January 2018. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.