Metrolinx Breaks Ground on Ontario Line

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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Artist’s rendering showing an aerial view of Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station on Toronto’s west side. (Metrolinx image)

Metrolinx and Canada’s Ontario Province on March 27 broke ground at Exhibition Station, the western terminus of the new, 9.7-mile (15.6-kilometer) Ontario Line, an expansion of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) rapid transit system.

The Ontario Line’s western and eastern termini are, respectively, Exhibition (Ontario Place) and Science Centre.

The groundbreaking at Exhibition Station, located on the GO Transit Lakeshore West Line, one stop west of Toronto Union Station, and the location of the Exhibition Loop on the TTC’s 509 and 511 streetcar lines, “marks the start of construction for a new subway line that will support the delivery of better and faster transit for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).” 

GO Transit rail system map

Creating a new connection with GO Transit regional/commuter rail and TTC subway and streetcar services at Exhibition Station “will help relieve crowding at Union Station,” Metrolinx, the GTA’s regional transit agency noted. “Coupled with another connection to the GO Transit system at East Harbour (Lakeshore East Line), the Ontario Line could reduce crowding at Union Station by as much as 14% during the busiest travel hours.”

Artist’s rendering of Ontario Line’s Exhibition Station, with the Gardiner traffic passing by. (Metrolinx image)

The Exhibition Station station upgrade “will allow GO customers to continue to use the station during major construction for the Ontario Line,” Metrolinx said. These upgrades include opening a new station entrance/from Atlantic Avenue, shifting the existing GO main line and creating a new train platform. A temporary pedestrian bridge will also be constructed over the existing GO tracks to provide customers with additional safe access to trains between Liberty Village and Exhibition Place.

TTC streetcar system map

The province also released the initial renderings of 14 stations along the Ontario Line, the planned TTC rapid transit line linking Exhibition/Ontario Place and the Ontario Science Centre. The initial station renderings show early planning and design concepts for the Ontario Line stations, which will connect to more than 40 other transit routes, including GO Transit lines, existing TTC subway and streetcar lines, and the under-construction Eglinton Crosstown Light Rail Transit.

Artist’s rendering of Ontario Line’s Queen Station, located on northeast corner of Queen and Yonge, making use of existing TTC station entrance building . (Metrolinx image)

Metrolinx noted that, by 2041, the Ontario Line “will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14,000 tonnes annually and cut overall [motor vehicle] fuel consumption by more than 7 million litres (1.85 million gallons) a year, the equivalent to nearly 120,000 fill ups at the pump per year. Every C$1 billion invested in transit helps support 10,000 jobs and boosts Ontario’s real GDP by another C$1 billion.

Artist’s rendering of the Ontario Line above-ground station in Corktown at southeast corner of King Street and Berkeley Street. (Metrolinx image)

Ontario’s transit plan for the GTA includes a commitment of nearly $17 billion from the province for construction. In May 2021, the Government of Canada announced more than $10 billion in funding for Ontario’s priority subway projects in the Greater Toronto Area, “the largest joint investment in transit in the region’s history,” which includes the Ontario Line, the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension (to replace the aging Scarborough Rapid Transit line), the Yonge North Subway Extension and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. In July 2020, the Building Transit Faster Act became law, “providing the province with the tools to expedite the planning, design and construction process of Ontario’s priority transit projects, including the Ontario Line.”

Artist’s rendering of the Ontario Line station in the Moss Park neighborhood of Toronto. (Metrolinx image)
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