Text by James Bow.
- Station Pages: Kipling | Islington | Spadina | St. George | Woodbine | Main Street | Warden | Kennedy
- What if the Queen Subway was Built Instead of the Bloor-Danforth.
- Subway Art by Serafin
The Initial Proposals (See also Early History)
As the city of Toronto developed, it took on the shape of an upside-down “T” on the shores of Lake Ontario. Development spread north along Yonge Street and east and west along the Lake. Yonge Street was, almost from the beginning, the city’s north-south axis. The city’s prominent east-west street was less clearly defined throughout Toronto’s history but, by the 1940s, Queen Street arguably held that title.
Although the subway proposals of 1909-1912 mentioned a number of alignments for a possible east-west route, the north-south line was generally given more attention. By the 1940s, however, the city had grown and the country was at war. The number of commuters was straining the capacity of a number of routes, and it became clear that only a subway would provide an effective long-term solution to the problem. Again, the initial proposals focused heaviliy on a north-south line, but the plans for an east-west companion were much more detailed.
In 1942, the TTC submitted a subway plan calling for two streetcar subways, one running beneath Yonge and Bay Streets from St. Clair to Union Station and another operating beneath Queen and Adelaide Streets from Strachan to Logan. The Yonge/Bay streetcar subway would channel streetcars from the northern suburbs downtown, while the Queen/Adelaide subway would take streetcars off King and Queen streets for a ride unobstructed by automobiles. The City was not satisfied with this plan, however, and sent it back to the TTC for reconsideration.
In 1945, the TTC came up with a new plan, this time with a “rapid transit subway” beneath Yonge Street and a more modest streetcar subway along Queen. The Queen streetcar subway would operate to the north of Queen Street from Trinity Park to McCaul, then beneath Queen Street from McCaul to Mutual, and then north of Queen Street in an open cut from Mutual to St. Paul. The line would become elevated from St. Paul to Boulton and would parallel the CN railway tracks to Gerrard and Carlaw. A ramp at Boulton Avenue would branch off the subway and take Queen and Kingston Road cars back to Queen Street.
There would have been 13 stations on the Queen line: Trinity Park, Bathurst, Spadina, Grange, York, City Hall (referring to what is today Old City Hall), Yonge, Church, Sherbourne, Parliament, Don, Broadview, and Logan. Queen cars would use the length of the subway as part of their run from Neville to Humber, while other routes (including Dundas, Kingston Road, Bloor and Danforth trippers) would be diverted into the subway for trips downtown. Two underground loops would turn these cars around, with cars from the west turning at Church Street and cars from the east turning at Simcoe.
This proposal was submitted to Toronto ratepayers for a vote on January 1, 1946 and approved by a wide margin. The proposal was conditional on a 20% subsidy of costs by the federal government, but a subsidy deal fell through when Ottawa and the province of Ontario could not agree on the details for a post-war employment program. Toronto and the TTC responded to this by scaling back the subway project, temporarily shelving the Queen line and focusing on the Yonge line instead. Construction began on the Yonge subway in 1949 with a streetcar-subway station roughed in beneath Queen station on the Yonge line. After the Yonge subway opened in 1954, attention turned to the east-west line, but things had changed since 1946.
For one thing, streetcars had fallen out of favour as a rapid transit medium, and the City of Toronto’s plans for a Queen subway now called for heavy-rail equipment to be used. For another, the TTC was having second thoughts about locating the cross-town line along Queen.
Queen versus Bloor
Politically, the City of Toronto wanted a subway on Queen Street. Queen was the main east-west street running through the downtown, and on that basis the east-west subway had to go there. However, the TTC’s figures showed that ridership on the BLOOR streetcar line was increasing rapidly, to almost 9000 passengers per direction per hour. Automobile traffic on Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue was increasing as well, pushing the multiple-unit PCCs to their limits, just as YONGE’s Witt trailer trains had been when the decision had been made to build the first subway beneath them.
Until the 1940s, the city had been developing along major streetcar routes, producing the upside-down “T” pattern of development. When the Second World War ended, this changed. The automobile enabled the growth of low-density developments far from the streetcar lines. The upside-down “T” disappeared (although Toronto’s city limits did not change) as Toronto sprawled east, west and north into the townships of Etobicoke, North York and Scarborough. For Etobicoke residents, both Bloor and Queen Streets (the latter accessed via Lakeshore Boulevard and, after 1958, the Queensway) were major thoroughfares connecting commuters to downtown Toronto. The Gardiner Expressway, opened in 1957, continued this pull of commuters to the south of Bloor Street.
To the east, however, the shoreline of Lake Ontario angled northeast, cutting Queen Street off from any eastward expansion. Kingston Road, paralleling the shoreline, channelled eastern commuters west for most of the century, but Danforth Road soon became a more convenient access route as Scarborough’s suburbs built north. Danforth Road cut through the centre of Scarborough, and channelled commuters southwest onto Danforth Avenue and Bloor Street. By the mid-1950s, several bus routes were connecting with BLOOR Streetcars at Luttrell Loop, compared to just one meeting the KINGSTON ROAD streetcar at Bingham loop.
So, the TTC felt it had no choice but to build the cross-town subway along the Bloor-Danforth corridor. But this change in plan was controversial. The City of Toronto, backed by the towns of Long Branch, New Toronto and Mimico, continued to push for a Queen subway. At one point, the Metropolitan Toronto planning board proposed a ‘flying U’ compromise, running from Keele along Bloor, Grace, Queen, Pape, and Danforth Avenue to Woodbine. Dundas would have had four subway stops in total had this route been built, and the TTC were hard pressed to name them. From west to east, these stations would have been named ‘Vincent’ (now Dundas West), Bellwoods Park, Dundas and Dagmar. This robbed the southern Etobicoke villages of Long Branch, New Toronto and Mimico of the possibility of direct subway service, and thus the compromise ended up alienating as many councillors as it attracted.
Approval, Design and Expansion
Eventually the TTC proposal won out. The northern suburbs favoured it, as did a number of councillors in the City of Toronto, who accepted the TTC’s more pragmatic approach. Metro Council approved the Bloor subway project at its January 1958 meeting. This was followed by approval from the Ontario Municipal Board in September 1958 and a final approval of financing arrangements by Metro council in April 1959. On November 16, 1959, Leslie Frost, the Prime Minister of Ontario, operated a power shovel to signal the start of construction on the UNIVERSITY SUBWAY, the first phase of the project. The total cost of construction, including the UNIVERSITY SUBWAY, was estimated to be $200 million.
