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The Western Flyer D700A Bus

By James Bow

See Also

A New Look

For the first thirty-five years of its life, Western Flyer built a successful business in the design of intercity motor coaches, but the company was looking to expand its reach. The market for city buses looked lucrative indeed but, at the time, this market was dominated by General Motors with its iconic “New Look” design. With that in mind, Western Flyer’s designers put their heads together, and brought forward a bus that could compete with GM’s “New Look” in terms of modern appearance, utility and passenger comfort. In 1967, their efforts resulted in the D700A series bus model, which has been nicknamed by bus enthusiasts as “the Canadian Fishbowl”. Apparently their attempt to compete with the New Look “Fishbowls” was successful.

The D-700 design was equipped with a 6V71 GM diesel engine mounted longitudinally (instead of the standard transverse style). Large windows flooded in the interior with light. Padded seats offered comfort to passengers.

A West End Bus

The TTC came shopping in 1969, and placed an initial order for ten D700A buses, which arrived later that year. A second order, this time for another 13 units, was placed in 1972 and delivered that year. All 23 buses were based out of Queensway Garage and were rarely seen east of Yonge Street.

Unfortunately, Western Flyer’s entry into the bus market was not without problems. Mechanical and structural issues plagued these buses, and most did not last the expected 18 years of service, and were thus retired early. The class was retired and hauled to the scrapheap by the latter half of the 1980s.

Western Flyer was more successful with the electric version of this model. In 1968, the had shipped its aging trolley coaches to the company to rebuild. This led to a contract for a complete retrofit of the TTC trolley bus fleet, essentially rebuilding the buses into 151 electric equivalents of the D-700A series. For more information on this, please view this history of the Western Flyer trolley bus rebuilds.

Western Flyer would address the mechanical and structural issues of this class for its next model, the D800A series.

D-700-A Condensed Roster:

  • 7500-7509 - D700A - Delivered 1969; retired late 1980s;
  • 7510-7522 - D700A - Delivered 1972; retired late 1980s;

Western Flyer D700 Series Image Archive