Image shows Anne Marie

Between the Lines podcast – TBM naming contest winners, and the return of Cinnabon to Union Station?

Metrolinx chief spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins takes people’s questions on her Between the Lines’ weekly #AMAwithAMA podcast segment. This week, the winning names for the machines digging tunnels for two Toronto subway projects and possibly the most famous smell in Toronto train station history. Listen to the full episode below.

Do you smell that?

It’s one part nostalgia, two parts cream cheese icing, with a hint of cinnamon. 

The newest episode of Ask Me Anything with Anne Marie Aikins is out and it’s a sweet one.

Every Tuesday, Metrolinx Chief Spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins will answer your questions about Metrolinx, GO Transit, UP Express, PRESTO, and anything else you want to know about when it comes to transit.

This week, Anne Marie talks about the winners of the tunnel boring machine naming contests for the Scarborough Subway and Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, why GO trains are different shades of green and a sneak peek into the new stores coming soon to Union Station.

There’s one store in particular that emits an aroma instantly recognized by any seasoned Toronto commuter.

Stay tuned – and thank you! Between The Lines: A Metrolinx Podcast

Thank you to all of our thousands of listeners who have joined us so far. The Between The Lines team will be taking a short break over the summer, but we will be back. We want to hear from you! What topics should we focus on? What Metrolinx projects do you want to learn more about? What are you liking about the podcast? What would you improve? Send us your thoughts: podcast@metrolinx.com Have a great summer. Stay tuned… Host: Matt Llewellyn (@mattrolinx) Producer/Social: James Wattie (@jameswattie) Learn more at blog.metrolinx.com Credits: Gregory David / Shifting Out / courtesy of http://www.epidemicsound.com — Send in a voice message: https://anchor.fm/metrolinx/message
  1. Stay tuned – and thank you!
  2. Episode 21 – Top 5 reasons customers get in touch with GO Transit customer service
  3. Episode 20 – #AMAwithAMA – Terrifying near miss video, what are sun kinks and Pride Month begins
  4. Episode 19 – Walking The Entire Eglinton Crosstown Line
  5. Episode 18 – #AMAwithAMA – GO & UP service changes, rail safety and your transit questions answered

Return of Cinnabon?

It was recently announced that a new Cinnabon location is expected to open inside Union Station.

The original location famously stood in the old Bay Concourse until the area closed for construction in 2015.

A look at the old Bay Concourse with the iconic Cinnabon location
A look at the old Bay Concourse with the iconic Cinnabon location. (Metrolinx photo)

You can send your own questions to podcast@metrolinx.com or tweet them to @MetrolinxSpox using the hashtag #AMAwithAMA.

Between the Lines – Episode #4 transcript

Matt Llewellyn

You’ve got questions. Well, she’s got answers. I’m Matt Llewellyn, and it’s time for Ask Me Anything with Metrolinx chief spokesperson Anne Marie Aikins. Anne Marie how’s the week going so far?

Anne Marie Aikins

It’s going pretty well.

Matt Llewellyn

Let’s start with a story that was in the CBC about Metrolinx selling a piece of land in Port Credit and not including affordable housing as a condition of the sale. A lot of people, particularly on Twitter, are asking about that… about why that was the case, especially since the story didn’t really explain that.

Anne Marie Aikins

Yeah, it’s it is a really interesting one because sometimes you think you know things, there are simple answers to things, and this one, like always building affordable housing comes with its challenges and it seems like a simple solution.

Oh, we just make that happen. But our job is actually to unlock the potential of the land near transit stations and make sure that the development is transit supportive as possible… it’s mixed use and it’s really to encourage people to take transit or other modes to access our stations and to get there to optimize the use of the lands as much as possible. Unlock them, get jobs there. Get potential. So that’s our job. Affordable housing policies are not our mandate, but instead are the mandate of each individual municipality. The province empowered them to put rules in place for developers when they say, OK, now I bought this piece of land. How do I develop it? This is in their purview and all the municipalities, so we try to work with municipalities all throughout the GTHA on that. But the sale of this particular property in Port Credit is interesting because it’s a great opportunity. You would live near both a Port Credit GO station as well as the future Hurontario LRT. So that really provides community with connections and access to the region.So that’s kind of our job. Our job is to unlock the potential, it’s municipalities job to ensure that there are things like affordable housing built in to the development process.

Matt Llewellyn

And I guess another example of this would be that in Toronto, they already have done lots of work in terms of this inclusive zoning and those types of policies where it seems that there is a lack of one in Mississauga.

Anne Marie Aikins

Well, the city of Toronto, yeah, has built that in so that the developers, when they want to go to the city to develop, actually develop now that the piece of property that they bought and we don’t have a lot of property in Toronto that we can sell, but when they do, then they want to develop on it. Then they go to the city and they give the rules and they have a rule that says you have to have 30% of your development has to be affordable housing. So that’s how they build it right into the process.

Matt Llewellyn

I think that’s a nice segue into another story about development. This one is the development of two major transit lines in downtown Toronto, the winning names for the TBMs [tunnel boring machines], Diggy Scardust for the Scarborough subway extension and then the TBM for the Eglinton West Crosstown was Rexy and Renny. Take us through a little bit some of the other favorites that you had that maybe didn’t get chosen.