The BLOOR-DANFORTH subway was to be built in three phases. The first, the UNIVERSITY line, would extend the YONGE SUBWAY west and north on University Avenue, beneath Queen’s Park, past the Royal Ontario Museum before it curved west to St. George Street. Phase two would open the BLOOR-DANFORTH line itself from St. George east to Greenwood. Phase three, to be opened in 1969, would move the termini two stations east to Woodbine and eight stations west to Keele. This staged approach was necessary as the cost of subway construction was rising beyond the ability of the TTC to finance it from the farebox. Metropolitan Toronto would have to step in to help, offering tax breaks and then subsidies in order to keep the construction on schedule. Eventually, provincial subsidies would enable the TTC to accelerate construction.
The BLOOR-DANFORTH subway was to be connected to the UNIVERSITY subway through a large double-track wye starting north of Museum station, with tracks branching east and west. The western branch would pass through the upper level of the double-decked St. George station while the eastern branch would pass through the lower deck of Bay station. These tracks would then connect with the Bloor tracks west of St. George and east of Bay.
It is not known, when the plan was to build the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway in three phases, whether the St. George to Greenwood section would have initially operated as a separate line, or interlined with the Yonge and University subways through Bay station. The province made this question academic in the early 1960s when they advanced the TTC $60 million to complete the Keele to Woodbine section of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway in one go.
During the early part of construction, maps show certain stations bearing different names than what exist today. Initially, Dundas West station was known as Vincent, Spadina station was referred to as Walmer and the station at Bay Street was listed as Yorkville. In the case of Dundas West, ‘Vincent’ was an attempt to pick a name that didn’t duplicate Dundas station on the Yonge line. The custom of using “alternative” names to avoid duplication of station names was begun with the UNIVERSITY subway. Vincent is the name of a short street near the station that hosted Vincent Loop, the western terminus for most King cars. ‘Vincent’ was eventually used, but to name the yard between Dundas West and Keele stations (which people commonly refer to as ‘Keele Yard’).
Yorkville was named after the neighbourhood instead of the street - in the end, “Bay” appeared on the station walls, with “Yorkville” used as a subtitle. There was a convention that “alternative” named stations like Queen’s Park, St. Patrick, Osgoode and St. Andrew on the University subway, be accompanied by the actual cross street name as a subtitle. Yorkville was the reverse of this convention and, after it, the practice has not been done again. The initial naming of Spadina as Walmer suggests that a design change went into the station soon after construction on the line began. When the Bloor subway opened, Spadina station had no exits onto Walmer Road. It finally got one on January 24, 2001, when a new exit opened off of the western end of the BLOOR-DANFORTH platform after two years of construction.
The BLOOR subway passes beneath the YONGE line, at the north end of Bloor station, and a new Yonge station was built to connect with it. The transferway between the BLOOR streetcar and the YONGE subway was abandoned and demolished. Today, the only evidence that a transferway existed here is the curve in the sidewalk on Bloor Street East. The Bloor-Yonge station complex would prove to be the primary transfer point between the two subway lines, handling as many as a million commuters daily.
Metropolitan Toronto purchased and expropriated more than 800 properties, about 70% of which were residential. The TTC was responsible for clearing the right of way. The BLOOR subway was built over eight miles, almost entirely north of Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue. In most places west of Main Street, the line is offset just far enough to run behind the buildings on the north side of Bloor or Danforth; often there is a chain of parking lots over the subway (as there also is over the Yonge subway between College and Bloor stations). To this day, all stations on the line are north of Bloor or Danforth except Kipling and Sherbourne, which are south of Bloor; the only area where the line actually runs under Bloor is the Prince Edward Viaduct.
Cut and cover construction was used throughout the route, with the exception of 2250 feet of tunnel between Yonge and Sherbourne stations, 1842 feet of tunnel between Lansdowne and Dundas West and the surface/elevated construction around Keele. There is also a short section (under 100 feet) of what looks like bored tunnel some distance west of Ossington station. Here, the two tracks don’t spread apart as normal for twin tubes, so there is a common straight centre wall in the otherwise round tunnels on that short section.
Bridges on the line include a 552-foot covered concrete bridge spanning the Rosedale Ravine, east of Sherbourne station. The subway also rises onto an embankment (with bridges over cross streets and a longer bridge over the TTC parking lot east of Keele Station) to cross a dip in the land past Dundas West station. As a result of this, Keele station became Toronto’s first elevated subway station with the street entrance and transfer facilities built below the subway platforms.
In terms of crossing the Don Valley, the TTC was fortunate to benefit from the foresight of a designer from the 1910s. Crossing the wide and deep Don Valley would have required an expensive bridge if it weren’t for Edmund Burke (architect) and Thomas Taylor (construction engineer) and their Prince Edward Viaduct. Spurred by the buzz around subway development in 1911, consulting engineers Jacob and Davies recommended to Burke and Thomas that a subway might run along Bloor Street in the future and the viaduct should have a provision for such a line. As a result, Thomas designed into the framework of his Bloor Street Bridge over the Don Valley a lower deck that could be used by subway trains crossing the valley. Underground streetcars were envisioned, but fortunately the designers did not stint on clearance. The Viaduct comprises three parts: two bridges and an embankment. On the west, the Rosedale section is 565 feet long and takes Bloor Street over the Rosedale Ravine. In the middle, the Bloor section travels along an embankment until it reaches the Don Valley, which is spanned by the 1620 foot Don section. The lower deck was available on both the Rosedale section and the Don section.
This proved a godsend to the TTC, as the only major change required (other than laying down reinforced concrete on the deck to house the trackbed) was at the west end of the Viaduct. Bloor Street’s bridge over the Rosedale Ravine, which is also part of the Viaduct, was also built with provision for a lower deck but this was unsuitable for the subway’s alignment. The sharp curve in Bloor Street at Parliament just west of the bridge would have been hard for subway cars to negotiate. As a result, the subway diverged from Bloor at Castle Frank, through Castle Frank station and onto the TTC’s own bridge over the Rosedale Ravine. This paled in comparison to what it would have cost to build a completely new bridge across the Don River for the subway.
To reduce noise, the TTC sprayed the lower portion of the tunnel walls and the exposed surfaces under the edge of platforms with asbestos fibre - a move they regretted years later when the problems of asbestos became widely known. In total, 9.5 route miles of track were laid, in addition to almost ten track miles within Greenwood and Vincent yards. These two yards were installed on the line to provide additional storage capacity, now that the size of the TTC’s subway fleet had exceeded Davisville’s ability to handle. Greenwood also featured a new maintenance centre that allowed repairs to subway trains to occur on the system itself, instead of requiring special shipments to Hillcrest Shops.
