A Farewell to Toronto’s CLRV Streetcar

CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle) streetcar

On Sunday, December 29, 2019 the Toronto Transit Commission retired its CLRV (Canadian Light Rail Vehicle) streetcars after forty-two years of service.

Enthusiasts of all things Toronto and transportation came out to experience one last ride (for free) on the old streetcars that have moved passengers around all these years. I was only twenty-one when these futurist-looking cars glided along College, Dundas, Queen, and King Streets and, as a non-car driver, I have relied on them to take me around the city.

There was something bittersweet about saying goodbye to these streetcars that have occupied space in the streets of Toronto. People have great affection for them, as testified by the number of nostalgic fans (young and old) who gathered in the rain to photograph the streetcars for the last time.

Stephen, my partner, and I went on a ride from Greenwood to Bathurst and back. It was an experience we will fondly remember, not only because it gave us a chance to ride once more but because, as we sat at the very back of the streetcar, shaped like a cozy living room, we met and talked to beautiful young people who care about our city and this mode of public transportation, forgoing the convenience of the car for the sake of the communal experience of a streetcar ride.

Today is not a day to complain about slow, street congested, frustrating experiences of getting around the city, but a day to fondly remember these vehicles that have been a part of our city’s life for forty-two years.

Original vinyl seats

Commemorative streetcar paper model

View of Queen Street West through rain streaked streetcar windows 

Waiting for the streetcar in the rain

Queen and Spadina (southeast corner) photo taken from streetcar

Photo of original painted streetcar taken from the back of a graffiti streetcar 

About thetorzorean

The musings of a torontonian azorean on identity and belonging. You can find me at https://thetorzorean.com/
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3 Responses to A Farewell to Toronto’s CLRV Streetcar

  1. Stephen Dow says:

    What a lovely day we had traveling across our city one last time on these wonderful CLRVs, reflecting upon and sharing our past in Toronto with some of the amazing young people who are shaping our great city’s future!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Carol Wells-Gordon says:

    Well said Stephen and Emanuel. So glad you took advantage of this opportunity to say goodbye. My father, who loved all things Toronto, was with you today for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ilda says:

    Such beautiful photos, such nostalgia… Glad you went on that last ride, Emanuel and Stephen. The old streetcars had more of a human scale, and we could talk to the driver. The new ones are panoramic and glib, huge in size and the driver has become a stranger, isolated from trouble but also from human contact, like Toronto the vertical city. Only the older buses keep these attributes. For how much longer?


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