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When the TTC contracted with Bombardier Transportation to replace its fleet of streetcars with modern, low-floor streetcars, some consideration was given to refurbishing the maintenance facilities at the Russell facility to accommodate the vehicles, rather than build a new half billion dollar facility. The site chosen for the Leslie Barns carhouse was only a few hundred yards away from the Russell facility. Local city councilor Mary-Margaret McMahon argued for improving the Russell facility in 2011. In the end the new Leslie carhouse was built. But the Russell facility will remain open, and will store new vehicles that do not need maintenance work.
Russell Carhouse was built in 1913 by the Toronto Railway Company as a paint shop. When the King Carhouse burnt down in 1916, the Russell was rapidly turned into a carhouse. After the TTC took over and amalgamated all the existing streetcar systems within the city limits in 1920, they found that the foundations were faulty and the facility was sinking. They called for tenders for its demolition and the construction of a new carhouse which opened on December 13th, 1924.
The facility services half of the system's streetcars; exclusively for the 502 Downtowner and 503 Kingston Road routes, and sharing with Roncesvalles Carhouse for the 501 Queen, 504 King, 505 Dundas, 506 Carlton, 509 Harbourfront, 510 Spadina and 514 Cherry routes.
The Carhouse is normally closed to the public. But, in 2014, the TTC added the facility to Doors Open Toronto's list of buildings normally closed to the public which are opened to public tours for one weekend per year. For its public debut the TTC made available its small fleet of legacy heritage streetcars, and provided a prototype of its Flexity low floor streetcars, which were introduced to revenue service four months later.
In a review of the effectiveness of Doors Open as an educational tool, Allana Mayer, of the association of Art Libraries of North America, listed the Russell Carhouse of on of four "crowd favourites".
An article in a 1978 issue of the TTC's internal magazine, The Coupler, asserts that the carhouse is named for T.A. (Tommy Alexander) Russell (founder of Russell Motor Car Company) and friend of Robert John Fleming a former Mayor of Toronto and general manager of the Toronto Railway Company. However, a member of Ontario's Provincial Parliament, Joseph Russell, was also a friend to Fleming, and his brick manufacturing yard was near the carhouse, and supplied brick for the carhouse. Transit historian Ray Corley asserts the yard was more likely named after Joseph Russell, due to the proximity of his yard, and due to playing a role in the facility's construction
- Chris Bateman (2014-05-20). "Six buildings worth seeing at Doors Open Toronto 2014". Toronto Life. http://torontolife.com/city/six-buildings-worth-seeing-doors-open-toronto-2014/. Retrieved 2016-07-24. "The TTC is offering a peek inside its Russell carhouse, a Queen Street East facility that serves as one of three streetcar storage-and-maintenance areas."
- Louis H. Pursley (1961). "The Toronto Trolley Car Story, 1921-1961". I.L. Swett. https://books.google.ca/books?id=6dcbAAAAIAAJ&q=connaught+carhouse&dq=connaught+carhouse&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi3-OCo5Y7OAhUp2IMKHeVMBQUQ6AEIQTAI. Retrieved 2016-07-25.
- Daniel Sellers (2015-03-05). "Maintaining the Streetcar Fleet in Winter Months". Torontoist. Archived from the original on 2015-08-13. https://web.archive.org/web/20150813014837/http://torontoist.com/2015/03/maintaining-the-streetcar-fleet-in-their-winter-months/. Retrieved 2016-07-25. "There is another fundamental difference from the legacy cars, too: the low-floor is able to live up to its name only by stashing much of its propulsion equipment underneath its roof. Renovations at both Roncesvalles and Russell over the next several years will enable mechanics to work on the cars from above rather than below."
- Peter Kuitenbrouwer (2011-01-31). "Leslie streetcar yard ‘utter boondoggle,’ says Mary-Margaret McMahon". National Post. Archived from the original on 2016-07-25. https://web.archive.org/web/20160725221220/http://news.nationalpost.com/posted-toronto/leslie-streetcar-yard-utter-boondoggle-says-mary-margaret-mcmahon. "At present, half of the TTC fleet of 248 streetcars spend their down time at the Russell Carhouse, on Queen Street near Greenwood Avenue, and the other half rest at the Roncesvalles Carhouse, at Queen and Roncesvalles Avenue. Those yards are too small for the new mega-streetcars, the TTC says."
