Easy connections are at the heart of plans for the new Ontario Line subway, with stations being mapped out to link with existing GO and TTC routes along the line. Today (June 10), we’re looking at how Ontario Line stations at Exhibition, King and Bathurst, and Queen at Spadina, will help travellers get around Toronto faster and how teams will incorporate heritage attributes in their designs.
No subway station exists in isolation. Each one must serve and fit within a surrounding neighbourhood and offer connections that get people where they need – and want – to be.
That’s particularly true for three stations at the west end of the new Ontario Line – Exhibition, King/Bathurst and Queen/Spadina – where each spot is a vibrant destination in its own right.
The Ontario Line will directly connect these areas to one another and to dozens of other neighbourhoods across the city, all while linking with TTC streetcar and GO lines in the area. These new connections will make it easier than ever before for people to move within the city.
Exhibition Station will be upgraded and expanded to become a vital transit hub.
This station will give new subway access to growing areas of the city such as Liberty Village and Parkdale. An estimated 12,100 customers are expected to use Exhibition Station during the busiest travel hours.
Riders coming from places even further west—including Niagara, Hamilton, Halton, and Peel – will easily transfer from GO trains onto the subway system, helping to relieve congestion at Union Station by 14 per cent during rush hour. With a shared concourse and an above-ground connection between GO and the Ontario Line, transfers will be quick and seamless.
TTC riders will also be able to connect to the 511 Bathurst and 509 Harbourfront streetcars, just steps away.
The Ontario Line will give people a new and faster way to reach Ontario Place, trade shows, the CNE, BMO Field and Liberty Village street life by public transit.
King and Bathurst
A new station at the corner of King and Bathurst will bring Toronto’s Fashion District into the subway system.
While the corner is best known for bars and restaurants, like the historic Wheat Sheaf Tavern, the station will add a faster transit option to a densely populated neighbourhood where almost 9,000 households don’t have a car.
This area is served by Toronto’s busiest streetcar line – the 504 King – and the popular 511 Bathurst. Once the Ontario Line opens, riders will be able to easily step off the streetcar and get to an Ontario Line station entrance quickly.
With multiple entrances and exits on both the north and south corners of the intersection, Ontario Line customers won’t have to worry about crossing to the opposite side of the street to catch their streetcar.
Queen and Spadina
The area around the Queen and Spadina station will be a hot spot for young professionals, with more than 42,200 jobs projected for the area by 2041. It will also be home for 22,800 people expected to be living within a 10-minute walk.
This station will provide fast and convenient links to Chinatown, Alexandra Park, the Fashion District – and shopping on Queen West will be just steps away.
Each day about 4,000 people are expected to transfer between the Ontario Line the 501 Queen and 510 Spadina streetcars at this station during the busiest travel hour.
As with the King and Bathurst station, the station at Queen and Spadina will be designed so people can easily connect between streetcar stops and subway platforms.
Respecting heritage properties
A big benefit of the Ontario Line is it will bring riders through parts of the city with a rich architectural heritage. Station construction in older areas is a challenge faced by subway planners around the world, and Metrolinx is using widely adopted techniques to maintain heritage attributes and conserve each neighbourhood’s unique characteristics.
Working with a team of heritage conservation specialists, Metrolinx is exploring a wide range of conservation options for heritage properties in these new station locations and will be customizing solutions for each site. These options include retaining full façades that stations can be built within, and carefully dismantling the exteriors into panels which can be stored and then reassembled as part of new stations.
Metrolinx will include proposed approaches to conserving heritage attributes at each of these stations in the Heritage Detailed Design Report, a part of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report being released for public review and comment in January 2022.
“We are only acquiring properties we need to build and accommodate new transit infrastructure and to create the best possible transit connections,” said Malcom MacKay, program sponsor for the Ontario Line. “We know we need to work hard to make sure any new structure fits and blends in with the community it serves, and that’s something we’re going to do from one end of the line to the other.”
By the numbers
“These three stations are located in neighbourhoods where transit is in high demand, and the numbers speak for themselves,” said MacKay. “They’re carefully positioned to help more people get to where they want to go, with fast and seamless connections.”
The figures below are conservative estimates based on the year 2041:
- 61,900 people living within a 10-minute walk of the stations
- 84,000 jobs nearby
- 24,400 projected trips during the busiest travel hour
- 12,500 projected transfers during the busiest travel hour
Learn more tonight
Metrolinx will host an online open house tonight (June 10) at 6:30 pm, providing more information about these stations as well as newly established transit corridor lands for the project. You can register for the event here.
Story by Mike Winterburn, Metrolinx News senior writer