Scissors crossovers were placed to the east of Keele and to the west of Woodbine, as well as to the east of St. George. The St. George scissors crossover may be a leftover of the plan to open the Bloor-Danforth subway initially from St. George to Greenwood, but no scissors crossover exists at Greenwood. Between Greenwood and Donlands, a grade-separated double track wye was built to connect the line with Greenwood yards. There were also centre tracks placed between Christie and Ossington and between Broadview and Chester.
Additional subway entrances were provided at Keele, Lansdowne, Ossington, Bathurst, Bay and Sherbourne stations. These unattended secondary entrances featured full height automatic turnstiles which allowed access to the subway by adult token only. At the time, similar entrances were in place at Eglinton and St. George stations. Provisions were made for these entrances to be manned at certain times of the day. Initially only Keele and Bathurst’s secondary entrances were manned, the former during rush hours and the latter on afternoons from Monday through Saturday.
The Bloor-Danforth Subway Opens, Streetcar Routes Close
The opening of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway on February 26, 1966, doubled the number of stations on the Toronto subway network and resulted in the largest cutback of Toronto’s streetcar network since the YONGE line opened in 1954. The BLOOR streetcar was reduced to a Bloor shuttle running from Keele station to Jane Loop and a Danforth shuttle running from Woodbine station to meet Scarborough buses at Luttrell Loop. The HARBORD streetcar vanished, with different parts of its route replaced by extensions of existing services (such as the DUNDAS streetcar and the new 72 PAPE bus), or not replaced at all (such as the Dovercourt and Davenport segments). The COXWELL and PARLIAMENT streetcars were replaced by the 22 COXWELL and 65 PARLIAMENT buses respectively, and the BATHURST streetcar was merged with FORT with services on Adelaide and on Bathurst north of Bloor abandoned. All of this was part of the TTC’s streetcar abandonment policy, which foresaw the replacement of all streetcar service by subways or buses by 1980.
The BLOOR and DANFORTH streetcar shuttles had to be routed into Keele and Woodbine stations through new tracks installed before the subway opened. At Woodbine, Danforth streetcars turned right at a new T-intersection at Danforth and Cedarvale, turning into the station’s bus platforms at Strathmore Boulevard. The remains of these tracks can still be seen just outside of the Woodbine bus terminal.
At Keele station, the temporary streetcar loop was separate from the station’s bus loop; a retirement home now occupies the site. Streetcar passengers entered the station just inside the fare barrier of the Indian Grove / Indian Road / car park automatic entrance; from here a moving ramp led to one of the subway platforms. According to the March 1966 UCRS Newsletter, this conveyor belt was 4 feet wide and 100 feet long, rising 20 feet at a 12-degree angle and capable of carrying 7200 persons per hour at a speed of 90 feet per minute. Woodbine passengers had no such sidewalk, transferring from the temporary streetcar platform to the mezzanine level of the station via a special tunnel.
It is interesting that much was made of this new moving sidewalk at Keele, with the TTC promoting it in their flyers, but it was shut down and walled off when the subway was extended to Islington in 1968. You can spot the newer sections of wall, although they use the same tiles as the existing walls, because the curved tiles that had been at the top and sides of the openings remain. On what is now the eastbound platform, look at the wall about 100 feet from its eastern end; down below, by the base of the stairs connecting the platform to the secondary exit, look at the wall beside the base of the stairs. At this latter location, you will also see the locked door that leads to the former rampway. The moving sidewalk mechanism remains inside, untouched since 1968. Similarly, Woodbine’s tunnel was bricked off and is currently used for storage and staff lounge space.
The Wye and Lower Bay Station
For the first six months of operation, the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway was integrated with trains on the YONGE-UNIVERSITY line. Every second train departing from Eglinton ran through to St. George station to Keele and then reversed direction to go to Woodbine, or running through Bay station to Woodbine and then reversing direction to go to Keele. This meant that passengers could ride downtown or cross-town from any station on the Bloor-Danforth subway without changing trains, and that passengers on the YONGE-UNIVERSITY line could ride direct to any station on the Bloor-Danforth subway. To handle this, the TTC installed automatic destination signs at all stations and installed an Identra coil on each train.
An Identra coil is a metal loop about a foot across sticking out of the front right upper corner of the train. It features a small key-operated control with about 10 positions, adjusting the position of a magnet. In the approaches of all stations, black plates almost 2 feet square are set up to detect the coil as it passes. This sends a signal to the destination indicator boxes in the station ahead. The boxes sound a gong roughly ten seconds before the train arrives and the destination of the next train is displayed. The original Solari boxes used flipping-leaf technology (with a big leaf for the whole word, not independent letters) and showed KEELE, WOODBINE, or DOWNTOWN (not EGLINTON) for normal trains. The first boxes were installed at all southbound Yonge platforms, all northbound University platforms from Union to Museum, all eastbound platforms from Keele to Spadina, and all westbound platforms from Woodbine to Yonge. On the southbound Yonge platforms from Eglinton to Dundas, these boxes had the words “VIA DOWNTOWN” beneath the display.
Questions About Interlining
As early as March 1966, however, some were expressing concern about the feasibility of interlining. Indeed, the UCRS Newsletter reported that “under actual service conditions it may result in unavoidable slowdowns at the junction of the two lines; a breakdown or delay on one route will affect the entire system. Further, high operating costs may outweigh the advantages of the direct ride to downtown.”
A further problem existed at Bay and St. George, due to the design of these stations. To accommodate the wye, St. George and Bay stations were built with two levels. On one, outbound UNIVERSITY trains went to one of the two termini of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway, while the other platform hosted inbound UNIVERSITY trains taking passengers downtown. On the other level of the stations, BLOOR-DANFORTH trains operated eastbound and westbound to either the Keele or Woodbine terminals. For St. George station, the UNIVERSITY platforms were located on the upper level, while BLOOR-DANFORTH trains passed underneath. For Bay station, this arrangement was reversed. Passengers heading east from St. George, west from Bay, or downtown from either station had dedicated platforms for their respective destinations.
But westbound passengers at St. George, or eastbound ones at Bay, might find the next train on either of two platforms — on different levels. This inefficient arrangement suggests that the TTC was not wholly behind interlining. Other subway systems, like Montreal for instance, twist their tunnels to bring one track of a line over the other. When these double-decked tracks enter a transfer station, such as Lionel-Groulx, they let passengers off across the platforms from the double-decked tracks from the other line, reducing the need to go up or down a level in order to transfer between lines. If the TTC had gone this route, trains to Keele at St. George and Woodbine at Bay would be on the same level, and passengers wouldn’t have to wait between levels in order to be sure to catch the first train to their destination. With St. George as a terminus, however, the twisted arrangement would be the inefficient one: in this case, it would be passengers going downtown who would have to choose between two levels.
