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Project Newsletter - Winter 2010

February 3, 2010

Welcome to the latest edition of the community newsletter devoted to the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) project. This winter 2010 edition updates a 2009 edition that provided background and some key features of the $2.6 billion project.

Preliminary work on this historic subway project is setting the stage for the tunnel boring and station construction of the 8.6-
kilometre subway extension over the next few years. The TYSSE project team is busy with the design work, consultation and contracting, with construction on track to begin later this year.

Subway Construction

Tunnel boring machine

The project goal is to minimize the impact of the new subway construction on the environment, as well as on businesses and residents along the route.

The subway extension will originate at the existing Downsview Station and Vaughan. Studies conducted as part of the  environmental assessment process helped to determine the best route for the subway tunnels and stations. The studies considered how to minimize construction that would directly affect residential areas, fuel storage facilities and heritage features.

The tunnel-boring technique being used to create the subway tunnels deep below the surface will make as little disruption as possible in the sections that are being tunnelled. Lovat Inc., a Toronto based company, has been awarded a $58 million ontract to build the four tunnel boring machines that will be used. About 6.6 kilometres of the 8.6 kilometre project length will be tunnelled using these machines.

The remaining length of the project will be constructed using a cut-and-cover technique. The stations will all be constructed using this method which involves excavating the station area. In some areas, the stations are in or near roads and the excavated areas will need to be covered over to allow traffic and pedestrians to move about. The project team is developing detailed plans for staging construction in these areas. This work will include access arrangements for businesses and other properties affected. These plans will be shown at open houses as part of the station designs.

During construction, local residents and businesses will be notified of any road detours in advance and construction liaison staff will be available to answer questions. A dedicated phone line and the project e-mail address will also be available so people can conveniently ask questions or make comments.

Meet your neighbour - York U

Harry W. Arthurs Common, York University

York University, the third largest university in Canada, is home to more than 42,000 full-time and 9,000 part-time students. York has earned an excellent international reputation for its academic programs.

More than 30,000 people move through York’s campus at Keele Street and Steeles Avenue daily. The new Toronto-York Spadina subway line will offer an attractive alternative to the bus and automobile.

The subway extension that will connect the City of Toronto and York Region will have a stop on campus called York University Station and another station, the Steeles West Station, northwest of the campus.

Bud Purves, President of York University Development Corporation, is enthusiastic about the new subway line. He commented: “With a subway station located in the heart of York’s campus, the university community will be linked to York Region as well as to downtown Toronto. It will also remove barriers to the campus and take 1,600 buses out of York Common daily.

When the subway extension is completed, York University will be linked with the University of Toronto, the MaRS Discovery District, the Royal Ontario Museum and the Archives of Ontario. I predict that the line will become known as the arts and knowledge route.”

Designs for the York University Station and Steeles West Station are in the early development stages. Interested members of the public saw the initial drawings of the station design at an open house event in December.

York University Station

Artist rendering of Aerial view - York University Station

The design for the York University subway station was conceived by architects and engineers working together in a design team known as Arup Canada Inc. in association with Fosters & Partners.

The station will provide a front door to the campus, offering passengers a pleasing experience from the subway platform to the station’s concourse level and exterior. The station will be aligned with Vari Hall, consistent with the campus’s main axis.

The station is designed as a sunken landscape in the Harry W. Arthurs common with a lower-level entrance that will benefit from natural light during the day. A visually striking roof-canopy will mark the entrance. Passengers will have a choice of  elevators, escalators and staircases for access to the well-lit, double-height ticket hall.

Subway Construction reveals local history

Archaeological digging & screening for Artifacts

Before building a subway, environmental studies are conducted that include archaeological assessments. The assessments often unearth fascinating local history. In the case of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, remnants of a mid-19th century home were identified at the site of the future Highway 407 subway station. Archival records indicate that the house belonged to a Richard Brown and his family, who lived there from the 1860s to the 1880s.

