The University Subway -- Under Construction

Text by James Bow, Photographs by Neil McCarten, except where noted.

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Transit Toronto, being a fan-run website, is entirely dependent upon the resources of its owners and readers in obtaining materials that help log the history of public transportation in the Greater Toronto Area. As a result, these materials tend to be recent. As a result, we have a number of articles detailing the construction of the Sheppard subway, but not as much depicting the construction of older subway lines.

This produces some frustrating gaps in our knowledge. For instance, we know from reading early reports, that the current appearance of Osgoode and St. Andrew stations on the University subway line is substantially different from their appearance at the time they opened. Severe water damage forced the TTC to completely replace the original tiles in the early 1970s. So few pictures exist of these stations in their original appearance that few people realize that St. Andrew and Osgoode stations were changed. What few pictures do exist (in the Toronto Archives) are in black and white.

In our search for old pictures depicting the original appearance of these two stations, we were fortunate to find Ed Treijs, who knew Neil McCarten. Neil McCarten was kind enough to donate twenty-seven slide photographs snapped during a tour of the University subway he took on March 24, 1962, just eleven months before the line opened to the public. These photographs include rare shots of Osgoode station as its original appearance took form. Thanks to Mr. McCarten for making these shots available, and we hope that you enjoy them as well.

Exiting at Dundas Street

The photographer accessed the subway at one of the entrances to St. Patrick station, then under construction. From there, it was a long trek through the tunnel system.

St. Andrew station

At St. Andrew station (referred to on the slide as “King Street”), we see a stairwell leading down from the mezzanine level. The escalator is being installed.

St. Andrew station

Looking at the tunnels at St. Andrew station.


The St. Andrew station platform level, after the University subway opened, with original vitrolite tiling. Photo courtesy the Toronto Archives.

Osgoode station

Osgoode station was further along, and you can see the original yellow Vitrolite tiles, with blue trim. Note that the station name was not on the walls. These were sandblasted later.

Osgoode station

Osgoode station mezzanine (referred to as Osgoode on the slide).

Osgoode station

Osgoode station stairwell from mezzanine to platform level.

Osgoode station, looking north

Osgoode station, southbound platform, looking north.

Osgoode station, southbound platform, looking north

Osgoode station, northbound platform, looking north.

Osgoode station, looking south

Osgoode station, looking south at pocket track.


A shot of Osgoode station’s northbound platform, soon after the University subway opened. Photo courtesy the Toronto Archives.

North to St. Patrick

North to St. Patrick station (referred to as “Dundas Street” on the slide).

St. Patrick station

St. Patrick platform.

St. Patrick station

Another view of the St. Patrick station platform, under construction.

St. Patrick station

St. Patrick station mezzanine level.

Queens Park, northbound side

Northbound Queen’s Park platform (referred to as “College Street” on the slide)

Museum station

Museum station platform.

Museum station

Open air at Museum station.

Museum station

Museum station mezzanine level.

Looking north at the wye, southbound side

Wye, looking north from Museum, southbound line. Left fork leads to St. George, right fork to future Bay station.

Looking west, east leg of the wye

Looking west from the east end of the wye, (Bay to Museum track). Lower Bay station does not appear to have been built, yet.

Looking north at the wye, northbound side

Wye, looking north from Museum, northbound line. Left fork leads to St. George, right fork to future Bay station.

St. George station area

Eastern end of the wye, Museum-to-Bay track, near location of future Bay station. Note that there is no track in the trackway.

St. George crossover

St. George crossover.

St. George station

St. George station platform. Note again that the station name hasn’t been sandblasted on the walls, yet.

St George station Bedford entrance

St. George station, Bedford entrance.

St. George station, St. George entrance

St. George station, St. George entrance.

St. George station area

This shot was taken from the western end of St. George station in what would today be the southbound tracks. The tunnel on the left connects with the still-to-be-built Bloor-Danforth subway. The tunnel on the right houses St. George’s overrun tracks. These would eventually be used to connect the station to the Spadina subway

End of line

The end of the tunnel. This shot is in the Bloor-Danforth tunnel area just west of St. George station, almost directly blow where the previous photograph was taken, looking west along the trackway of the present eastbound track. Note the angle in the left wall where the present track starts to diverge from the westbound to get around the center platform at St. George.

Thanks to Ed Treijs for his help in bringing this article about, and thanks to Neil McCarten for the photographs of this glimpse of early subway construction history. Thanks to Mark Brader for his corrections to this article. To all our readers, if you have old photographs of the Toronto subway network, especially pre-renovation photographs of Osgoode, St. Andrew or the original Yonge subway stations, please drop us a line!

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