12 Interesting Facts About The Toronto Streetcar System You Probably Didn't Know
If you didn't know, now you know.
Photo cred - visual mischief
You take it everywhere, no matter how much you complain about it. Yeah, it’s slower than walking (as is the running joke), but you still maintain a sort of love/hate relationship with the ever-present Toronto streetcars. Here’s some things you might not have known. Maybe think about them and pop out some trivia next time you’re packed like a sardine in your favourite moving tin can.
Toronto Loves Its Streetcars
Toronto is only one of a few cities in North America that still has a working streetcar system. And that, my friends, is impressive. That truly is dedication to the rails-- no matter how many times they let us down or make us late.
The 501: The Longest There Ever Was
The 501 Queen streetcar is the longest surface transit route in North America. It clocks in at at an impressive 24.43 km.
From T.O. To San Fran
San Francisco painted one of their trams red in tribute to our “longstanding committment” to streetcars. They called it the “Red Rocket” and embellished it with a TTC logo. So if you’re ever far from home (and snow), be on the lookout.
Photo cred - aquarteryoung
Citizens > Tourists
Unlike most cities in America that had streetcars in the past, the streetcars in Toronto are not “heritage” streetcars that run for tourists-- they run for the people. The streetcars provide almost all of the downtown core’s surface transit, as there’s less busses in downtown Toronto than up in the GTA or West End.
Poppin' The Electric Cherry
The first electric car-- the beginning of streetcars-- ran in Toronto on August 15, 1892.
The Flexity Outlook
The newest version of the streetcar is called “Flexity Outlook.” Sounds hella fancy. Did you know that? I didn’t. For now, they only run on the 510 Spadina route, but surely you’ll see them around on other lines soon enough-- and by soon enough, I mean by 2019. You’ll be old.
Specs On The New Streetcar
Speaking of the new streetcars, they’re “low-floor,” meaning that they ride lowlowlow and close to the ground on the tracks. They’re longer than the old streetcars, running to just over 30 metres long (30 metres of people! Yeah!). They have 64 fixed seats for passengers and six flip-down seats (like on the new trains) available.
Streetcars Built For Bikers
Done with the new streetcars yet? You won’t be once you hear this: They have interior bike racks for the cyclists in the city. Oh, and the best news? They have air-conditioning.
Photo cred - Transit Toronto
11 Is A Magic Number
There are 11 streetcar lines in Toronto. Doesn’t sound like a lot, right? Wrong. The streetcar is the main method of transportation for people in the downtown core, with four of the five most-used lines of surface transit in Toronto being streetcar routes.
Before The TTC
The first versions of the “streetcar” hit the streets before the Toronto Transit Commission was even a thing. In 1861, we had horse-drawn streetcars in the city, and a year later, an electric one was created.
The length of all the streetcar routes combined hits over 82 kilometers. Bet you’re glad you’re not walking now, eh? Complain a little more next time (Kidding. We know the streetcar still kinda sucks. But you know what? Once you leave the city, you might find yourself missing it).