The Leslie Station Open House (June 29, 2000)

Sheppard and Leslie

Text and pictures by James Bow.

After almost three years of work, Leslie Station is nearly complete. To promote the line, and to say 'thank you' to the local residents who have put up with construction, the TTC organized an open house to show off the station. On Thursday, June 29, 2000, the media and the general public gathered for a BBQ lunch, speeches, and a chance for a sneak peak at the Sheppard Subway.

As an exercise in community relations, the event was a success. Leslie Station was an ideal place for such an event, because of the artwork that had been designed into the station. The station is covered with thousands of tiles with the words "Sheppard and Leslie" silk-screened onto them. Each tile has those words written out in different handwriting, from a different member of the general public. Exactly 3440 handwriting samples were provided by people from the community in May 1997, and each sample was reproduced five times. This open house was a good opportunity for people to see the fruits of their labor.

After the requisite speeches and photo opportunities, the station was thrown open, and people had a unique chance to preview the Sheppard Subway. From what was seen here, the line will be impressive. Indeed, railfans at the event agreed that their only regret was that the line was not to be longer.


The Moose is Loose

The main entrance to the open house was off of Old Leslie Street, at the bus terminal. The TTC Moose was at the entrance, greeting visitors. Visitors were also treated with buttons, and a neat scramble puzzle spelling "Sheppard and Leslie". Truth to tell, some people had fun seeing how many different and interesting words they could make out of those letters.

The tiles

A member of the general public pauses beside some of the famous tiles that cover the inside of this station.

Information

The organizers took the time to educate the public about the station and its future uses. The bus connection between this station and nearby North York General Hospital was promoted.

Speeches, etc

Of course, at these events, there have to be the requisite speeches. These proceeded quickly with the following speakers taking turns at the podium: John Sepulis, TTC General Manager - Engineering and Construction, Chairman Howard Moscoe, Rico Fung, Canadian Portland Cement Association, Jack Diamond (designer of the station) and representatives of Ellis-Don (the contractors who built the station). Mr Fung awarded the PCA 2000 Concrete in Transit Award to the TTC and the designers and builders of this station.

Stairwell

Finally, the station was thrown open. People proceeded down the stairway to the mezzanine level and the platform itself.

Westbound platform, looking west

A typical Sheppard Subway platform is wider than a typical platform in the rest of the system. Visitors were treated to a spacious, if unfinished, station. Here, we see the westbound platform, looking west.

Station Signage

The TTC previewed the signage for the station in particular and the Sheppard line in general. The Sheppard line is officially magenta. The signs will run the length of the platform, and will be located directly above the platform's edge.

New Map

Here's a closeup (apologies for it being out of focus) of a standard TTC subway map, as it will look in 2002.

East end of station

This shot is at the east end of the station, facing east, showing the temporary walls that could be removed to bring the subway platform to its full 140 metre length, if six car trains were needed instead of the four car trains that will ply the line after opening.

Light wells

In the corridor leading off from the eastern end of the station, passengers pass beneath these light-wells designed to increase the ambient light within the corridor.

Eastern Entrance, looking out

At the eastern entrance, you can clearly see the intersection of Sheppard and Leslie, and the buses which serve both streets. The bus here is on a Sheppard run heading west. Sheppard bus service will continue after the line opens, albeit at reduced frequencies, so as to continue to provide local service.

Eastern Entrance, looking west

As a result of budget cuts, the station may be called Spartan, and is only concrete and glass in the shape of a box, but what the designers and contractors did with this box is impressive. If this is what contractors and designers can do on a budget, let's have more such minimalism.

Mezzanine and Main Entrance

Returning via the platform, we paused at the mezzanine level between the platform and the bus terminal, to catch this shot of what will be the station's main entrance.

Thanks to the organizers of this event, particularly the representatives of Ellis Don and the TTC personnel on hand, for making this an enjoyable and interesting sneak-peak at what is sure to be a beautiful subway line.

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