The names that stuck – winning names for the Eglinton Crosstown West and Scarborough Subway Extension tunnel boring machines revealed

After thousands of votes from the community, the winning names are in for the Scarborough Subway Extension’s tunnel boring machine and the two machines that will build the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s twin tunnels.

The results are in, and they are heavy on the puns (sorry, Diggy McDigface didn’t win).

After months of voting and deliberation, the winning names are decided for the Scarborough Subway Extension’s tunnel boring machine (TBM) and the two TBMs that will build the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s twin tunnels.

And the winners are:

  • Diggy Scardust for the Scarborough Subway Extension’s TBM
  • Rexy and Renny for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s TBMs
Watch the winning names get revealed for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s TBMs
Watch the winning name get revealed for the Scarborough Subway Extension’s TBM

How we got here

In October 2021, Metrolinx launched two naming contests to crowdsource the names of the earth-digging superstars that will build the tunnels for two major subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

one of the TBMs in the german factory
Diggy Scardust during factory testing in Germany in September 2021 (Strabag photo)

Metrolinx received hundreds of submissions for names from the community and shortlists of names were published for people to vote on.

After receiving thousands of votes from the community, Diggy Scardust, Rexy, and Renny were the names that really stuck.

Who came up with the winning names?

Jean-Pierre Veilleux, who submitted ‘Diggy Scardust’ for the Scarborough Subway Extension’s TBM, was thrilled to receive the news. His submission was inspired by Boaty McBoatface, but he really wanted to make it relevant to Scarborough.

“Diggy was already on my mind and it took a half second to get to ‘Ziggy Stardust’. With the assonance of ‘Star’ and ‘Scar’ for ‘Scarborough’, the leap was pretty immediate,” said Veilleux.

“Coincidentally, 2022 also marks the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie’s ‘The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars’ album.”

Not only does the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension have two TBMs, it also has two winners for its TBM naming contest: Steven Sansano, who submitted the names Rexy and Renny as a pair, and Ryan Bignell, who also submitted the name Renny.

close up of the TBM
One of the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension TBMs during factory testing in Germany in October 2021. (Metrolinx photo)

These names are a tribute to Renforth Station (Renny) in Mississauga and the Rexdale neighbourhood (Rexy) in northwest Toronto that is adjacent to the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension.

Sansano and Bignell each echoed Veilleux’s excitement when they learned they had submitted the winning names.

Sansano’s submission was inspired by the connection between transit and the community.

“Public transit is very important to a community because it makes that community more accessible to the entire population and brings people closer together,” said Sansano, explaining why he submitted the name Rexy.

“Renny is for Renforth Station, which is an important hub connecting Mississauga Transit, GO Transit, and TTC all in one location.”

Image shows a crane raising the big TBM.
The cutterwheel from Rexy (or is it Renny?) arriving at the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension launch site in December. (Metrolinx photo)

The journey to the starting line

Rexy, Renny and Diggy Scardust have been making their way to their respective launch shafts after arriving in Canada last month.

Assembly has started for all three machines and will continue over the next few months.

Depending on site conditions and public health guidelines in the spring, the winners will be invited to take a photo with these machines before they are lowered into the ground.

Image shows a crane and the TBM.
Parts of Diggy Scardust being unloaded for assembly at the launch shaft site (Strabag photo)

Metrolinx News will continue to bring you the latest ‘boring’ updates about Rexy, Renny and Diggy Scardust’s tunnelling journeys as they progress.

Hopefully with a few more puns along the way.

For the latest Scarborough Subway Extension updates, click here.

And for the latest information about the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, click here.

Story by Joshua Patel and Kimberly Murphy, Metrolinx Senior Advisors, Subway Program