After six months, the TTC ran the BLOOR-DANFORTH and YONGE-UNIVERSITY subways separately for a trial period, and ran a survey to establish which type of operation was more convenient for passengers. The TTC claimed that, while a small number benefitted more from segregated operation than integrated operation, it was all the same to the overwhelming majority of riders (you can find additional commentary on the TTC’s survey here). On the grounds that segregated lines were easier to operate, the TTC decided to keep the two lines separate. YONGE-UNIVERSITY trains terminated at the upper level of St. George station (until the SPADINA SUBWAY opened in 1978), and the lower level of Bay was closed.
Thus the Gloucester subway cars were permanently confined to the YONGE-UNIVERSITY subway, after operating on the BLOOR-DANFORTH line for just first six months. They would only appear during movements to Greenwood Yard when Davisville was too full to handle them. They were a very rare sight indeed on the BLOOR-DANFORTH line after Wilson Yard opened in 1978. The removal of the slower Gloucesters from scheduled service on the BLOOR-DANFORTH line allowed the TTC to speed up service (as the newer cars could travel at higher speeds than the Gloucesters) and reduce running times. As a result, the TTC ended up with an extra 58 cars and were able to operate the extensions of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway without expanding the subway fleet. This speedup ended in 1981 when the TTC ordered all trains operated at “low rate” in order to save money.
Even though integrated operation was dropped, the TTC continued to make use of its destination indicator boxes. These were set to show KEELE, WOODBINE and ST. GEORGE at first but later proved useful for alerting passengers to short turning trains when the YONGE line was extended beyond Eglinton, and the SPADINA line was added to the system. Boxes had to be moved to other platforms or new ones added when the services were put into place. Eventually new boxes using flip-dot or LED technology were also added, especially when the SPADINA line was built. However, these boxes have fallen into disuse.
Extending Eastward and Westward
The decision to extend the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway west to Islington and east to Warden was made while construction was still going on the first section of line. Now that the goals set down by the 1946 referendum on subway construction were being largely achieved, Metro Council was deeply divided over what the next steps should be to improve public transit throughout the city. The City of Toronto councillors returned to the proposal for a subway under Queen Street, while the suburban councillors demanded improved bus services to their areas and the elimination of the zone fare system instead.
In order to “maintain an uninterrupted program of subway construction”, Metro Chairman Frederick Gardiner discovered that it was not only sensible, but politically easier to extend the established subway lines into the suburbs than it was to get Metro Council to agree on the location of a new line. Extending the established lines was cheaper than building from scratch, and it fulfilled some of the suburban municipalities’ demands for improved transit service.
The Province of Ontario assisted with a grant of an additional $10 million to Metro Toronto in 1965. Work on the extensions began on March 1, 1965. Initially, the two westernmost stations were planned to be placed at Prince Edward (five blocks east of Royal York) and Montgomery (two blocks west of Royal York) instead of at Royal York and Islington as is now the case. As work on the Keele-to-Woodbine section continued, the decision was made to move these two stations to their current locations, as Royal York and Islington were far more major suburban thoroughfares than Prince Edward or Montgomery. Prince Edward and Montgomery Road did serve the east and west ends of the Kingsway shopping district, but it is possible that the TTC felt that a single station at Royal York (particularly one with two entrances) could serve this business district just as effectively.
West of Keele, the subway dove underground and surfaced again past High Park, as it dealt with the hilly terrain in old West Toronto. It dove underground again before reaching Runnymede station and continued west to Jane. After Jane, the tunnel was curved to parallel Bloor Street and, after some distance, emerging onto a bridge over the Humber River, passing through the Borough of York and entering the Borough of Etobicoke at Old Mill station. A scissors crossover was installed east of Jane station, to allow for short turns in case anything happened to the Humber River bridge to cut service.
Old Mill station was the first station in the system to be partially elevated and partially underground. Built immediately to the west of the bridge over the Humber River (the combined length of bridge including the elevated part of the station is 800 feet), it stuck out of the side of the valley. The underground portion was built to the same design as the other stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway, following the same tile patterns. The above-ground sections featured glass walls providing excellent views of the valley.
After going through tunnel again, past Royal York, the line re-emerged onto the surface in order to cross Mimico Creek over a 310-foot-long bridge. The line dove underground again on the approach to Islington, with a centre track between the two service tracks existing half-in and half-out of this final section of tunnel, producing a unique triple portal on the subway. After a scissors crossover, the western extension terminated at Islington station.
To the east, the Danforth extension continued underground past Woodbine station and Main Street station, emerging above ground near Victoria Park and the Taylor Creek ravine. Victoria Park was elevated, with the street exits and bus terminal located below platform level. East of Victoria Park, the line ran at grade through Warden Woods and the Taylor Creek ravine to Warden station, adjacent to the CN Geco subdivision spur and the abandoned right-of-way of the Canadian Northern. Warden station also had street exits and a bus terminal below platform level. To the west of the station was a scissors crossover and, added at a later date, a spur running next to the CN railway tracks. This spur was intended for the delivery of equipment by CN rail, but it was rarely used, with more convenient railway tracks located near Greenwood Yard and Hillcrest shops.
Celebrating the Subway’s First Stop in the Suburbs
The first subway extensions outside of the City of Toronto proper were celebrated with great ceremony and pomp. The opening ceremonies started first at Warden station in Scarborough and then Islington station in Etobicoke. The mayors of Etobicoke and Scarborough each drove subway trains through paper barriers announcing the subway’s arrival into their boroughs.
When the BLOOR-DANFORTH extensions opened to the public on May 11, 1968, more streetcar cutbacks occurred, though not as extensive as what took place in 1966. The portion of the DUNDAS streetcar operating north of Dundas West station was replaced by the 40 JUNCTION trolley bus while the BLOOR and DANFORTH shuttle streetcars were abandoned outright, finishing the last remnants of the once great BLOOR streetcar. Other than these streetcar routes, the 1968 subway extensions did not come as close to duplicating or intersecting the old streetcar network as the first segment of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway had done.
In 1968 Metropolitan Toronto still had a two-zone fare system. The inverted “T” shape of the City of Toronto, plus just enough of the suburbs to make a smooth, roughly semicircular shape, formed Zone 1; everywhere else was Zone 2. So the subway crossed the zone boundary at Jane and Main Street stations. But applying the zonal fare system to the subway would have been inconvenient. Either passengers would all have had to carry some sort of ticket while riding, or Zone 2 stations would have to use a payment-on-exit system, which would also have constrained the fare structure.
Instead the TTC elected to make the entire subway, including the parts in Etobicoke and Scarborough, part of Zone 1. Passengers living near a suburban subway station and riding downtown would pay only the Zone 1 fare, but those transferring from suburban buses would have to pay for both zones.
