Text by James Bow
Bayview station is the first station east of Sheppard-Yonge on the Sheppard subway line, located beneath the Bayview/Sheppard intersection in the old City of North York. It opened to the public with the rest of the Sheppard subway on November 24, 2002. When it opened, it served a relatively low-density residential/commercial area. Since opening, however, growth has occurred around the Sheppard/Bayview node, although it remains restricted by residential neighbourhoods to the south and the Bayview Mews Mall to the northeast. This lack of density, and few bus feeder routes connecting with the station (which doesn’t feature a bus terminal) has kept ridership low. In 2014, 9,030 passengers used the station on an average weekday, placing it in the middle of the stations on the line in terms of ridership.
The Sheppard-Bayview area was rural until the mid-1950s. The first TTC bus to operate through the area was the short-lived SHEPPARD route in 1951, when it was extended from the Sheppard/Willowdale intersection via east on Sheppard and south on Bayview and west on York Mills towards Glen Echo. The route was discontinued in 1952, but returned as the BAYVIEW bus in 1955. Suburban sprawl was building up through the area as the population of Metropolitan Toronto grew following the Second World War.
However, the Borough of North York was growing, and some of its leaders hoped to build a downtown near the Sheppard/Yonge intersection to rival that of Toronto. Proposals to build an east-west rapid transit route north of Highway 401 had appeared as early as the 1960s, but it was in the 1970s when serious proposals emerged for rapid transit beneath Sheppard Avenue. In 1982, planners for Metropolitan Toronto envisioned a route operating beneath Sheppard Avenue east to the Scarborough Town Centre. North York mayor Mel Lastman supported the line as a means of fostering development around North York’s new downtown, located at the proposed crossroads of the Yonge and Sheppard subway lines.
In 1985, Metropolitan Toronto threw its support behind the Network 2011 proposal, which would have opened the Sheppard subway in two phases: a segment between Yonge and Victoria Park to open in 1994, with the second phase extending the ends of the line to Downsview station and the Scarborough Town Centre opening around 2011. After years of debate between Metro council and the Ontario government, approval and funding were finally granted in 1994 for a shortened phase one, running the Sheppard subway between Yonge and Don Mills, and construction started soon thereafter.
Bayview station was the only intermediate station on the route that wasn’t threatened with closure as the line was built. Early plans to build a station at Willowdale did not make it past the design phase as it was felt that development around the intersection was not dense enough to support a station. As budget concerns dogged construction, politicians wrestled with suggestions not to open Bessarion station in order to save $30 million. Similar proposals surfaced for Leslie. Had they been acted upon, Bayview would have been the only stop between Sheppard-Yonge and Don Mills, but Mel Lastman and TTC Chairman Howard Moscoe campaigned for and secured the funding necessary to open Bessarion and Leslie stations with the rest of the line.
The Sheppard subway would dramatically alter the character of Sheppard Avenue, and the intersections en-route. This was not without controversy, and some local home owners and even some business owners resisted or ignored the construction of the subway.
Bayview station is a sprawling complex, featuring three entrance buildings — two at the Sheppard/Bayview station leading to the main concourse, and an automatic entrance located closer to Kenaston Gardens a block east. The buildings and the station’s interior follow the spartan style found on most of the stations on the Shappard subway; glass and concrete predominate, with ceramic tiles and terrazzo covering the public areas. The station walls are bare concrete with the station names mounted on plastic panels on the wall. The station’s signage is also consistent with the other stations on the line.
Despite the station’s size, it serves only to connect the station’s deep platforms with the entrances on the street. There is no bus terminal, and transfers are made on-street beside the station entrances on both sides of Bayview Avenue. There is also no easy connection between the station and the Bayview Village mall northeast of the Sheppard/Yonge intersection. The mall, which markets itself as a high-end establishment, claimed that its target demographic didn’t use transit, a snub both of the line, and the passengers who used it, in the face of the changes planned to make the area more transit friendly.
As a budget-saving measure early in the construction phase, the TTC decided to operate four-car trains on Sheppard rather than the standard six-car lengths, although it built the station boxes to the standard subway lengths in case ridership increased to the point where six-car trains could be justified. The extra space on the station platforms were walled off, and in the case of Bayview station, that platform space was converted into a control room at the east end of the station (controlling the double-crossover located east of the station.
Bayview station is best known for a series of art installations by Panya Clark Espinal collectively known as From Here Right Now. These installations take the form of everyday objects rendered onto the station’s walls and floors using porcelain tile and terrazzo. These shapes are drawn in a distorted fashion that, in an optical illusion called anamorphosis, shift into proper proportions when seen from a particular location. Panya Clark Espinal was subsequently chosen to create a similar art installation called Spin in Downsview Park station.
Bayview station’s ridership is low compared to other stations on the subway network, although not for the intermediate stations on the Sheppard line. It appears overbuilt for the few people that use it. However, Bayview station is becoming a node for higher-density multi-use development around the Sheppard/Bayview intersection, and overtime it could become a catalyst to change the wider area from a sleepy suburb into a more urban neighbourhood.
Service Notes (as of January 1, 2017):
- Off-Site Resources:
- Line: 4 Sheppard
- Hours of Operation:
First Train to Don Mills: 5:39 a.m. weekdays, 5:56 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 7:57 a.m. Sundays.
First Train to Sheppard-Yonge: 5:37 a.m. weekdays, 5:53 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:11 a.m. Sundays.
Last Train to Don Mills: 2:17 a.m.
Last Train to Sheppard-Yonge: 2:31 a.m.
- Address: 550 Sheppard Avenue East
- Opened: November 22, 2002
- Wheelchair Accessible Since: November 22, 2002 (upon opening)
- Average Weekday Ridership: 9,030 (2014), 9,380 (2013), 9,330 (2011), 9,030 (2010)
- Main entrance, located on the east side of Bayview Avenue, 16 metres north of Sheppard Avenue East, with stairs, escalators and elevator to the main concourse. Also, second set of doors located on the east side of Bayview Avenue, 38 metres north of Sheppard Avenue East, with stairs to main concourse. (Wheelchair Accessible)
- Secondary entrance, located on the west side of Bayview Avenue, 22 metres north of Sheppard Avenue East, with stairs to the main concourse level. (Not Wheelchair Accessible)
- Automatic Entrance, located on the south side of Sheppard Avenue East, 126 metres east of Bayview Avenue (near Kenaston Gardens), with stairs and elevator to the platform.
- Elevators (click here for maintenance schedule):
- Main Entrance to Main Concourse
- Main Concourse to Platform
- Secondary Entrance to Secondary Concourse
- Secondary Concourse to Platform
- Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule):
- Main Entrance To Main Concourse (Down At All Times)
- Main Entrance To Main Concourse (Up At All Times)
- Main Concourse To Platform (Up At All Times)
- Main Concourse To Platform (Down At All Times)
- Parking: None
- Centre platform
- Token vending machine
- Presto Gates Installed
TTC Surface Connections:
- Bayview station plan (TTC maps of station exits, as of January 1, 2017) (PDF - 334 Kb)