Soccer fans expected to flock back to GO Transit during first local Toronto FC game since pandemic

In another indication the province is moving beyond COVID-19, professional soccer returns this weekend at the BMO Field, located at Toronto’s Exhibition Place. Here’s how GO Transit is helping fans get to the game, and some reminders as riders head out on Saturday (July 17).

Paused during the pandemic, one of summer’s most anticipated sporting events is making a long-awaited return to the city: Toronto FC’s announced first home match this season at BMO Field. 

That means plenty of fans jumping on – and perhaps returning to – GO Transit. 

Image shows fans in the stands.
In this file image, taken prior to COVID, soccer fans gather to support Canada’s Men’s National Team. While it may be awhile before things look just like this again, events are once again opening up. (Mike Winterburn photo)

For the first time in 16 months, Toronto will be welcoming home its professional soccer franchise for a game on Saturday (July 17). As many as 7,000 fans are expected at BMO Field against Orlando City. That crowd will be made up of frontline healthcare workers, first responders and season seat members, and will be the first to be played on the field since the club’s home opener on March 7, 2020, against New York City FC. 
 
Metrolinx is reminding people to plan ahead and be patient as service is reintroduced. 

GO Transit will be offering two-way 30-minute service along the Lakeshore East line between Union Station and Oshawa GO Station.  

For fans who are travelling westbound, there will be 60-minute service along the Lakeshore West line.  

Fans leaving BMO field can get to a GO train at Exhibition Stadium and take Lakeshore West to Aldershot Station. Trains will also depart from Union Station. 

There will be some scheduled maintenance along the line – this important work includes upgrading track switches between Long Branch and Mimico GO stations that can’t be delayed as more and more customers return to GO Transit. It may cause longer travel times, but the agency is planning for an extra GO train on standby service and its upsizing trains to help accommodate ridership overflow.  

Most importantly the transit agency wants to ensure that rider safety is a top priority. That includes mandatory masks – even if passengers are fully vaccinated. There are clear plastic barriers between seats on trains and buses, and hand sanitizer dispensers on vehicles and in stations. 

For those needing help, here’s GO Transit’s Trip Planner page

Story by Ross Andersen, Metrolinx senior Advisor for Media Relations and Issues