Western Flyer emerged into the bus building market in the 1940s, with the introduction of a line of intercity buses known as ‘The Canuck’. Almost 693 intercity buses were built by Flyer before they began to focus mainly on the city transit market, with the introduction of the D-700 model in 1967.
The D-700 design was based on GM’s ‘New Look’ and was equipped with a 6V71 GM diesel engine mounted logitudunally (instead of the standard transverse style). They’re known to a few bus enthusiasts as the “Canadian Fishbowl” because of it’s resemblance the familiar GM fishbowl. A total of 23 were delivered to the TTC between 1969 and 1972. They were based out of Queensway division all their life and rarely travelled east of Yonge street. Due to various problems, most being mechanical and structural, the majority of these buses didn’t last the expected 18 years and were retired early. The last buses in this series were retired and hauled to the scrap-yard sometime in the late 1980s.
The TTC also operated 151 Electric (trolley bus) counterparts of the D-700. Please see the Toronto Trolley Bus Page for more.
D-700-A Condensed Roster:
- Fleet Numbers: 7500 - 7509 - D 700 A - Delivered 1969; retired late 1980s;
- 7510 - 7522 - D 700 A - Delivered 1972; retired late 1980s;
Flyer D-700 Image Archive
A rare photograph of a TTC Flyer D700 in operation -- in this case, TTC 7522 on a charter at Humber Loop. Photo donated by Jim Blair.
The maintenance crew at Queensway Garage gather for a group photo in front of a Flyer D-700 bearing a 37 ISLINGTON exposure, circa 1973. Photo donated by Pete Coulman.
TTC Flyer D-700 bus #7521 was recently rescued from a Philadelphia scrap yard and added to the collection of the Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. Although in need of a new paint job, the bus is in pretty good condition. This photograph was taken on September 25, 2010 by ck4049.
Another view of TTC Flyer D700 bus #7521 at Seashore Trolley Museum in Kennebunkport, Maine. This photo was taken on July 4, 2009 by ck4049.
The design of the D-800 was a joint venture between Flyer Industries and AM General of the United States. AM General would produce this model for United States transit properties under it’s banner and Flyer would do the same for the Canada properties. The D-800 design included larger windows and a restyled front.
In 1974 the TTC took delivery of 50 D-800-A buses. They had the longitudinally mounted engines and tranmissions similar to those of the D-700. Like their earlier cousins, they were also based out of Queensway division most of their lives, but toward the end some were re-allocated to Lansdowne to serve as replacements for the trolley buses. The last of these buses were retired in the early 1990s with the delivery of the 6700 series Orion Vs.
One D-800-A has survived the scrapper’s tourch and has become somewhat of a movie star. After it’s career with the TTC, number 8000 began it’s second life after being purchased by a film company for use in movies, tv shows and commercials. It still retains it’s TTC paint and original TTC interior, and was spotted recently in a Trident Gum commercial in 1999.
In 1977, TTC took delivery of the D-800-B model. These were equipped with the standard GM Diesel Division transverse mounted engine, and were based out of Queensway. Most ran on routes like 32 Eglinton West, 110 Islington South, Royal York and Royal York South. Because of the standard engine configuration these were a little more reliable than the previous Flyer models and lasted their life expectancy, some lasting as long as 21 years. By 1997 a few still remained in service.
All except one were retired and scrapped in 1997 - 98. Near the end of it’s career, number 8257 was restored by Queensway garage and ran in regular service and on charters as a historic bus. It was retired in summer of 1999 and is now part of the Canadian Transit Heritage Foundation’s historic collection.
Condensed D-800 Roster:
- Fleet Numbers: 7560 - 8004 - FIL D-800-A - Delivered 1974/75; retired early 1990s
- 8210 - 8223 - FIL D-800-B - Delivered 1977; retired 1998;
- 8230 - 8260 - FIL D-800-B - Delivered 1978; retired 1999;
Flyer D-800 Image Archive
TTC Flyer D-800A bus #7968, seen here at Islington Station in the early 1980s. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC Flyer D-800 Bus #7983 poses at York Mills station in service on 96 WILSON in the late 1970s. The photographer is unknown and the photo was donated from the Pete Coulman Collection.
TTC bus 8221 (Flyer Industries FIL D-800-B) poses at Long Branch loop in this 1979 shot. Photo by Peter Cox, courtesy BARP.ca.
TTC Flyer D-800-B bus 8223 pulls into Eglinton West station in service on the 32 EGLINTON WEST route (32E "Martin Grove" branch). This photo, donated by Peter Coulman, was taken on September 7, 1978.
TTC Flyer D-800B bus #8251 towards the end of her career, operating on 76 ROYAL YORK SOUTH. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC Flyer D-800-B bus 8257 poses alongside a Brampton Transit counterpart (7856) at Queensway garage. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC D-800-B Flyer bus #8257 operates on a bus fan charter, signed up for the abandoned route 138 SOUTH KINGSWAY. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
A shot of the interior of TTC Flyer D-800B bus #8257. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC Flyer D-800B bus #8257, seen here after being restored by Queensway garage, on a bus fan charter.
