toronto fishbowl bus

This is what the TTC's old Fishbowl buses looked like

This is what the TTC's old Fishbowl buses looked like

The last few GM-made "New Look" buses were retired from the TTC's fleet in 2011. Relics from a former age, these old buses were some of the sturdiest ever made, and were at one point or another used by most of the major transit systems in North America.

All told, GM manufactured 44,484 of these buses, affectionately referred to as "Fishbowls" for their rounded windshields and roofs.

Despite their popularity south of the border, Toronto has something of claim to the buses, being both an early adopter of the model when it was released in 1959, and, so far as I can tell, the last major city to keep the Fishbowls in service until their decommission.

I remember with an absurd fondness the black vinyl seats, with their pinkish trim. I recall the smell of oil that filled the fishbowl, a by-product of the old engines and rubber-filled interiors. I remember the times when I'd over-shoot my destination because the request-a-stop wire was broken, pulling and pulling in silence and frustration.

And don't forget the rattle. The cacophony of loose bolts was only drowned-out by the rise of the strained diesel engine as it laboured to get up to speed.

Here is a photo history of the Fishbowl buses in Toronto.

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GM brochure

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Fishbowl painting. Image via Kevin Mueller.

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At the factory. Image via Kevin Mueller

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At Rosedale Station, 1961

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Rear view, 1960s

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At Bay and Dundas, 1965

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Interior, 1965

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Interior, 1965

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Interior, 1965

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At Eglinton Station, 1967

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At Islington Station, 1960s

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At Bathurst Station, 1970

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Leslie bus, 1970s. Image via skaliwag66.

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On Eglinton, 1980s. Image via Jeff Bentley.

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The iconic front lights. Image via End User.

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The final iteration of the interior. Image via -Nickon.

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At the Halton Radial Railway Museum. Image via SCT 8848.


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