Today, the Toronto Transit Commission and all three levels of government officially announced the arrival of the city's new streetcars. Surrounded by four generations of Toronto's streetcar fleet, members of the media were invited to the TTC's Hillcrest Yard on Bathurst Street to hear the announcement by City Councillor and TTC Chair Karen Stintz, federal and provincial representatives, as well as Metrolinx.

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC Hillcrest, image by Michael Batt

Out with the old. Current streetcar next to the new Bombardier FLEXITY.

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

So new, they still have the plastic on the seats! And they even have that new car (or streetcar) smell! 

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

Several other members of Toronto City Council were on hand, including Mary-Margaret McMahon of Ward 32, where the new streetcar maintenance facility is being built. While this was the official "celebration" by government partners, keen eyes had snapped photos of the vehicles arriving in the city on flatbed trucks almost two months ago. 

The new streetcars have four of these articulated junction points.

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

All vehicles will be equipped with PRESTO card readers, allowing access at all doors. 

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

The TTC has ordered 204 new FLEXITY streetcars from Bombardier, and they are being built in Thunder Bay. The cost of these new streetcars is being shared among all levels of government, with the province funding $416 million, the federal government in for $308 million and the City of Toronto/TTC at $662 million. The province alone has funded $4 billion in the GTA's transit infrastructre since 2003, not including the $8.4 billion earmarked for Toronto's LRT expansion. The current plan is to have the vehicles ready to go into regular service by early 2014. 

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

The vehicles are 30.2 metres long and 2.54 metres wide, they have 70 seats and a maximum capacity of 181 passengers (seated and standing). They are more accessible as well, with 2 wheelchair/scooter seating areas, deployable bridge/ramp, extra wide passenger doors, and a bike friendly area. Vehicle loading is improved as access points are located along its length, not just at the front door. 

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

Karen Stintz took time to note a significant fact about Toronto's streetcar network. It is the largest in North America and even comes close to matching some European systems. In addition, the FLEXITY range of streetcars are already in service in several European countries that receive a lot of snow, so they are capable of handling Canadian winters.

Inside the Harvey Shop. There are many service bays to work on streetcar maintenance. Apparently there is more than just one sample of the new streetcar in town. 

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC Harvey Shop at Hillcrest, image by Michael Batt

TTC Chair Karen Stintz checks out the controls.

New Streetcars, Toronto Transit Commission, City of Toronto, Karen Stintz, MetroTTC New Streetcar Launch, image by Michael Batt

The TTC Chair thanked her federal and provincial counterparts for attending and making their announcements, ending with "the next time we invite you back will be to introduce the Downtown Relief Line". If only...