- Nataliee Alcoba (2011-02-02). "TTC moving ahead with new facility in Leslieville". National Post. Archived from the original on 2016-07-25. https://web.archive.org/web/20160725221229/http://www.nationalpost.com/m/wp/blog.html?b=news.nationalpost.com/2011/02/02/ttc-moving-ahead-with-new-facility-in-leslieville. Retrieved 2016-07-25. "The 204 vehicles will replace the city’s iconic streetcars. The plan is to house 50 of them at the west-end Roncesvalles Carhouse, 50 of them at the east-end Russell Carhouse, and the remaining 104 at Ashbridges Bay."
- Natalie Alcoba (Template:Date). "TTC to spend $700M upgrading infrastructure for new streetcars". National Post. Archived from the original on 2016-04-22. http://news.nationalpost.com/toronto/ttc-to-spend-700m-upgrading-infrastructure-for-new-streetcars. Retrieved October 2015. "$75-million will go to modify the Roncesvalles and Russell carhouses and the Harvey repair shop"
- "Looking Back". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. https://web.archive.org/web/20160305033006/https://www.ttc.ca/About_the_TTC/History/Looking_Back.jsp. Retrieved 2016-07-25. "In 1920, a Provincial Act created the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC) and, in 1921, the Commission took over and amalgamated nine existing fare systems within the city limits."
- "TTC - Russell Carhouse". Doors Open Toronto. City of Toronto. 2014. http://www1.toronto.ca/wps/portal/contentonly?vgnextoid=c14df35f00f15410VgnVCM10000071d60f89RCRD&building=2BEB950F057A857185257C760058370E. Retrieved October 2015. "While taking over the building, the TTC found that the foundations were faulty and the facility was sinking into the Ashbridge's Bay "fill". In 1923 they called for tenders for its demolition and construction of a new carhouse on the site."
- James Bow, Hugh McAuley (2015-06-25). "Russell (Connaught) Carhouse". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on 2016-07-06. https://web.archive.org/web/20160706205037/http://transit.toronto.on.ca/streetcar/4302.shtml. Retrieved October 2015. "Ray Corley's research disputes this, however, noting that R.J. Fleming was also friends with a Joseph Russell. Joseph was a brick manufacturer at 1308 Queen Street East at Alton Avenue (northeast corner) and he provided much of the supplies used in the original construction of the TRC's paint shop in 1913, a more direct and obvious connection between the person and the naming of the site."
- "Public invited to board TTC’s new streetcar at Doors Open Toronto". Toronto Transit Commission. 2014-05-21. Archived from the original on 2014-08-10. https://web.archive.org/web/20140810190710/http://ttc.ca/News/2014/May/0521_doors_open.jsp. Retrieved 2016-07-24. "The Toronto Transit Commission will open its doors this Saturday, May 24, as part of Doors Open Toronto. The public is invited to join Councillors Paula Fletcher and Mary-Margaret McMahon and the Leslieville BIA at the TTC’s historic Russell Carhouse from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m."
- Peter Kim (2014-05-23). "Toronto’s Doors Open event adds more than 40 new locations". Global News. http://globalnews.ca/news/1296589/torontos-doors-open-event-adds-more-than-40-new-locations/. Retrieved 2016-07-24.
- Mike Filey (2014-04-26). "Gardiner Expwy. repairs comes 60 years after constructions began". Toronto Sun. http://www.torontosun.com/2014/04/25/gardiner-expwy-repairs-comes-60-years-after-constructions-began. Retrieved 2016-07-25. "Prior to their collective appearance in last week's extremely popular Beaches Lions Easter Parade four generations of TTC streetcars posed at Russell carhouse on Queen St. E."
- Allana Mayer (2014-08-25). "Doors Open: Toronto and Beyond". Art Libraries of North America. http://archsec.arlisna.org/?author=1. Retrieved 2016-07-24. "Of the former in recent years, crowd favourites have been tours of the Historic Don Jail (before its renovation into the Bridgepoint Hospital), the R.C. Harris Water Treatment Plant, the Russell Carhouse (for maintaining Toronto’s iconic red streetcars), and the long-abandoned Crystal Ballroom at the King Edward Hotel."