Since the area inside the subway fare barrier was in Zone 1, but the stations’ bus terminals were in Zone 2, the bus terminal had to be outside the barrier in each station. At the boundary stations, Jane and Main Street, Zone 2 buses and Zone 1 buses or streetcars came together. Rather than the complexity of separate terminals, a single terminal outside of the station’s fare-paid zone was used in both cases. At Royal York and Main Street stations, the fare booths were placed on the mezzanine level between the bus terminal and the subway platforms. When the zone fare system was eliminated, the TTC moved these fare booths into the bus terminal, between the main entrance and the westernmost bus bay doors. This is why the mezzanine levels of Royal York and Main Street stations are especially long.
Islington had more difficulty in expanding its fare paid zone to include its bus terminals, primarily because the TTC did not want to move the collector booths from their original location. The fare barriers were forced to meander in order to separate passengers entering from the street exits from the bus terminals. This was solved when the entire fare area was reconfigured and the collector booths moved during renovations in 1996. In the case of Old Mill station, buses turned around right outside the main entrance to the station, making the expansion of the fare zone to cover the bus stop impossible. A similar problem occurred at Jane station, with the bus terminal and the street entrance being too close to each other to easily separate. To the east, Victoria Park and Warden stations were quickly converted to include their bus terminals in their fare paid zones.
The Queen Subway’s Last Gasps
After the construction of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway, a Queen line remained the City of Toronto’s choice as the next rapid transit priority. Maps in the late 1960s show a proposed line running south from Greenwood or Donlands station to Queen Street and west along Queen to Roncesvalles. At this time, the Queen subway proposal competed with a proposal to run a subway line up the median of the Spadina Expressway. This option was favoured by most of the suburban municipalities, especially the village of Forest Hill and the townships of York and North York. Again, the matter was put off by extending another of the established subway lines, in this case YONGE north of Eglinton. The debate raged on while construction crews brought that subway from Eglinton to Finch.
Proponents of Spadina criticized the Queen subway for providing rapid transit to an area that was already effectively served by the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway. Spadina, these supporters argued, brought rapid transit closer to underserviced north-western Metro. Proponents of the Queen line criticized that the Spadina line was unlikely to attract as many riders, separated from stores, offices and apartments by expressway lanes on either side.
The issue was settled after 1967. In that year, the Ontario government completed a review of Metropolitan Toronto and ordered that it be restructured. The thirteen member municipalities were consolidated down to six, with Long Branch, Mimico and New Toronto merging into Etobicoke, Weston merging into York, Leaside merging into East York and Swansea and Forest Hill merging into Toronto.
The restructuring also redistributed Metro Council seats to each member municipality according to their percentage of population within Metro. The suburban municipalities had grown considerably since 1954, such that their combined populations were larger than that of the City of Toronto. As a result, the suburban municipalities received a majority of Metro Council seats. The Spadina subway was quickly chosen as the TTC’s next priority for subway construction. The Queen line was left to languish. Queen remained on the books as the priority that would follow after Spadina’s opening. In the late 1960s, an opening date for Queen was set at 1980, at which time the remainder of Toronto’s streetcar network would be abandoned.
The Final Bloor-Danforth Extensions
However, the political will to build the Queen subway faded after 1972. The high costs of subway construction were making Metropolitan Toronto reconsider the merits of new subways. As the new SPADINA SUBWAY reached its last stages of construction, Metro council made the decision to extend the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway one station east from Warden to Kennedy and one station west from Islington to Kipling. This $110 million extension project ($71.4 million for Kennedy and $38.6 million for Kipling) was touted at the time as the last subway extension to be built in Toronto for some time. From this point on, said literature released by the TTC, further rapid transit would come in the form of LRTs, such as what was planned for Scarborough at the time.
Although the Kennedy extension followed the underused railway that paralleled the subway tracks southwest of Warden station, complaints from local residents as well as problems in crossing a number of railway spur lines forced the TTC to build the line underground. After running northwest along the tail track from Warden station, the line entered a cut-and-cover tunnel that was longer than the entire UNIVERSITY subway. An emergency exit was built at Birchmount Road, halfway through this tunnel, but no provision was made for a future station at this site.
Kennedy station was a large complex located west of Kennedy Road and south of the Eglinton Avenue bridge over the Canadian National Uxbridge subdivision. The station had four levels — two below ground — with the subway platforms occupying the lowest level. A large mezzanine located above the subway platforms offered exits to Eglinton Avenue (or, more accurately, a service road linking to the Eglinton Avenue bridge), as well as commuter parking lots (with 585 spaces) and a Kiss ‘n’ Ride facility. Above the mezzanine was a large bus terminal, serving several bus routes. Above the bus terminal was an elevated station designed for the proposed Scarborough LRT.
In Etobicoke, the run to Kipling extended the subway tunnels west from Islington station up a ramp to emerge north of the Canadian Pacific main line. The tracks then turned southwest, crossing Bloor Street over their own bridge, and paralleled the CP railway tracks through an industrial area to a new, two-level station located west of the Kipling Avenue bridge.
Kipling was the first station to have the tracks at ground level (not counting the ones in the Allen Road median where the local ground level is depressed). The station’s bus terminal is located directly above the subway platform. At the time of its opening, Kipling station’s only public entrance was at the western end of the station — the side farthest from Kipling Avenue itself. Connecting passages linked the ticketing area to commuter parking lots north and south of the station, as well as a newly built GO Train station (opened in 1981). Walk-in passengers accessed Kipling station from Aukland Drive at St. Albans Road or by crossing the southern parking lot from Munster Drive ((check this)). To access the bus terminal, buses climbed a ramp from St. Albans Road at Aukland to reach a terminal located above the subway platforms, and exit by another ramp onto St. Albans.
Kipling Versus Kennedy
As an extension, Kennedy was significantly more useful than Kipling, as it drove deeper into Scarborough and shortened a number of commutes. Although a number of west-end buses were rerouted to Kipling station, Mississauga Transit buses continued to use Islington station, and Islington continues to benefit from a substantial traffic of local area, walk-in riders. Plans were made for a regional bus terminal at Kipling, but for years Mississauga refused to help fund the project, criticizing the location as too far south for its Burnhamthorpe and Malton buses to easily access.
While Kipling provides a direct connection with the Milton GO line, such a connection was possible at Islington as well, although it would have been via a long walkway, or via a new entrance built into the western end of Islington station. There are some who believe that the Kipling extension was designed to placate Etobicoke when the decision was made to take the subway further into Scarborough. However, the TTC were also considering building a new and larger subway yard on land the commission had acquired west of Kipling station. A tunnel-like enclosure and track allowance on the north side of the station is a provision for a track running into this yard, although this yard was never built.