The D-901 model was introduced in 1981 with a newly designed front to provide a more modern look, winder front doors to allow space for a possible wheelchair lift to be installed and the option of air conditioning.
TTC took delivery of their first D-901s in late 1981, numbered 8380 - 8486. They were evenly split between divisions including Queensway, Danforth, Eglinton and Arrow Road. They were a common sight on 25 Don Mills and 32 and 34 Eglinton. The last 10 (8477-8486) in this series were specially equipped with air conditioning, special comfortable seats and a P.A. system for use on Grey Line sightseeing in the summer, all other times the A/C was shut off and they ran on regular TTC routes.
With the delivery of the Nova RTS buses in 1998, almost half of the fleet was retired while the remaining were restricted to rush hour only service. They also appeared on many streetcar shuttle routes during the summer while trackwork sessions were in progress. When the New Flyer Low Floors were delivered in 1999, the last were quietly retired.
An additional 198 D-901s were ordered and delivered in 1985 (6000 - 6204) and were TTC’s first power steering equipped Flyers. Many other minor improvements in design were made from the first order, most notably the drivers area and front doors. They still run in service today based out of Queensway, Danforth and Arrow Road divisions, most have been rebuilt and appear in the new TTC livery colours.
(Update: September 10, 2005): At the time of this writing, this brand of Flyer can be found running out of Queensway, Arrow and Malvern; most are running out of Malvern. The TTC has begun to retire these vehicles at a fast pace, and over 55% of the fleet is now gone.
Condensed D-901 Roster:
- Fleet Numbers: 8380 - 8476 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1981
- 8477 - 8486 - FIL D-901-SS (sightseers) - Delivered 1981
- 6000 - 6122 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1985
- 6130 - 6204 - FIL D-901 - Delivered 1986
Flyer D-901 Image Archive
In July of 1986, the provincially owned Flyer Industries was purchased from Manitoba by Den Oudsten of Holland. The company was completly reorganized and redevloped as a privately owned firm. The D-901 was re-designed with a new body and interior design and re-named the D-40. (D for Diesel, 40 for the length and 87 for the year).
In 1987 the TTC placed an order for 60 of the D-40-87 model and they were spread equally throughout the system. They commonly appeared as ‘shrink wrap’ advertisement buses on many routes, mainly because they were one of the few buses with a smooth enough surface for the ads.
Unfortunatly these buses prooved to be a big dissapointment, most were retired early in 1998 - 1999 due to severe corrosion problems. While diesel buses are normally expected to last 18 years, these lasted only 11. The last bus of this class, 6330, was retired in February 2000.
D-40-87 Condensed Roster:
- 6300 - 6359 - - Delivered 1987; Retired 1998-2000.
Flyer D-40-87 Image Archive
TTC New Flyer D-40-87 #6330 picks up a passenger in the Queens Quay and Spadina loop. Photo by Brad O'Brien.
TTC Flyer D-40-87 6357 amongst a line of retired D-40-87s awaiting scrap. Photo by Brad O'Brien
The next New Flyer order arrived in 1988 and in 1989 with the delivery of the D-40-88/89 series. Only a few minor details set them apart from the previous order. They were rebuilt and repainted in the TTC’s new colour scheme.
In 1990 the D-40-90s arrived. They were the first regular TTC buses equipped with air conditioning (other than the D-901-SS, which did not use the a/c unit in regular passenger service) and a Cummins diesel engine. They were beset by problems and systematically retired through 2003 and 2004, with the last buses leaving the system in June 2004.
(Update: June 11, 2005): At the time of this writing, all remaining D-40-88/89s are operating out of Queensway garage.
Condensed D-40-88/89/90 Roster:
- 6420 - 6434 - NFIL D-40-88 - Delivered 1988
- 6440 - 6521 - NFIL D-40-89 - Delivered 1989
- 6560 - 6638 - NFIL D-40-90 - Delivered 1990/91; retired June 2004
Flyer D-40-88 Image Archive
Flyer D-40-89 Image Archive
Flyer D-40-90 Image Archive
In 1999 the TTC’s first New Flyer Low Floors arrived. They are equipped with air conditioning, extra large ‘LED’ electronic signs, a wheelchair ramp and kneeling features. They provide service out of Eglinton Division, although at first were tested and ‘broken in’ on 29 Dufferin.
(Update: June 10, 2005): All these buses are now at Queensway garage and can be found on routes 26, 30, 40, 44, 45, 49, 111, 123 and 192.
Condensed D-40-LF Roster:
- 7300 - 7350 - FIL D-40-LF - Delivered 1999
Flyer D-40-LF Image Archive
- Bus World Encyclopedia of Buses, Stauss Publications, Woodland Hills (California), 1988.
- Diesel City Bus, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), 1991.
Thanks to Mike Vainchtein for his corrections and updates to this web page