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TTC opens doors to Lower Bay Station,
during Doors Open, May 26

Several transit- or transportation-related sites are open to the public Saturday, May 27 and Sunday, May 28 during Doors Open Toronto, the one weekend, once a year, when more than 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

The City of Toronto program allows visitors free access to look inside properties that are usually not open to the public.

For transit fans the highlight of the event will be the opportunity to visit Lower Bay Station (or “Bay Lower” as it’s officially known). This is the only site where the TTC is participating in the event — but other venues that have played significant roles in Toronto’s public transit and transportation history are also opening their doors. (Lower Bay is open Saturday only.)


This map, scanned from a pamphlet the TTC produced just after opening the Keele - Woodbine segment of Line 2 Bloor - Danforth, shows how Lower Bay was important for connecting the TTC’s two subway lines.

Toronto Transit Commission

Lower Bay Station

1240 Bay Street

Open: Saturday, May 26, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4:30 p.m.

Year: 1959 to 1966
Style: Post-modern


This site is a place that you’ve likely seen before, but not as a TTC passenger. The TTC has closed Lower Bay to the public since 1966 but has been used many times as a major “Hollywood North” prop, dressed to look like United Station subway station. When the TTC officially opened Line 2 Bloor - Danforth in 1966, Lower Bay was in full use. Alternate trains used a “wye” connection, which allowed passenger to travel from Line 1 to Line 2 without changing trains. The TTC tested this system for six months and also tested the two separate subway lines for six months. After testing, the TTC decided that two separate lines worked best and Bay Lower was closed.

Visitors may tour the station, which the TTC is decorating with movie posters and props from films shot in the station. Selfie spots and a brief history of the station round out the underground tour. You can photograph the interior with or without a tripod.

You’ll have to use stairs or an escalator to access the mezzanine of Bay station from the street and from the mezzanine to the in-service platform. You can only access Lower Bay by staircase.

Getting there by public transit:

  • TTC Line 2 Bloor - Danforth subway to Bay Station.
  • TTC 6 Bay buses to the subway station entrance just north of Bloor Street West.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “A History of Subways on Bloor and Queen Streets” by James Bow, here.
  • “Toronto’s Lost Subway Stations” by James Bow, here.
  • “The Truth Behind the Interlining Trial” by James Bow, here.

Other transportation-related sites

Union Station

65 Front Street West

Open — Saturday, May 26: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 5 p.m. Sunday, May 27: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 5 p.m.

Year: Completed 1927
Style: Georgian / Neo-Classic


Union Station is Canada’s largest and most opulent railway station. The Montreal architecture firm of Ross and Macdonald designed the building in the Beaux-Arts style as a joint venture between the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway, with help from CPR architect Hugh Jones and Toronto architect John M. Lyle. In 1975, the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada cited its design as being of “national architectural significance as one of the finest examples of Beaux-Arts railway-station design in Canada”.

With more than 300,000 visitors daily, the station is Canada’s busiest multi-modal transport hub — even busier than Toronto Pearson International Airport. The Great Hall in particular, represents an era of expanding national rail networks and vigorous urban growth in our country.

During Doors Open, photographic and video installations throughout the Great Hall, West Wing and Oak Room will help visitors understand the importance of this building to Canada’s collective history and the role that its evolution will play in our future.

Union Station has been the location for many films including “Suicide Squad” in 2016, “Orphan Black” in 2013, “Cosmopopolis” in 2012, “Grey Gardens” in 2009, “Chicago” in 2002, and many more. Through a visual display, visitors will experience Union through film.

Guests will also an opportunity to sketch the Beaux-Arts architecture of the Great Hall under the direction of an OCAD instructor.

You can photograph the interior with or without a tripod.

Getting there by public transit:

  • TTC subway trains along Line 1 Yonge - University to Union Station.
  • TTC buses along the 6 Bay, 72B Pape via Commissioners and Queens Quay and 121 Fort York - Esplanade route to Bay Street and Front Street West.
  • GO Transit trains along the 01 Lakeshore West, 09 Lakeshore East and 65 Barrie lines to Union Station.
  • GO buses along the 16 Hamilton / Toronto express, 21 Milton / Toronto, 31 Guelph / Georgetown / Toronto and 71 Stouffville / Toronto routes to Union Station GO Bus Terminal.

Lambton House

4066 Old Dundas Street

Open — Saturday, May 26: from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4 p.m. Sunday, May 27: from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4 p.m.

Year: 1860
Style: Victorian


Originally a stagecoach stop on the old Toronto-to-Dundas Highway (the Weller Stage Coach would pull up to it to deliver the Royal Mail), the hotel also has a public transit association. Streetcars on the former Toronto Suburban Railway Company’s Lambton carline ended their trips near the hotel in Lambton Park. From 1917 until 1935, they could also wait in the hotel for the next interurban radial streetcar to Guelph.

A mid-Victorian two-story red brick hotel with yellow coins and diamond inserts, Lambton House has a two-story wooden veranda with white trillage. The interior has the original hall and stairs, built for Sir William P. Howland, a Father of Confederation and later Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. To the right of the entrance is the entrance to the men’s beverage room with its two fireplaces and to the left is the entry to the smaller parlour room heated with a single fireplace. Most of the doors to the travellers’ rooms on the second floor are original, as is the exposed pine floor in one room. The second floor hall is offset with three front rooms to the east and one to the west of the door opening onto the upper veranda. A door gives access to this feature. This is the last remaining public building from Lambton Mills, and also from the historic milling period on the lower Humber River.

A classic William Tyrrell design, it was originally an L-shaped centre plan, two-storey red brick building with white coins and decorative diamond inserts. The floor of the first level veranda extends on either side of the entrance steps, providing two small and convenient roadside platforms at stirrup height for mounting a horse or bicycle. A course of saw-tooth brick work is a Tyrrell trademark feature easily viewed from the second floor wooden veranda covering the front of the building. The drive shed roof line is visible on the east wall.

The site is on the Dundas Highway. This second most important highway in Ontario celebrates its 225th anniversary this year. A stagecoach driver will be present to give talks about transportation of the era, including the gear, horses and carriages. Regular guided tours of the building by Heritage York volunteers, some in period costume will be available. You can also view a display of different formats of film media predominately from the 19th and 20th centuries.

You can photograph the interior without a tripod.

Main floor is accessible via the rear entrance ramp. All other floors are stair-access only.

Getting there by public transit:

  • East- and westbound buses operating along the 30 Lambton route to Dundas Street West and Humber Hill Avenue walk south to Old Dundas Street and then west two blocks.
  • Northbound buses operating along the 55 Warren Park route to Lundy Avenue at Warren Crescent. Walk one block north along Lundy to Old Dundas, then west.

From the “Old Time Trains” site:

  • A history of radial and streetcar lines in the Junction, including a history of the Toronto Suburban Railway and its Lambton and Guelph lines, by Raymond L. Kennedy, here.