Like Kennedy station, provision was made for a connection with a suburban LRT network at Kipling station. The bus bays at Kipling occupy only the northern side of the upper level. Along the southern side, a glass wall reveals an empty track bed running along the roof above the southern subway track. This area was to be the loading platform for a possible Etobicoke LRT, running from Kipling station to Pearson Airport. This proposal never got past the planning stage.
Kipling and Kennedy stations opened to the public on November 22, 1980. The day before, a special train of H-5 cars (5807-5806-5791-5790-5804-5805) left Davisville station at 12:40 p.m. and proceeded through Lower Bay station to Warden where Scarborough Mayor Gus Harris and Ontario Minister of Community and Commercial Relations Frank Drea were waiting. At 1:30 p.m. the two politicians flipped a switch to work a ceremonial signal to clear the train to Kennedy station. At Kennedy, speeches were given and a commemorative plaque unveiled.
The train then left Kennedy at 2:20 p.m. and ran express to Islington, stopping only at Warden and Yonge (the latter unscheduled, to let one rider off). At Islington, the same signal ceremony was performed by Etobicoke Mayor Dennis Flynn, followed by the final run to Kipling station. Once speeches were completed here, the special train departed Kipling to enter regular service at Islington around 4:10 p.m.
The Death of the Queen Subway
With the opening of Kipling and Kennedy stations, subway construction came to a halt. It was the first time since 1959 that work was not continuing on a subway somewhere in Metropolitan Toronto. Kipling and Kennedy stations would be the last new subway stations to open on the system until North York Centre opened in 1987, and the last extensions to open until the SPADINA line was pushed north to Downsview in 1996.
In the early 1980s, the search was on for a cheaper rapid transit technology that could serve the lower density suburbs of Toronto. The SCARBOROUGH RT was supposed to provide this, but the provincial government switched a plan to build a network of high-speed streetcars on grade-separated right-of-way with a high-tech mini-subway line using linear-induction motor technology. The resulting line proved to offer none of the hoped for savings, and shifted the political debate on rapid transit back to subways.
By this time, it was felt that building a subway beneath Queen would be prohibitively expensive, but there was a potential echo. In 1984, Metropolitan Toronto put together a plan called Network 2011 proposal, which proposed the phased-in construction of new subways beneath Sheppard Avenue, Eglinton Avenue and from Pape or Donlands station on the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway line to King or Union station on the YONGE subway line. Thus the child of the Queen subway had been born in the minds of Toronto politicians, and it was called the Downtown Relief Line.
The Network 2011 proposal ran into difficulty in 1985 when the provincial government changed and soured to the high costs of rapid transit construction. With a lack of political will preventing the province from offering hard cash for subway construction, political support for the Downtown Relief Line wavered. Politicians favoured building subways in the vote-rich suburbs. Modifications to Bloor/Yonge station and a major recession in the early 1990s reduced the immediate need for a relief line. The issue would languish for decades, only reemerging near 2010 as increasing ridership again pushed the Yonge/Bloor interchange dangerously close to capacity and with Metrolinx considering the line as a means to serve a proposed satellite commuter station on Front Street between Bathurst and Spadina.
Changes to the Bloor-Danforth Subway Since Opening
As with the YONGE subway, the BLOOR-DANFORTH line did not remain static upon opening. The extension of the line to Islington and Warden stations closed the streetcar terminals at Keele and Woodbine and shuttered the connecting tunnels. The elimination of the TTC’s two-zone fare system meant changes for Islington, Royal York, Warden, Victoria Park and Main Street stations as the bus terminals were incorporated into the fare paid zones to create seamless transfers between the subway and connecting bus routes. The opening of the SPADINA subway added a new set of subway platforms, a long tunnel (with a moving walkway) to connect to the original station, and a new bus terminal and entrance onto Spadina Road. The arrival of the SPADINA streetcar line in 1997 required the construction of a streetcar terminal in the mezzanine level of the station.
As the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway continued to operate with increasing ridership, the line started to show its age and come in need of renovation. Of all the stations on the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway line, only Islington, Royal York, High Park, Keele, Lansdowne, Ossington, Bathurst, St. George, Bay, Yonge, Sherbourne, Victoria Park, Warden and Kennedy had multiple exits when they opened. As ridership and safety standards increased, it became clear that additional exits needed to be built at the other stations, both to improve accessibility, and for fire safety. By the 1990s, it was also clear that work would have to be done to add elevators at all stations to ensure the whole line was wheelchair accessible by 2025.
Elevators were installed at Bloor/Yonge station in 1996, followed by Spadina station in 1997, Kipling, St. George, Kennedy and Bathurst stations in 1999, Dundas West station in 2002, Main Street station in 2004, Broadview and Jane stations in 2006, Victoria Park station in 2011 and Pape station in 2013. Dufferin station is expected to follow in 2014 along with Coxwell, Ossington and Woodbine in 2015 and Royal York, Bay and Runnymede in 2016.
A second entrance (automatic entry) wasadded to Spadina station (from the western end of the platform to Walmer Road) around May 2000. Kipling station (from the eastern end of the bus terminal to St. Albans Road) received a second entrance in November 2011, including an extension to its bus terminal platform as well as a pedestrian bridge leading to a barrier free passenger pick-up area and taxi stand. In addition, second exits were added to Broadview station in the summer of 2009 and Castle Frank station in December 2012, providing a separate path from the subway platforms to the respective bus terminals. Pape and Dufferin stations added separate exits (to Lipton Avenue and Russett Avenue respectively) in 2013. Between 2008 and 2011, Victoria Park station underwent extensive renovations, replacing its old bus terminal, adding new exits, windows and a green roof; this renovation won National Sustainable Communities award from the Federation of Canadian Municipalities.
Some of these changes have not gone smoothly, however. After briefly opening in the summer of 2009, Broadview station’s second exit closed due to persistent problems with water seepage. Residents complained about the loss of the local park near the streetcar loop due to staged construction equipment. Other area residents objected to the TTC’s handling of its plans to expropriate property for its secondary exits at Greenwood and Donlands stations, saying that they had been notified late, and given almost no time for proper consultation.
In April 2013, the TTC decided to take a novel approach to try and catch up on delayed renovations at Pape station. After providing riders with some background information, they asked riders to vote on their preferred approach: whether to continue to schedule work around the open station, or close the station over successive weekends, or to close the station for twelve days straight. Over 52% of 3,000 respondents favoured closing the station for twelve days straight. After the initial closure period was called off due to a delay with one of the subcontractors, Pape station closed on August 19, 2013, with trains passing through the station without stopping, and connecting buses diverting to Donlands and Broadview stations. On August 31, Pape station reopened, with substantial progress having been made on the renovation.
