The Abandoned Streetcar Shuttle Connection Passages

As reported in the article entitled A History of Subways on Bloor and Queen Streets, when the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in February 1966, the remains of the Bloor streetcar continued to operate from the new subway’s terminal stations to the old streetcar termini. This way, the TTC could continue to use surplus streetcars to link the subway with several suburban bus routes, rather than extend those bus routes.

The new Bloor and Danforth shuttle streetcars did not use the bus terminals at Keele and Woodbine stations in order to pick up and drop off passengers. In both cases, temporary streetcar loops and platforms were built. At Keele, the streetcar loop was built at the eastern end of the station almost two blocks away from the Keele Street entrance and bus terminal, and passengers entered the station just inside the fare barrier of the Indian Grove / Indian Road / car park automatic entrance. Keele passengers were even treated to a moving ramp running between the temporary platform and what is now the eastbound platform of the subway. Danforth shuttles turned up new tracks laid on Cedarvale Avenue and Strathmore Boulevard to a loading area just east of the Woodbine station bus terminal. Passengers disembarking here walked through a special tunnel that emerged at the mezzanine level of the station, between the stairs leading to the two subway platforms.

Despite the TTC’s going as far as to build special tunnels and even a moving walkway, these amenities were to be short-lived. Even as the first segment of the Bloor-Danforth subway opened, the eastern and western extensions to Islington and Warden stations were already well under construction. On May 11, 1968, these extensions opened, ending service on the Bloor and Danforth streetcar shuttles. The temporary loops and platforms were removed, and the special tunnels were walled off and forgotten.

These photographs, donated anonymously, show that these remnants of the Bloor-Danforth subway’s early history are still in existence, although unknown to most people travelling the line.


Entrance

Let us look at Keele, first. At the Indian Grove / Indian Road / car park automatic entrance, the old tunnel can still be accessed through this doorway. The ramp travels parallel to the stairs seen on the right, but at a much lower angle. The streetcar platform was beyond the glass wall visible at left, and the stairs to the subway is on the right.

Looking Up

This is what you would see today at the bottom of the ramp. Note that the ramp is entirely in place, though not operating, and it could be safely walked from bottom to top.

Halfway up, looking down

This is what you would see, halfway up the ramp and looking down. Note the disrepair of the ceiling.

At the top, looking down

The top of the ramp opens up into a bay area.

Entering the station

This bay area is at the platform level, now walled off. Note the sixties-era garbage can and the mint-condition sign still in place.

Public Face

This slightly indented area of Keele’s eastbound platform wall, near the stairs to the Indian Grove exit, is the other side of the wooden wall just shown. It’s now the only evidence on the platform that the passageway ever existed.

The Bottom

The bottom of the ramp has also been walled off, with this doorway put in place to provide access.

Woodbine

Woodbine’s tunnel was wider than Keele’s and featured no moving sidewalks. It has been split into two sections for storage and staff lounge space. This is what one sees upon entering from the station.

Opening Out

To the left of the entrance, you will note that the entrance has been sealed off with concrete blocks. Note that the tunnel opened out onto the mezzanine area.

Telephone Booths

Telephone booths still exist on the south side of this tunnel, though the payphones were ripped out long ago.

The Halfway Door

The door between the staffroom area and the storage area of the passage.

Through the door

This is the first thing you will see once you go through the door. The tunnel continues a short distance, and then mounts a small flight of stairs before angling to the right (south). As you can see, the tiles have all been ripped out

Storage

Some of the items currently being stored in the passage.

Up the Stairs

Going up the stairs, you can see the passage continue for a short distance before ending.

Up the Stairs

The end of the passage, with a concrete wall blocking the rest of the way.

We hope you have enjoyed this little tour of the TTC’s forgotten subway-streetcar connection passages. They may not be Lower Bay, but they are illustrations that many things built eventually change.

Thanks to our anonymous donors for giving us this glimpse into a rarely seen part of the Toronto subway.

About this Page

This page is an article within the Subway division of Transit Toronto articles.

To see more articles within the Subway division, you may return to the Subway division page.

You can also return to the main page for news and other articles in Transit Toronto.