Anne Marie Aikins

Well, it’s always really fun when we get a new TBM, and it’s building two new transit lines. And we always name them, it’s just a long history of transit that the TBMs are named and there were so many,

there were literally hundreds of choices that we had. All good, funny. Some, perhaps we couldn’t just say out loud in public, but there were lots and lots of entries. People were really excited about it.

Matt Llewellyn

Diggy McDigface, I guess, too.

Anne Marie Aikins

Yeah, I know I’m too polite to say some of them in public, but we did have lots of other fun ones. A lot of people put three names together because there were three TBMs to name like Athos, Porthos and Aramis from the Three Musketeers. Carlton, the Raptor and Ace from our, of course, our beloved team mascots. So that was a kind of cool one, too. Some guy submitted his girlfriend’s name as Mina, and we’re assuming that it’s not either a desperate attempt to get her back, or it was meant as a tribute. We’re not really sure about that. Other funny ones included for the Scarborough Subway Extension Digger McDiggerface, lots of those and Tunnelly McTunnelface and Scarboring… that was a particularly fun one for me. But personally, my two favorites were Dwayne The Rock Borer Johnson and the Brendan Fraser Borer. I thought those were just, I think people really have great imaginations. You know the best part is when we announce the winners. The two winners on Twitter were so excited. Oh my goodness, they just can’t wait to go to the unveiling. They really do feel like they’re a little piece of history.

Matt Llewellyn

I understand one of them has even asked for a little bit of dirt.

Anne Marie Aikins

I know he wants to put the dirt together in a jar and keep that as a memento. I think that’s a great idea, too.

Matt Llewellyn

Awesome to see the excitement around that one. Another question for you. This one has to do with GO Trains. Why are there so many different shades of green on those coaches and locomotives?

Anne Marie Aikins

So a few years ago, we did launch new branding for GO and it included just a slight variation of the green and just a slight variation of our logo. And we began the process of repainting the trains. It’s no problem, when your new ones are coming in because they come in in the new colors. But we didn’t want to spend

money we didn’t need to. So we only repaint the older coaches and locomotives when they are ready for refurbishment or repairs. So you end up with a train that has slightly different variations and the coaches… the colors. But it’s always exciting when I see a whole long 10-12 car train and it’s all the new green. That’s pretty cool.

Matt Llewellyn

And fun fact you can tell the new ones they don’t have rivets in the side of them, the coaches, they’re more smooth and those are the ones that’ll have those new seats as well, which some people prefer, other people prefer the more I guess you could say traditional type of GO seats as well, that’s another contentious one for customers.

Anne Marie Aikins

That’s true. That’s true.

Matt Llewellyn

And if you take that GO train into Union Station, you might end up with a familiar smell very soon. This one I know isn’t necessarily fully in Metrolinx’s scope but man, when you start talking about Cinnabon, it brings back a lot of nostalgia. Isn’t it that the scent is… what is it? It’s the sense that’s most tied to emotion or something like that.

Anne Marie Aikins

I don’t know, but I’m telling you it sure was tied to my clothes and my hair because I’d have to go by it every day, several times a day to go to my office. And I used to be able to smell that when I go home, I go, I still smell that cinnamon. We’re the biggest presence down at Union Station, Metrolinx, so people assume we control everything, but we don’t. It’s actually managed, the whole facility, is managed by the city of Toronto and we all work together on it and the actual stores that are in it, the vendors are managed by a company the city hires. So we usually hear about what’s coming to Union Station the same time everybody else is hearing about it. Late last week, we did hear some exciting news people heard that Cinnabon is gonna come back in the new Bay Concourse. It’s just recently opened as you’re aware, and the stores are just kind of gradually coming. Tim Hortons, of course, is there, but they’ve got a lower concourse just like York Concourse does that has so much availability. And so some of them are putting signs up saying they’re coming. But we heard Cinnabon is coming and that got people very excited and it made me wonder I’m going to start smelling like that again. But what I heard, which kind of excited me a lot and I bet you as well, Matt was an LCBO is coming back. It used to have the smallest LCBO, I think ever. But it was so popular. A great place to get wine on a Friday night, and I am sure I saw you in line a few times in that store, Matt.

Matt Llewellyn

I’m thinking ice wine and Cinnabon for Friday, you know, dessert on a weekly basis. I’m not sure.

Anne Marie Aikins

I don’t know. Or you’ll have to ask your wife if she would want that. What I really found fascinating because I don’t know what really it is. But they also said that a cannabis lifestyle store is coming and… All kinds of images came to mind of caftans, and maybe that shows how old I am, but that apparently is coming as well kind of an oyster bar that’s coming and just a sports bar. All kinds of things are coming. They’re wanting Union Station to be a destination place for sure so that you would go there even if you don’t have to take transit. But they’re certainly making it enticing.

Matt Llewellyn

And it sure makes reading for a train much more interesting, that’s for sure.

Anne Marie Aikins

That’s for sure.

Matt Llewellyn

Thanks, Anne Marie.

Anne Marie Aikins

You’re welcome.

Matt Llewellyn

Anne Marie will be back next Tuesday for another AMA with AMA. Do you have a question? Email podcast@Metrolinx.com. And remember to tune in this Thursday for another episode of Between the Lines: A Metrolinx Podcast. I’m Matt Llewellyn