The renovation work planned for many stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway between 2008 and 2025 call for the replacement of the stations’ original tiles with new patterns that break the uniform look of the subway line that existed when the extensions to Islington and Warden opened. While some architectural critics have likened the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway, with its tile work, to “the world’s longest bathroom”, other critics were upset at the casual displacement of the line’s history. TTC Commissioners, in approving the planned renovations of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway stations, decided to maintain the original look of the subway at four of the line’s stations (High Park, Keele, Coxwell and Woodbine). Renovations in 2013 which added elevators and second exits to Dufferin and Pape stations also significantly altered the appearance of the stations’ tile work.
Some station reconstructions have proven particularly challenging to even start. At the turn of the millennium, the TTC expressed an interest in building a second exit connecting the eastern end of the subway platform at Dundas West with Bloor station on the Georgetown GO line. These plans were thwarted when the property owner of the Crossroads development, a mall and apartment complex located above the station, proved unwilling to negotiate a deal. The planned connection languished until 2011 when Metrolinx began work on the Union-Pearson Express, a premium express train connecting Union station with Pearson International Airport, with intermediate stops at Bloor and Weston. The reconstruction of Bloor station was to include new parking, a Kiss ‘n’ Ride facility, and the desired second exit at Dundas West station. By 2013, however, it was clear that difficult negotiations with the Crossroads development would delay the opening of such a connection until after the launch of the Union-Pearson Express service in 2015.
The proposed reconstructions of Islington and Warden stations may prove more challenging still. These sprawling complexes are showing their age, but their size and design makes them the most difficult to make accessible. Both feature the multi-platform bus terminals of Victoria Park station, and bus-supporting concrete decks that need replacement. Changes to the station may require completely rebuilt bus terminals. As a result, Islington and Warden are cited as the last stations on the Toronto subway network to be made accessible, with a planned completion date of 2025.
The Future of Bloor-Danforth and Queen
For years, the prospects for expanding the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway appeared limited. To the east, the SCARBOROUGH RT provided the link between the eastern terminal and the Scarborough City Centre, effectively blocking the line in that direction. No such block exists to the west of Kipling, but densities drop off dramatically as the area becomes more industrial and suburban. When Metropolitan Toronto approved the Network 2011 plan, the proposal called for a subway along Eglinton West to the Mississauga border. The BLOOR-DANFORTH subway was not touched.
In 1989, the Ontario Liberal government of David Petersen launched the “Let’s Move” plan which, among other things, proposed extending the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway southwest from Kipling, via the CP railway tracks and then underground, to Sherway Gardens mall. Other proposals called for an extension further west to Dixie GO station on the Milton Line. Studies on this extension suggested that ridership would be light, however, without an expensive further extension to the Mississauga Civic Centre, and the political will for this extension has faded.
In 2008, city councillor Peter Milczyn asked TTC staff to study the potential costs of extending the subway west from Kipling, not to Sherway, but to the intersection of East Mall and Dundas, near Cloverdale Mall, possibly to support a high density development in the area. Although much of the route could be built on the surface paralleling the Canadian Pacific tracks, the report looked at an alignment that would have put the tracks in a tunnel for most of the route, which significantly increased the costs of the proposed extension. The idea has not been raised again since.
In some ways, the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway found itself suffering from the same geographic issues that made the Queen subway obsolete. Running through the south of the amalgamated city of Toronto, it was too far away from neighbourhoods in the north of the city to make it convenient for true cross-town travel. Instead, in 2011, Metrolinx started construction on the underground EGLINTON LRT.
But things changed in 2010. The election of Rob Ford as mayor of Toronto brought in an administration that was far less friendly to the use of LRTs. As a political struggle commenced on council between those who favoured LRTs and those who favoured more expensive subways, the need to replace the aging SCARBOROUGH RT provided a battleground issue. At the time, Metrolinx had committed to shutting down the line in 2015, rebuilding it and replacing it with an LRT linked to the EGLINTON LRT in 2020 (the Scarborough LRT would likely have opened in 2018).
In June 2012, city councillor and chair of the TTC Karen Stintz, along with Scarborough councillor Glenn de Baeremaeker brought forward a rapid transit network proposal called “One City”. Among the proposals was a call to replace the SCARBOROUGH RT with an extension of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway instead of an LRT. At the time, the theory went that the proposed subway extension would only cost $500 million more than the costs of converting the SCARBOROUGH RT to LRT technology. If the City of Toronto could raise the funds to cover this difference, could not the subway extension be built instead?
Critics of this plan noted that the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway extension would likely have to follow a different alignment, due to the position and east-west alignment of Kennedy station. The tunnel would travel east on Eglinton and north on McCowan to Sheppard Avenue, with stops at Lawrence, Ellesmere (Scarborough Centre) and Sheppard. The LRT would be longer and have more stops, enabling the line to serve more people.
The Scarborough subway extension proposal was brought to council on October 8, 2013, along with a planned property tax levy to cover the additional cost of construction. By then, studies indicated that the proposed extension could cost as much as a billion dollars more than the previously planned Scarborough LRT, and would open five years later. Despite this, the motion to ask the provincial government to stop work on the Scarborough LRT and build a subway extension instead carried 24-20.
Subway versus Subway
The Ontario Minister of Transportation, Glen Murray, further muddied the waters by suggesting that the subway extension could follow the path of the SCARBOROUGH RT, rebuilding Kennedy station to a new alignment, and offering stops only at Lawrence East and Scarborough Centre stations. As this debate was going on, Mayor Ford announced, on September 22, 2013, that he had secured a commitment from Prime Minister Stephen Harper to cover a third of the cost of the city’s planned extension.
As of the time of this writing (January 2014), the matter is still unresolved. Construction on the BLOOR-DANFORTH extension likely will not begin until 2018. On January 14, 2014, mayoral candidate (and former city councillor) David Soknacki promised to rescind the proposal, and revert back to the LRT proposal, as it existed at the beginning of 2013.
As for the Downtown Relief Line, the descendant of the Queen subway, it has Metrolinx’s support, but no funding as of 2014, and it too has been caught up in the political infighting that has complicated the question of the Scarborough LRT. Many politicians on Toronto city council agree that the line is needed, although Mayor Rob Ford stated that he felt subways should be extended into the suburbs first because downtown Toronto “has enough subways already.”
Some politicians and grassroots interests have suggested renaming the Downtown Relief Line as the Don Mills line or the Don River line to remove “Downtown” from its name, and highlight the fact that the project would benefit suburban residents as much as, if not more than, downtown residents.
The BLOOR-DANFORTH subway was born in political controversy and debate as the interests of Toronto fought over where it should go. While it has served millions of Torontonians for decades since it’s opening, it looks as though that same political controversy and debate will continue to surround the line for many years to come.
