Toronto has been buzzing over the last few days with celebrations for the first new subway stations to open here in 15 years. The six-station extension of Line 1 isn't just big news for Toronto though, it's also huge for the Region of York, and especially the City of Vaughan, which becomes the first municipality beyond Toronto's boundaries to get its own subway stations. The GTA, at the same time, gets new reason to add three acronyms to the popular lexicon: VMC, YRT, and BRT for Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, York Region Transit, and Bus Rapid Transit if you weren't sure. 

Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station at night, image by Craig White

Three new stations—Pioneer Village, Highway 407, and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC)—all have terminals to serve York Region Transit (YRT) buses, while VMC also gets a Viva BRT (or Bus Rapid Transit) station too. Built in the centre of Highway 7, riders of express Viva Orange and 501 Züm (Brampton Transit) buses can now connect under Highway 7 to the VMC subway station. From there, they now have a fast link to Downtown Toronto—all the way to Union in just 43 minutes—or about 15 minutes or so quicker than previous options to anywhere the TTC serves.

A few fun facts about VMC Station for Viva BRT:

  • Single canopy is 50m long x 22m wide – bigger than the other vivastations to accommodate more bus and passenger traffic.
  • Steel structure assembled as three roof sections [now installed]; eight ladder sections [the first just arrived]; and 70 smaller infill sections.
  • Uses a combination of aluminum, painted steel, ceramic frit and tinted glass panels – overall, the station will appear light grey with blue and white accents.
  • Heated waiting areas on each platform.

The VMC BRT station in the centre of Highway 7, image by Craig White

The opening of the VMC BRT station also comes with improved road conditions for the Viva and Züm buses, as a new segment of the rapidway—special bus lanes in the centre of the road where cars will not slow them down—has also been opened. The Rapidway now extends from Edgeley Boulevard west of the VMC BRT station, 3.6 kilometres to Bowes Road to the east. At the same time, there are two more segments of Rapidway under construction and planned to be opened in 2018: to the west, the rapidway will extend another 4.4 km to Bruce Street in Woodbridge, while to the east, new rapidways on Centre and Bathurst streets and another section of Highway 7 will allow the Viva buses to get to Richmond Hill in less time.

Inside Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station at night, image by Craig White

More good news for transit users in Vaughan will also come in 2018 when riders of several YRT routes will see the buses begin servicing the new Smart Centres Terminal on the north side of VMC subway station. Designed by Diamond Schmitt Architects, the new terminal will serve buses 10, 20, 26, 77, and Mobility Transit services. The terminal is well placed for Smart Centre's new mixed-use YMCA/Vaughan Library/PwC office tower opens in 2019.

Looking northwest to the SmartCentres Terminal at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre

It all means that for getting from Vaughan to Toronto, or for getting to the growing list of places now open or under construction at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre, or even for getting to Vaughan from Toronto, the transit options are now faster and more convenient, and everyone benefits from that. At the same time, the GTA has a viable new centre, exciting to watch being born, and as it continues to grow.

We have connected several of our database files to the bottom on this page for projects now open or upcoming from around the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre area. Click any of the links to see plenty of renderings of the projects, or click on the associated Forum thread links where you'll be able to get in on the conversations. You are also invited to leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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