This morning Urban Toronto checked out the launch of Holey, the first of four Lovat Tunnel Boring Machnes, at the future site of Downsview Park Station.  Holey, along with siblings Moley, Yorkie and Torkie will help bore tunnels for the 8.6-kilometre extension of the Yonge-University-Spadina line.  This expansion is part of FLOW, a federal initiative for the GTA that is designed to reduce congestion, cut commute times, help clear the air and help drive the economy in the area.  The project is targeted for completion in late 2015.

Under ominous skies TTC Chair Karen Stintz, Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, Councillor and Chair of the Budget Committee Mike del Grande, Minister of the Environment Peter Kent, York Region Chairman and CEO Bill Fisch, and Ontario Minister for Transportation Kathleen Wynne spoke about how this project will improve the quality of life of Greater Toronto Area residents by providing a direct link to the city and offering commuters more choice in how they get to work.

Mayor Ford and Chair of the Budget Committee Mike del Grande make their remarks,Mayor Ford and Chair of the Budget Committee Mike del Grande make their remarks, image by Nigel Terpstra

The group then signed a piece of the tunnel liner.

The group signs a piece of the tunnel liner, image by Nigel TerpstraThe group signs a piece of the tunnel liner, image by Nigel Terpstra

The signed piece of tunnel liner, image by Nigel TerpstraThe signed piece of tunnel liner, image by Nigel Terpstra

And the moment all were waiting for: a flip of the switch, a short siren and Holey was offically launched.

The group 'flip the switch,' image by Nigel TerpstraThe group 'flip the switch,' image by Nigel Terpstra

A peek into the massive hole which will eventually become Downsview Park Station.  It is worth noting that Holey is over 4.5m tall, yet the station box excavation that it sits in is so massive, it looks like a small toy.

The hole facing east, image by Nigel TerpstraThe excavation facing east, image by Nigel Terpstra

The hole facing west, image by Nigel TerpstraThe excavation facing west, image by Nigel Terpstra

Here we look east across the enormous site towards Metro Place Condos and Downsview Subway Station, the line's current terminus.

The site facing east with Metro Place Condos in the background, image by Nigel TThe site facing east with Metro Place Condos in the background, image by Nigel Terpstra

The crew is eager to begin!

The Crew ready to work, image by Nigel TerpstraThe Crew ready to work, image by Nigel Terpstra

The TTC provided this incredible, up-close footage of the machines.   It also gives a good sense of how vast the hole is.  Enjoy!