After this fire wagon got stuck on a muddy Earlscourt road, ca. 1912, the firemen had to walk a half-mile to the blaze. From the City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 7282.
Streets jammed with horses, each beast with a mind of its own, could be a dangerous place for pedestrians. Municipal bylaws prevented drivers from galloping their horses—and only policemen were legally allowed to ride mounted on city streets. Nevertheless, startled runaway horses were not uncommon sights. York University historian Sean Kheraj recounts one incident in September 1897 when a skittish horse hauling fruit and vegetables to market bolted wildly, crashing his wagon into another and delaying traffic for hours along bustling Queen Street East. More frequently than stampeding, Kheraj writes, horses kicked, bit, or trampled passersby, with children at particular risk.