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Finch West

<< YORK UNIVERSITY | Yonge-University-Spadina | DOWNSVIEW PARK >>
Subway Related Properties Page

Text by James Bow

When it opens late in 2017, Finch West station will take trains on the SPADINA subway as far north as the YONGE subway, before taking passengers further north and west towards York University and Vaughan. The station has been built beneath and just north of the Keele-Finch intersection, serving this critical centre in the York University Heights neighbourhood. The station will host a bus terminal and, within a few years, an underground connection with the FINCH WEST LRT.

Early History

In October 2008, when the provincial government announced funding to extend the SPADINA subway to York University and beyond, planning and design work began on the proposed subway extension serving Finch Avenue. A consortium was established to work on the station, including SGA/IBI, Lea Consulting, RH Angus and Associates, Pivvotal Projects and Janet Rosenberg and Associates. These designers worked closely with station artist Bruce McLean and Will Alsop to create a design that merged the station’s architecture with the artists’ art piece.

According to the TTC’s statement of the architectural concept, “The various at grade building components (bus terminal, transformer yard and main subway station entrance) were developed to create colourful, transparent pedestrian entrances topped with stripped volumes supported on a collection of sculpted art columns. These columns continue down to the platform level, linking this stop to the street in a two-storey, full height space adding to the drama of the interior public experience. The bus terminal continues these visceral effects outside onto the waiting areas with overlapping, sculpted canopies that wrap the raised substation. Responding to the dynamics of transit user movements and traffic, the canopies, terminals, entrances and supporting facilities are designed to work in concert, engaging the public life of the neighbourhood. The resulting concept blurs the purviews of the disciplines, yielding a concept that is both functional and visually exciting.”

In 2010, the TTC considered a report regarding the naming of the various stations on the Spadina-York extension. Unlike Downsview Park and Downsview (now Sheppard West), the naming of Finch West was more straight-forward, as there was no competing station to confuse riders, and the name “Finch West” matched the TTC’s naming protocols for other stations on the Spadina subway line. However, the TTC did briefly consider “Keele North” (discounting this as “it does not describe the location of this north-south subway line as well as the name of an intersecting east-west street”), “Four Winds”, “Sentinel” and “University Heights”. The TTC also decided against naming the station after the intersection (“Finch-Keele” or “Keele-Finch”) because “A hyphenated name is subject to mis-spelling or mis-pronouncing”.

At the same time as the province announced funding for the Spadina-York extension, the City of Toronto announced its Transit City proposal, calling for LRT lines to be built beneath Eglinton Avenue and along Sheppard Avenue East and Finch Avenue West. The province announced funding for these lines as well in their MoveOntario 2020 plan, only to have funding and construction delayed with the election of Toronto Mayor Rob Ford in 2010. Had the delay not happened, the Finch West LRT would have been built all the way to Finch Station on the YONGE subway line by 2014. Now, construction is expected to start later in 2017, and open well after the Spadina-York extension opens. This allowed the LRT line to be shortened to Finch West station.

Station Features

The main entrance to Finch West station is located on the west side of Keele Street, just north of Finch Avenue. Stairs and an escalator lead to a concourse running beneath Keele Street, directly above the station platform. Across the street, buses enter a bus terminal from a new roadway located across from Four Winds Drive. An automatic entrance off of the east side of Keele Street will provide access to this bus terminal, which will have stairs, escalators and an elevator leading to the main concourse area. From the concourse, passengers can take stairs, escalators or elevators to the subway platform.

North of the bus terminal, a commuter parking lot will be built within the Hydro right-of-way lands, with spaces for 358 cars and a passenger pick-up-and-drop-off facility for ten cars. Passengers will have to cross the street to access the station entrance.

At the south end of the station, the concourse level will feature a passageway temporarily blocked by a knock-out wall leading to the LRT concourse area, where eventually stairs, escalators and elevators will lead up to the LRT loading platforms just beneath the surface of Finch Avenue. On the subway level, a double crossover is located immediately south of the station for short turns, although currently planned in-service short turns will only take place at Pioneer Village at Steeles Avenue.

