Image shows people looking at plans while standing outside.

Metrolinx Community Engagement teams ends year with lofty number and promises of new community offices

The pandemic has changed the way we relate to one another. But it hasn’t stopped needed conversations. Here’s how Metrolinx experts were able to reach out, and respond when questions have come on, during 2021 – as well as a commitment to open three more community offices in the new year for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension and Ontario Line projects.

Metrolinx Community Engagement teams have managed to do a lot of outreach in the past twelve months, answering every imaginable question as the transit agency is building some of the largest infrastructure projects in North America.

In all, it added up to an estimated 100,000 community interactions in 2021.

To start this timely review, we’ll start with one more question – with the answer at the bottom of this story.

What was the total circulation of Metrolinx e-blasts – emailed updates – in 2021?

  • 895,264
  • 1 million
  • 711,332
  • 523,345

The Community Engagement team is the one stop shop for residents, businesses and elected officials with questions about all things Metrolinx happening in their backyards. There are specific teams for all 10 regions where transit work is planned, with two teams serving Toronto. There is also one dedicated team for each of the four major subway projects.

Image shows people looking at plans while standing outside.
Metrolinx Community Relations staff were out in the community at Parliament Square hosting a pop-up event to provide an update on the project and answering questions. (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx Community Relations staff were out in the community at Parliament Square hosting a pop-up event to provide an update on the project and answering questions. (Metrolinx photo)

Almost 400 outreach events were held in 2021 by Community Engagement teams across the Greater Golden Horseshoe Area. These outreach events attributed to the 100,000 interactions the team made with the public this year. Additionally, residents and community associations were invited to connect in smaller settings, resulting in over 600 stakeholder engagement meetings.

What’s to come next?

The goal for 2022 is to continue to hold outreach events and to find new ways to be available, working with communities online and in person whenever possible. During the pandemic, Community Engagement teams began to host virtual open houses as a means of staying connected to communities. Metrolinx continues to grow and the major subway projects will progress further in the new year. These connections are valuable to Metrolinx and to the customers and residents who live, work and play along each of the corridors.

Image shows people meeting during an online session.
An Ontario Line Virtual Open House featuring a live Q and A. (Metrolinx image)

Social outreach

Social media is one of many ways the Community Engagement team interacts with transit enthusiasts, neighbours, media and bloggers. Through eight Twitter accounts, the team interacts with more than 17,000 followers to provide updates for each of the capital programs.

In 2021, Metrolinx introduced new Twitter accounts for the Scarborough Subway Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension – and you can see some examples below. Project updates and stories can also be found on Metrolinx News, or subscribe here to receive notifications of new posts.

As part of their digital presence, the Community Engagement team has shared a large number of e-newsletters with residents this past year (you can find the exact number of e-blasts at the end of this piece). Construction notices are shared as part of these e-newsletters, with physical flyer drops making their way to 1.6 million mailboxes.  Both of these activities will continue into 2022.

Image shows two people standing outside an office.
Some of the Peel Region Community Engagement team outside their office – during a warmer month – at 3420 Hurontario Street in Mississauga – one of five community offices open. (Metrolinx photo)

Metrolinx CEO, Phil Verster has announced Metrolinx will be opening three more community offices in the new year for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, Yonge North Subway Extension and Ontario Line projects.

“Our Community Engagement team is available and wants to hear from you,” said Verster.  “Whether you attend a public meeting or want to meet with our team one on one, we have a way for you to reach us.

“We are always looking for an opportunity to work better with the communities we serve as we continue to grow.”  

Visit Metrolinx.com/itshappening to receive project updates in your community, or sign up now here.

And as for the answer asked at the start of this feature – there have been 711,332 e-blasts sent out to communities in 2021.

With many more to come.

Story by Jonathan Ribeiro Marulanda and Laura Durie, Metrolinx senior advisors for Community Engagement