Thorncliffe Park residents tour maintenance and storage facilities in Toronto neighbourhoods

Maintenance and storage facilities are essential to keeping transit vehicles clean and working properly. There are many of these facilities across Toronto where vehicles are either housed, maintained or both. Metrolinx recently organized bus tours for community members from Thorncliffe Park to visit a number of these facilities, showing them how each fits within its surrounding – and thriving – neighbourhood. Participants also learned more about plans for the Ontario Line maintenance and storage facility in Thorncliffe Park.

Bus tours of existing transit maintenance and storage facilities in Toronto provided an opportunity to continue the dialogue between Thorncliffe Park residents and Metrolinx about plans for an Ontario Line facility in that neighbourhood.

On Aug. 12, Metrolinx organized bus tours for 24 community members. All participants toured the boundaries of the future Ontario Line site as well as three TTC facilities – the Greenwood Yard, Russell Carhouse, and Leslie Barns. They also visited the Eglinton Crosstown maintenance and storage facility in Mount Dennis, where the group met Diego Savone of Building Up, the non-profit contractor that partnered with Metrolinx during the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown.

Image of people on a bus
Time on the bus provided opportunities for conversation between Metrolinx staff and Thorncliffe Park residents. (Sivahami Vijenthira photo)

The bus tour provided opportunities for back-and-forth discussion between community members and Metrolinx staff, including Malcolm MacKay, program sponsor for the Ontario Line and John Potter from the Metrolinx Design Division. Organizers asked participants what they liked and didn’t like about the facilities and committed to gather more community input in future discussions and public meetings.

Image shows an artist rendering
Metrolinx shared renderings to show what the Thorncliffe Park facility could look like. (Metrolinx image)

“We welcome community input that can help us design a maintenance and storage facility the right way, to make sure that Metrolinx will be a good neighbour for people living in Thorncliffe Park,” said Sivahami Vijenthira, a community relations and issues specialist for the Ontario Line.

At each stop, there were design elements that Metrolinx intends to incorporate in the Thorncliffe Park facility.

  • The Leslie Barns and Eglinton Crosstown facility demonstrated the application of sustainable design features such as green roofs.
  • The Leslie Barns showed a neighbourly way to use perimeter screening and sound barriers, which shields residents from the sights and sounds of the work going on inside.
  • In Leslieville, the Russell Carhouse demonstrated how these types of facilities coexist with thriving, vibrant residential neighbourhoods across the City. A bit further north, the Greenwood Yard was another great example of this.

As participants learned, the Ontario Line maintenance and storage facility will have perimeter walls and noise barriers that become a neighbourly front face for the facility, cladding that is reflective to pick up the colours of the sky and help minimize the visual impact of the buildings, and a green roof that will resemble a meadow when viewed from above.

People look at a building.
Tour participants viewed the Eglinton Crosstown maintenance and storage facility. (Sivahami Vijenthira photo)

Metrolinx will ensure the facility’s lighting is designed to minimize impacts to adjacent properties and wooded areas. The transit agency will also build a stormwater retention pond on the site that will be both functional and an attractive landscape design feature.

“We have a wide range of design strategies that we can use to make sure the new facility fits comfortably into the surrounding neighbourhood,” said Potter.

The tour also provided an opportunity to discuss how construction of the Ontario Line could support new community amenities in Thorncliffe Park and create up to 300 jobs at the maintenance and storage facility.

The tour day was just one step in an ongoing journey with Thorncliffe Park community members to help ensure the Ontario Line and maintenance and storage facility will fit into their neighbourhood, with minimal impacts, while delivering community benefits for years to come.

Story by Mike Winterburn, Metrolinx News senior writer