Construction is continuing on the Toronto Transit Commission’s Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension, and today we take a look at the fourth of the six new stations on the extended Spadina subway line —Pioneer Village Station. The station is situated on Steeles Avenue West east of Jane Street at the Northwest Gate to York University, straddling the border diagonally between the cities of Toronto and Vaughan.
The main entrance will be situated in Vaughan, across Steeles Avenue from York Stadium. North of the main entrance, in the hydro corridor, there will be a YRT bus terminal and a massive, 1,850-space commuter parking lot, providing a convenient link for those travelling between the City of Toronto and York Region.
South of Steeles and just east of York Stadium will be a TTC bus terminal with an automatic entrance integrated into the south end, and another automatic entrance in a separate building off Northwest Gate.
The name for the station was originally to be Steeles West, but it was renamed in 2012 to Black Creek Pioneer Village Station, after the heritage attraction located about 800 metres to the west. It is expected that the proximity of the station to the attraction will raise its profile and boost its attendance.
In 2013, the name was chopped further to just Pioneer Village, after it was found that the full name did not work well with the planned design element for the entrance buildings, which would feature the station name wrapped around the roofs.
A visit to Pioneer Village station at the moment reveals how construction is progressing, with a few of the buildings already taking shape. The skeletal frame for the automatic entrance by Northwest Gate looks to be nearly complete. To the east of the Northwest Gate entrance lies the construction site for the bus terminal, still in its beginning stages.
Northwest of the site is the station box, still open and visible from Steeles Avenue West.
The power substation that is located north of the main entrance looks to be close to its final form, with its distinctive weathering steel and porcelain panel cladding already in place.
Speaking of the cladding, Pioneer Village Station’s rusted, “post-apocalyptic” look was designed by the Spadina Group Associates, a joint venture between U.K. “starchitect” Will Alsop of aLL Design and Toronto's Stevens Group Architects, who are also providing architectural design for Finch West Station and who have worked on many TTC stations over the years.
Inside, station art will be provided by realities:united, a Berlin studio founded by brothers Tim and Jan Edler. The concept for Pioneer Village Station is titled “LightSpell”, and will feature an array of light elements, 62 in all, that can display characters and numerals in special arrangements. It will also double as the station’s lighting.
Being that Pioneer Village Station is located at the northwestern edge of the York University campus, one of its other purposes is to be a second station that, along with the more centrally located York University Station, will better serve the university’s large commuter population across the wide-spread campus. Besides games at York Stadium, the station will be handy for attendees to events at the nearby Rexall Tennis Centre. As well, the station is expected to encourage development of commercial/industrial land in the area north of Steeles Avenue.
Pioneer Village Station is currently scheduled to open with the rest of the new stations in Fall 2016, however, TTC CEO Andy Byford has hinted that the opening may be delayed further to 2017. According to TTC Chair Maria Augimeri, there have been problems with Pioneer Village Station in particular that have slowed construction progress down. There have been alternatives proposed that would either see trains turn back at York University Station or bypass Pioneer Village Station entirely until work is finished there, but no definite plan is expected until an expert panel analyzing the situation presents their findings to the TTC in December.
If you want to know more about the station, the UrbanToronto dataBase file for the project, linked below, has several more renderings. If you want to talk about the station, join in on the conversation in the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.
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