Rebar and metal, along with electrical pipes, line the construction pit of Chaplin Station.

Rushing in to save the Old Toronto Fire Hall

In the latest stop on our Crosstown Progress station tour, we look at how Chaplin Station is rescuing a prized building.

Toronto likes to think and act young. But there are well-earned years – more than 180 of them – that run deep into the marrow of the city’s bones.

So what do you do while building a transit route for tomorrow, when you impact buildings and sites that were key to Toronto’s many yesterdays? Even life and death touchstones to the city’s past?

A tractor works in a pit below the street, as a workman walks above ground.
Below deck – Excavation continues below Eglinton.

Since construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT stations started, constructor Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS) has dealt with a number of these heritage locations along Eglinton. Instead of seeing them as obstacles to progress, they’re embraced as prized reminders of how far Canada’s largest city has come.

Chaplin Station, the eighth station headed east on the Crosstown, is an underground hub located at the intersection of Chaplin Crescent and Eglinton Avenue West. The station will have three station entrances, 32 outdoor bicycle parking spaces and on-street connection to TTC buses. One of the station’s entrances will provide a visual connection to the Kay Gardner Beltline Trail, with pedestrian access from the trail to Eglinton Avenue. Another entrance is being built to accommodate green space for commuters and the community to gather, wait or relax.

Metal supports and rebar line the subsection of construction work.
Strength by design – Rebar progress at Chaplin Station . Notice, down and toward the mid-point on this shot, how small the workers are amid all the structural supports.

Construction for Chaplin Station started in 2016. Located in this area is the Old Toronto Fire Hall. During the design process, it was important to ensure the designated heritage property was incorporated into the final hub. Once complete, this heritage building will be integrated into the station’s southeast entrance. A place that was an important part of the community for decades, will again be a gathering spot in the neighbourhood.

In an artist rendering, an old fire station is connected to the left of the new LRT station.
The Old Toronto Fire Hall, a designated heritage property, is being incorporated into Chaplin Station’s design. The Old Toronto Fire Hall will be part of the station’s southeast entrance.

Excavation of the station began in 2018 along with the first of many concrete roof pours that will continue to take place in 2019. It is being built using the top-down construction method, meaning that the station will soon be covered by a concrete roof so that traffic can flow on top while construction of the station continues below. The station is expected to be completed in 2021.

Station design for the Eglinton Crosstown is more than just rebuilding the area with new. Old historic buildings often provide character and charm to new modern buildings and are a history lesson to what used to be the old City of Toronto.

Story by Erika D’Urbano, Metrolinx communications specialist.