Toronto officially has another new rapid transit line coming its way. Municipal, provincial, and federal officials gathered at the Ontario Line's future Exhibition Station site yesterday to break ground at what will be the western terminus of the subway line about to undergo construction. Upon completion, the line will have 14 stations and will stretch a distance of 15.5 kilometres across the city, from Exhibition/Ontario Place in the west, to the Ontario Science Centre in the east.

Along with the ground breaking ceremony, the province released initial renderings of 13 of the 14 stations, which depict early planning and design concepts for the stations. Several of the new stations will connect to other transit routes including GO train lines, existing TTC subway and streetcar lines, and the Crosstown LRT which opens next year.

Looking northeast to a new station entrance on the grounds of Osgoode Hall, designed by HDR for Metrolinx

The Ontario Line is part of a larger buildout of new rapid transit lines announced by the Province in 2019. The plan for four priority transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area also includes the three-stop Scarborough Subway Extension, the Yonge North Subway Extension, and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension. Together they will expand the subway network by more than 50%.

Map of existing and upcoming transit in Toronto, image courtesy of Metrolinx

Last May, the Government of Canada announced over $10 billion in funding for those four projects, making it the largest joint investment in transit in the region’s history. Work has also already begun on the Scarborough Subway Extension.

Ontario Line map, image courtesy of Metrolinx

As construction gets underway at Exhibition Station, changes to the existing GO station will allow customers to continue to use it. The changes include a new station entrance and exit from Atlantic Avenue, shifting the existing GO rail track, and creating a brand new train platform. A temporary pedestrian bridge will also be constructed over the tracks between Liberty Village and Exhibition Place to provide pedestrians with additional access to trains.

Future Exhibition Station north entrance building and shared GO/Ontario Line concourse, designed by HDR for Metrolinx

"The Ontario Line is a massive transit project that will be a challenge to build in our city but I am confident that we will get this done and deliver the transit that will help ensure Toronto comes back stronger than ever," said Toronto Mayor John Tory.

Once open in 2030, the Ontario Line is expected to reduce crowding at Union Station by as much as 14% during the busiest travel hours, reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 14,000 tonnes annually, cut overall fuel consumption by more than 7 million litres a year by 2041, and stimulate the economy by creating thousands of new jobs in the transit sector. 

Future Gerrard Station entrance of the Ontario Line, designed by HDR for Metrolinx

“Public transit plays a pivotal role in reaching our climate goals and reducing congestion on our roads,” said the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Federal Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs, Infrastructure and Communities. “The Ontario Line will be a major addition to existing transit options in the GTA, and will enhance commuters’ ability to get to their destination on time and with ease. We are pleased to be partnering with the Government of Ontario and the City of Toronto to deliver this transformational project.”

Looking west through Leslieville Plaza to Riverside-Leslieville Station on the Ontario Line, designed by HDR for Metrolinx

Stations, designed by HDR, will have 100 metre long platforms, approximately the length of TTC Line 4 station platforms. In comparison, platforms on Lines 1 and 2 are 152.4 metres long. The stations will include platform doors that will open only when trains are stopped in the station. This will allow trains to enter and exit stations more quickly while also stopping refuse or people from falling onto the tracks.

Looking northeast to the Ontario Line Science Centre station (the Crosstown station will be linked below ground), designed by HDR for Metrolinx

Ten of the 14 stations are likely to be built to accommodate adjacent or integrated TOCs (or Transit Oriented Communities) in the future, or the TOCs may be built at the same time as the stations. The TOCs are not included in the renderings released so far, and every rendering whether the station will accommodate a TOC development or not, is noted to be a concept that may change. Osgoode, Queen, Moss Park, and Riverside-Leslieville stations are the exceptions to that plan

Consortia are currently bidding to build trains for the line, which have been specced very similarly to Montreal's REM trains for its soon-to-open new line. The winning Ontario Line rolling stock bidder is expected to be announced this Fall.

You can learn more from our Database files for the stations, linked below. There is no Database file for East Harbour station as yet, as renderings for it have not yet been released. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Buildings Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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