A tractor works the ground under a construction canopy.

As Toronto looks to future growth, Leaside Station holds design secrets to grow with

How do you stay ahead of a curve that keeps moving? In this stop for our Crosstown Progress series, examining every station along Toronto’s future light rail transit line, we’re looking behind the scenes of construction at Leaside Station. And how it’s able to grow over the years to come.

We’re building a time machine in Leaside.

Or at least the underpins for one.

Eglinton Crosstown construction isn’t all just about transit. A few stations along the line are being built by our partners Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS) in order to accommodate future developments for Toronto. Because as certain as snow in winter, the city will continue to grow. In fact, the Greater Toronto area is expected to increase by 2.8 million people, or 40.8 per cent, to reach almost 9.7 million by 2041.

As buses and pedestrians walk above, a tractor works earth in a cevern below.
This shot at Leaside Station shows perfectly how cut-and-cover station construction works: heavy machinery excavates under road decking, while pedestrians and vehicles travel directly overtop

At the intersection of Bayview Avenue and Eglinton Avenue East, Leaside Station is being built by CTS with additional structural elements to accommodate future development. This includes additional structural supports about the station’s southeast entrance and a layout that allows the entrance to remain operational during any potential high-rise construction.

A tractor works the ground under a protective cover.
A view of Leaside construction that residents can’t see. As the city moves above, crews move the earth in a deep level below.

Leaside Station saw construction start in 2016 with utility relocations. Excavation has begun and continues below the Eglinton roadway, while vehicles travel above on a temporary wooden decking. The station is expected to be completed in 2021.

The photos shows a crane working above a construction pit.
Deep excavation work will start next month in June, allowing crews to get off the roadway.

The future Leaside station will include two station entrances, on-street TTC bus connections, 60 outdoor bicycle parking spaces and retail space inside. The station will include an expanded plaza at the southeast entrance, providing a connection to the adjacent Howard Talbot Park.

An artist concept shows Leaside Station with steps leading to the main entrance.
Steps ahead – An artist concept on how Leaside Station will look in the future.

Wet utilities work, earth hauling and concrete and material deliveries all continue today. In June, deep excavation work will start to build the station, allowing lanes on the roadway to open up for drivers. Keep an eye out for large cranes that are being delivered later this summer to support the excavation work.

An interior artist concept shows customers heading toward a platform, past a line of PRESTO fare machines.
PRESTO and the work is done. A view of how the inside of the new station may look.

For now, it may look like we’re just building a new transit station. But we’re also thinking long term for the City of Toronto and its future.

So that means creating time machines today.

Story by Erika D’Urbano, Metrolinx communications specialist.