Streetcars, also called trams, trolleys or street railways, were initially pulled by horses in Canadian cities. Montréal and Toronto were the first urban areas to use streetcars (sleighs in the wintertime). Other cities, such as Hamilton, Winnipeg, Halifax and Saint John, followed suit in using horse-drawn streetcars for urban transportation. The development of electric-powered machinery revolutionized the streetcar, as rails with simple guidance mechanisms enabled electric-powered streetcars to traverse cities quickly and efficiently. The rails were then extended to link nearby municipalities. This simple technology affected Canadian electric-power infrastructure, transportation and the growth patterns of our cities. Electric rail has seen a resurgence recently as light-rail transit.
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