2 Bloor-Danforth Subway Image Archive
T-1 train set arrives in Kipling Station, moving at the ground level. A bus, seen at the upper right corner of this picture, leaves Kipling bus terminal constructed above the subway station. Photo by Roman Fomin on January 5, 2012.
GO train meets two T-1 class subway trains and Canadian Pacific freight train just before Kipling overpass during heavy snow storm of January 27, 2012. Captured by Roman Fomin.
(Above) Felix Tse took this shot of RTS bus 1000 poking out of an Islington station bus bay.
Louis Swanson snapped this picture of Old Mill station and the Humber River bridge under construction in September 1965.
Two years later, in September 1967, Louis Swanson returned to this spot and snapped the progress on Old Mill station. Opening is just eight months way. In the meantime, a highrise has sprung up. Image courtesy the John Knight collection.
Louis Swanson snapped this image of H1 train led by car #5381 leaving High Park station. This view shows the station's Parkview Gardens secondary exit in September 1968. Image courtesy the John Knight collection.
As 6 a.m. approaches on February 26, 1966, the first eastbound BLOOR-DANFORTH subway prepares to leave Keele station. Railfans like photographer John F. Bromley had been snapping pictures of last streetcar runs all night, and were bleary-eyed but ready to capture the first run of the new subway.
On May 10, 1968, the day before the extension of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway from Keele to Islington, Robert McMann snapped this shot of the three surface transit loops of Keele and Dundas West station. TTC GM "Old Look" bus #1571 can be seen filling in on the 89 WESTON route, while A7-class PCC #4437 delivers passengers on the BLOOR shuttle. Meanwhile KING and DUNDAS PCCs deliver and pick up passengers at Dundas West station in the distance. Vincent Yard lies in between. Image courtesy John Knight.
George Davidson took this shot of crews working on the scissors crossover east of Keele Station, early in the year 2000. Vincent (Keele) Yard is visible in the background.
During work to replace the scissors crossover, the replacement tracks were stored on the commuter lot east of Keele Station (bolted together in their proper layout). This shot shows the bridge leading into the station structure. Photo by George Davidson.
Louis Swanson snapped this picture of the original entrance to Spadina station, on the west side of Spadina Road north of Bloor Street. This shot was taken around October 1975 and is courtesy the John Knight collection.
Here, we see the main entrance to Spadina station, located on the east side of Spadina Road, just north of Bloor Street. From 1978 to 1997, this terminal played host to the 77 SPADINA bus route, as well as less-frequent services heading to the north. Today, only the 127 DAVENPORT stops here. The 510 SPADINA loads below. The 70s architecture of this building is clear. This image was taken by Secondarywaltz on January 20, 2012 and is used in accordance with his Creative Commons License.
An H-4 pulls into the westbound platform of St. George station. University trains are rumbling above. Photo by David Cavlovic.
This Toronto Archives photograph of Sherbourne station shows Gloucester equipment, and a high class of clientele. The subway had a number of supporters in the exclusive Rosedale neighbourhood, who made great use of it during its early years.
The street entrance to Castle Frank station, complete with cupola-like dome. Photo by David Cavlovic.
The second exit from Castle Frank station, which opened in 2012, taken by photographer Secondarywaltz on May 20, 2013. The image is used in accordance with his Creative Commons License.
Another shot of Broadview station, showing the tile patterns and ceiling structure. Photo by David Cavlovic.
Chester station has the second lowest ridership of any station on the BLOOR-DANFORTH SUBWAY (after Old Mill) with just 6,760 passengers passing through its gates on an average weekday (2013 numbers). Its appearance has not changed significantly since it opened in 1966. James Bow took this photograph on the 50th anniversary of the opening, February 25, 2016.
Chester station's newsstand remained vacant for years due to the station's low ridership, until an artists collective raised funds to re-open it "to revitalize this dormant commercial space into an alternative newsstand and artists space." The newsstand became the focal point for a grassroots celebration of the BLOOR-DANFORTH SUBWAY's 50th anniversary. Photo taken by James Bow on February 25, 2016.
Chester station still has its original turnstiles, fifty years later. This image was snapped by James Bow on February 25, 2016.
Pape station bus platform, looking west to Pape Street. Before the renovations in 2013, this is the last station on the subway network where passangers are allowed to walk across a bus driveway. This photograph from 2000 is by David Cavlovic.
The exit to Coxwell station is well-contained and functional. We see the general waiting area for buses, the stairs and escalator to trains, the fare collection area and the exit to Strathmore Blvd. Photo by David Cavlovic.
John F. Bromley managed to get this shot of the westbound tunnel at the east end of Woodbine station, facing east, on February 19, 1966, days before the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway opened. The tracks continue to a temporary plywood wall protecting the extension to Warden, which was already under construction. Photo donated from the Pete Coulman collection.
Victoria Park station. Like Keele, the tracks are located above the street entrance and the bus terminal level. Photo by David Cavlovic.
Louis Swanson snapped this picture of the Warden station bus terminal around September 1968. This image is courtesy the John Knight collection.
T-1 class train (5003-5002-5127-5126-5100-5101) pulls into Warden Station on March 15, 2013. Photo by Roman Fomin.
Kennedy station's large mezzanine level. Photo by David Cavlovic.
The bus terminal level of Kennedy station. Photo by David Cavlovic.
An H-2 train sits in the Kennedy tail track. Photo by David Cavlovic.
Next see the North Yonge extensions.
Thanks to Mark Brader and Scott Haskill for correcting this web page and offering additional information.
- Bloor-Danforth Subway Extensions to Kennedy and Kipling, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), November 1980.
- Bromley, John F., and Jack May, Fifty Years of Progressive Transit, Electric Railroaders’ Association, New York (New York), 1978.
- Brown, James A. and Brian West, ‘All about the Bloor-Danforth Subway’ UCRS Newsletter, March 1966, p50-56, The Upper Canada Railway Society, Toronto (Ontario), 1966.
- Church, Elizabeth, and Kaleigh Rogers. “Toronto Council Votes for Scarborough Subway ExtensionAdd to …” The Globe and Mail. The Globe and Mail, 8 Oct. 2013. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
- “Downtown Toronto Has ‘enough Subways Already,’ Mayor Rob Ford says.” National Post News Downtown Toronto Has Enough Subways Already Mayor Rob Ford says Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.
- Progress Report No 5: Bloor-Danforth-University Subway, Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), July 1964.
- “TTC Plans to “diversify” - and Destroy - its Heritage.” TTC Plans to “diversify” - and Destroy - its Heritage. Joe Clark, n.d. Web. 16 Jan. 2014.