Finch West station incorporates a number of environmentally-sensitive features, including a cool roofs and green roofs for its external structures, increased daylight levels (reducing electrical lighting use), LED and other energy efficient lighting, as well as water-efficient plumbing fixtures and an energy efficient HVAC system. The station also designs a stormwater management system that reduces runoff through its green roof landscaping and soft landscaping on its property boundaries. Landscaping has been designed to use native and drought-resistant species, and the station will feature 100 secure and 13 short-term bicycle parking spaces.

Station Art

The public art contract for Finch West station was awarded to Bruce McLean, an internationally recognized artist from the United Kingdom whose art has featured in the Tate Gallery. Working with the architectural design team, McLean created a public art piece that integrated with the structure of the station, acting as part of its physical supports. The art uses strong sculptural concrete forms in the supporting columns of the entrance buildings, the bus canopy, and the station platform columns. In McLean’s words, “The sculptures are intended to be part of the structure and fabric of the building and should in a way be invisible. The structures supporting the power substation are referencing Greek caryatids; the pillars supporting the underground roof reference 6,000 year old Minorcan pillars supporting underground houses based, I believe, on the structure of a palm tree and are, I also believe, the inspiration for the form of the barrel vault, so in effect it’s making use of the ancient in modern times.”

Future Development

Unlike the other stations on the Spadina-York extension, with the exception of Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, Finch West station is the only station built beneath or near a major intersection. Downsview Park is built within a park, York University is built within the university’s common, and Highway 407 is set back from Jane Street, and more accessible from the provincial highway. All of these stations offer limited development opportunities, in contrast to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre and Finch West.

For this reason, Finch West offers a potent anchor for intensification around the Keele-Finch intersection. The construction of the Finch West LRT also offers the opportunity to create a corridor of high-density, pedestrian-friendly development westward towards northern Etobicoke. All signs point to Finch West station being a heavily used transit node in an up-and-coming area of the City of Toronto.

Trivia

  • The existence of Finch West station was predicted in the Canadian Science Fiction magazine Stardust in the story Insanity, by Julian Dust, published in 1979 (Volume 3, Number 1). The story, set in the mid 21st century, had the station long abandoned.

Service Notes (as of January 1, 2017):

  • Off-site Resources:
  • Line: 1 YONGE-UNIVERSITY-SPADINA
  • Address: Address not assigned yet, but at the intersection of Keele Street and Finch Avenue West.
  • Opening: Late in 2017
  • Average Weekday Ridership: Not opened yet
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train to Finch: In late 2017
    Last Train to Finch: In late 2017
    First Train to Vaughan: In late 2017
    Last Train to Vaughan: In late 2017
  • Entrances:
    • Main entrance, located on the west side of Keele Street, just north of Finch Avenue. Featuring stairs, escalator and elevator to the south end of the main concourse level. (Wheelchair accessible)
    • Automatic entrance, located on the east side of Keele Street, leading into the bus terminal, with stairs, elevator and escalator to the north end of the main concourse level (Automatic entrance) (Wheelchair accessible)
  • Wheelchair Accessible Since: On Opening
  • Elevators (Not open yet):
    • Main entrance to concourse
    • Bus level to concourse
    • Concourse to subway platform
    • (Later) LRT concourse to LRT platform
  • Escalators (Not open yet):
    • Main entrance to concourse
    • Bus level to concourse
    • Concourse to subway platform
    • (Later) LRT concourse to LRT platform
  • Parking: 1 lot, 358 spaces, plus 10 PPUDO spaces.
  • Washrooms: None
  • One centre platform

TTC Surface Route Connections:

Document Archive


Finch West Station Image Archive

<< YORK UNIVERSITY | Yonge-University-Spadina | DOWNSVIEW PARK >>
Subway Related Properties Page

References