Be flexible and give yourself plenty of extra time if you’re heading into downtown Toronto on June 4 – 5

With closures on the Don Valley Parkway and Gardiner Expressway, construction on the Barrie GO Line, hourly service on the Lakeshore West GO Line and partial closures of the TTC’s Line 1 and Line 2 subways on Saturday and Sunday, getting around downtown Toronto is going to require some extra patience.

With a long list of road closures and transit disruptions scheduled for this weekend, it’s going to take a lot longer – and plenty of patience – to get to and from downtown Toronto.

“Whether you’re driving or planning on taking transit, our number one message to travellers this weekend: please give yourself plenty of extra time to safely get to your destination,” said Metrolinx chief spokesperson, Anne Marie Aikins.

Starting on the rails, the transit agency says Lakeshore West GO Trains will be operating on an hourly basis to accommodate some important construction happening at Exhibition GO Station.

As a result of that work, Exhibition GO will be busier than usual since both east and westbound trains will be using the north platform.

Niagara trains may also take longer than usual as a result of the construction.

On the Barrie Line, construction on the Davenport Diamond means there will be no service between Downsview GO and Union Station this weekend as well. Customers wishing to make their way to or from the downtown core are being advised to use the TTC to get to and from Downsview. 

Once there, Barrie Line customers are being warned GO Trains will only be running between Allandale Waterfront and Downsview GO Stations every three hours. To avoid any potential headaches, it’s suggested Barrie Line customers use stations along the Stouffville Line if possible, where regular train service is running to and from Union Station all weekend long.

Additionally, any customers using Aurora and East Gwillimbury can take advantage of a special GO bus that will provide additional service between those stations and the Union Station Bus Terminal.

“We know it’s not ideal, but this is critically important expansion work – and we will have additional staff at these stations throughout the weekend to help people navigate all the changes,” Aikins said.

Meanwhile in downtown Toronto, many GO buses will be diverting around closures on the Gardiner Expressway and the Don Valley Parkway (DVP) starting Sunday morning.

Both of those major routes will be blocked off to drivers for the Bike for Brain Health fundraiser. A section of Lake Shore Boulevard is also closed for construction.

Metrolinx says customers on the following GO bus routes will experience the most significant delays because their buses will be avoiding those road closures:

  • Route 16 (Hamilton/Toronto Express) will take customers to Aldershot GO to connect with hourly Lakeshore West train service
  • Route 21 (Milton) will take customers to Port Credit GO and connect to additional train service running express to Union Station
  • Route 31 (Kitchener) will take customers to Port Credit GO and connect to additional train service running express to Union Station
  • Route 65 (Barrie) will take customers to Finch Terminal to connect to TTC Line 1

It’s expected the diversions will tack on about a half hour to most trips.

Once downtown, transit riders locally will also face longer travel times on certain routes.

The TTC’s Line 2 subway between Jane and Ossington stations will be closed for track work.

And on Line 1, customers using stations between Wilson and Lawrence West will experience delays as a result of track maintenance. As part of that work, anyone using Yorkdale Station is reminded to board southbound trains on the northbound side of the platform until the end of service on Sunday.  

Despite all the downtown road closures and work happening on Line 1 and Line 2, the TTC’s Chief Corporate Affairs Officer says riding the rocket is still the best way to get around Toronto this weekend.

“With ongoing transit and transportation upgrades and improvements happening across Toronto, we would encourage our customers to visit our website so they can plan their trips with maximum efficiency,” Natalie Poole-Moffatt said.

Toronto’s Chief Communications Officer, Brad Ross, says he doesn’t expect this weekend’s road closures and transit diversions to stop people from taking in the sights and sounds of the city. “After more than two years of COVID-19 restrictions, and with warm weather in the forecast this weekend, both residents and visitors will be out exploring and enjoying all that Toronto has to offer,” he said. “We encourage everyone to consider using public transit or the growing network of bike lanes to get around.”

Metrolinx also notes there’s a good chance that many of its trip planning tools, such as Triplinx and Google Maps, will not be updated to reflect the GO bus diversions that are happening as a result of the road closures.

For the most accurate information, customers should get to their station or stop early – and speak to staff who will have the most accurate information about how to most effectively get to their destination safely.

As well, the service alerts page on the GO Transit website will be updated regularly and anyone wishing for updates for their specific routes is being encouraged to sign up for On the GO Alerts. You can do that here: https://onthegoalerts.gotransit.com/en/account/onthego

Story by Kate Manicom, communications planning senior advisor and Matt Llewellyn, spokesperson and media relations senior advisor