47 years of the Bloor - Danforth subway



Updated — Tuesday, February 26, 4:38 p.m.: Thanks to Robert Wichtman, who pointed out that the TTC actually abandoned the tracks on Old Weston Road and part of Davenport Road in 1957 and not in 1966, as we originally posted!


Updated — Tuesday, February 26, 9:54 a.m.: Thanks to Robert Lubinski and Gilbert Vesleño who helped to correct some of the details in this post.


Our friends at the Toronto Railway Museum reminded us that 47 years ago today, February 25, 1966, the TTC officially opened the crosstown Bloor - Danforth subway. Regular service started 47 years ago tomorrow, February 26, 1966.

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Late-night view of eastbound Broadview station platform with a train of H-2s and H-4s. Photo by David Cavlovic.

The new line, which then only stretched between Woodbine and Keele Stations, effectively doubled the city’s rapid transit system and seemed to herald the end (at least temporarily) of Toronto as a streetcar city.

After the line opened, the TTC abandoned regular streetcar service along many central Toronto streets including:

  • Davenport Road,
  • Dovercourt Road,
  • Ossington Avenue,
  • Harbord Street,
  • Spadina Avenue,
  • Parliament Street (except for the small part between Carlton and Gerrard Streets)
  • Carlaw Avenue,
  • Riverdale Avenue,
  • Pape Avenue and
  • Coxwell Avenue (except for the small section between the two Gerrard Streets).

Streetcars continued to operate along small sections of Danforth Avenue — between the end of the subway at Woodbine and Luttrel Avenue, near Dawes Road — and Bloor Street West — between the end of the subway at Keele and Jane Street — but not for long. By May 1968, the TTC had further extended the line eastward to Warden and westward to Islington. The subway finally reached Kipling and Kennedy in 1980.

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View of Bloor St. the fare collection area and the wonderful cuppola-like dome of the entrance to Castle Frank station. Photo by David Cavlovic.

The opening of the subway marked the first time that trains operated through Lower Bay Station, a place of mystery that still seems to intrigue Torontonians today. The trains only operated through that station until September, when the TTC abandoned its attempt to run some Bloor - Danforth trains downtown under University Avenue.

The arrival of an east-west subway significantly redrew the Toronto transit map.

The TTC massively rerouted many of its bus and remaining streetcar routes to accommodate passengers transferring to and from the new line, including:

  • 6 Bay;
  • 7 Bathurst;
  • 8 Broadview;
  • 25 Don Mills
  • 29 Dufferin;
  • 41 Keele;
  • 47 Lansdowne;
  • 56 Leaside;
  • 62 Mortimer - Main;
  • 63 Ossington;
  • 70 O’Connor;
  • 75 Sherbourne;
  • 77 Spadina;
  • 81 Thorncliffe Park;
  • 89 Weston;
  • 90 Vaughan;
  • 91 Woodbine;
  • 93 Woodbridge;
  • 94 Wellesley;
  • Bathurst cars;
  • Dundas cars; and
  • King cars.

The new subway marked the end of these bus and streetcar routes:

  • 3 Ashbridge;
  • crosstown Bloor cars between Luttrel and Jane;
  • Bloor tripper cars between Jane and Bedford;
  • Coxwell cars;
  • Danforth tripper cars between Luttrel and Bedford;
  • Fort cars;
  • Harbord cars;
  • Parliament cars.

However, these bus routes made their first appearance:

  • 10 Bloor - Danforth night;
  • 22 Coxwell;
  • 31 Greenwood;
  • 72 Pape;
  • 65 Parliament; and
  • 92 Woodbine South.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “A History of Subways on Bloor and Queen Streets”, by James Bow, here.
  • “The Abandoned Streetcar Shuttle Passages”, by James Bow, here.
  • “Toronto’s Lost Subway Stations”, by James Bow, here.
  • “The Truth Behind the Interlining Trial”, by James Bow, here.

and don’t miss:

  • A history of the 3 Ashbridge route, by Pete Coulman, here;
  • A history of the 10 Bloor - Danforth night route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the 22 Coxwell route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the 25 Don Mills route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the 31 Greenwood route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the 41 Keele route, by Jeffrey Kay, here.
  • A history of the 81 Thorncliffe Park route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the 92 Woodbine South route, by Pete Coulman, here.
  • A history of the Bloor streetcar route, by James Bow, here.
  • A history of the Coxwell streetcar route, by James Bow, here.
  • A history of the Fort streetcar route, by James Bow, here.
  • A history of the Harbord streetcar route, by James Bow, here.
  • A history of the Parliament streetcar route, by James Bow, here.