The Browns were a family of modest income and living standard. More than 2,000 artefacts have been collected from the site. The items include nails, window glass, ceramic vessels, clothing, buttons and bottle glass - items that help to shed light on the kind of life the family led.

Further removal of topsoil at the site uncovered simple traces of other 19th-century structures such as privies and post holes. Once these features are exposed, they are used to create an illustration of what the original homestead site actually looked like.

Archaeological assessments make it clear that building for the future often has roots in the past.

Sheppard West Station

Artist rendering of Aerial view - Sheppard West Station

Sheppard West Station will be located in the northern section of Parc Downsview Park. This unique station site will be located under the existing GO Transit line. Convenient connections between the subway and GO Transit will create a station that is a gateway to the park, Canada’s first urban national park. The station will have bright, airy entrances, with sloped green roofs and will be integrated with future pedestrian plazas that are planned developments in the Sheppard and Chesswood neighbourhoods.

AECOM leads and manages the multi-disciplinary team of consultants who are developing the design of the Sheppard West Station. Aedas are the design architects working with AECOM to provide architectural and engineering design services.

The first of two public open houses on the preliminary design of the Sheppard West Station were held in November 2009. The next open house will be held in spring 2010.

Meet the Artists

Making subway stations artistically pleasing isn’t a new concept - the TTC has been incorporating public art into its subway stations and along its streetcar lines since 1978.

Each of the six stations that are now being designed for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will include public art. Station artists were selected last summer and are working with the lead architects to produce a unique look for each station. Here are the six artists who will be creating works for the new subway station.

Panya Clark Espinal

Panya Clark Espinal

Panya Clark Espinal, based in Toronto, Ontario, has been awarded the public art contract for Sheppard West Station. Ms. Espinal has previously worked with the Toronto Transit Commission on public art for Bayview Station and for St. Clair LRT. She is interested in how we interpret the world we see in representation. For more information: http://www.panyaclarkespinal.comThis is an external site and it will open in a new window..

Bruce McLean

Bruce McLean

Bruce McLean, based in London, United Kingdom, has been awarded the public art contract for Finch West Station. Mr. McLean in an internationally recognized artist, known for his performance art, as well as photography and sculpture. His work is currently featured in the Tate Gallery in London.

Jason Bruges Studio

Jason Bruges

Jason Bruges Studio, based in London, United Kingdom, has been awarded the public art contract for York University Station. The team of 14 that make up Jason Bruges Studio create mostly stand-alone pieces installed after a building is complete, as well as time-based mixed media. For more information: http://www.jasonbruges.comThis is an external site and it will open in a new window.

Jan Edler (realities: united)

Jan Edler

Jan Edler (realities: united) based in Berlin, Germany, has been awarded the public art contract for Steeles West Station. Tim and Jan Edler and their team are known for their technology-based media platforms and are interested in the concept of facades and the nature of pixels and how they resolve into images. For more information: http://realities-united.deThis is an external site and it will open in a new window..

David Pearl

David Pearl

David Pearl, based in Toronto, Ontario, has been awarded the public art contract for Highway 407 Station. Mr. Pearl works primarily in enamel on glass and is known for his large, stand-alone pieces. For more information: http://www.david-pearl.comThis is an external site and it will open in a new window..

Paul Raff Studio

Paul Raff Studio

Paul Raff Studio based in Toronto, Ontario has been awarded the public art contract for Vaughan Corporate Centre Station. Artwork produced by the Paul Raff Studio is highly integrated into architecture. Mr. Raff is interested in the uniqueness of place, light, and human movement. For more information: http://www.paulraffstudio.comThis is an external site and it will open in a new window..

Bus Route Changes


Review the new changes to bus routes in the area to connect to the new subway extension.

Read about it here!

Need Information

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Call 416-393-4636 (INFO) automated information available 24 hours daily.

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Photo Gallery

Check out the latest construction photos and project YouTube videos.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery.

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