The Ontario Line subway has always seemed like a pipe dream — a figment of Premier Doug Ford's imagination that he seemingly invented just in time for announcing the Government of Ontario's take over of major Toronto transit infrastructure projects in April, 2019.

Nevertheless, that pipe dream is gradually turning into reality — a real project with tracks, stations, trains and, well, pipes. Provincial transit agency, Metrolinx, and the "procurement and commercial lead for major provincial construction projects," Infrastructure Ontario (IO), have announced that they have awarded a $6 billion fixed-price contract to Ontario Transit Group (OTC) for designing, building and financing the Ontario Line Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel (South Civil) package. The award includes $5.5 billion for capital costs and $0.5 billion for financing and transaction costs.

Map of the future Ontario Line subway, image, Metrolinx

The scope of work for the Southern Civil design-build-finance package includes:

  • a six-kilometre tunnel between Exhibition GO Station and a portal (where trains emerge from the tunnel) in GO Transit's Don Maintenance and Storage Yard west of the Don River;

  • ground works to build the tunnels and stations;

  • utility and conduit works to get sites ready for another contractor that will install mechanical and electrical systems; and

  • guideway structures and facilities to prepare for the same contractor to install the track structure.

Rendering of the Ontario Line's future Exhibition Station, image, HDR Architects via Metrolinx

OTG's contract also requires it to build seven stations for the new subway line:

  • an above-ground station, where passengers can connect with GO trains, at Exhibition GO Station;

  • two underground stations, where passengers can connect with TTC subway trains, at Osgoode and Queen stations; and

  • four new underground stations (King / Bathurst, Queen / Spadina, Moss Park, and Corktown).

The team includes:

  • Applicant Lead: Ferrovial Construction Canada Inc., VINCI Construction Grands Projets;

  • Design Team: AECOM Canada Ltd., COWI North America Ltd., GHD Limited, SENER Group;

  • Construction Team: Ferrovial Construction Canada Inc., Janin Atlas Inc.; and

  • Financial Advisor: Agentis Capital.

According to an IO news release, OTG "expects that its section of work for South Civil will strengthen Ontario’s economy by supporting an estimated 1,500 jobs at the peak of construction."

Rendering of the the Ontario Line's future Moss Park Station, image, HDR Architects via Metrolinx

The release continues, "The project underwent an open, fair, and competitive procurement process overseen by a third-party fairness monitor. Ontario Transit Group submitted the proposal which delivers the best value for Ontario taxpayers. The project is being delivered through IO’s Public-Private Partnership (P3) model, which transfers appropriate risks associated with design, construction and financing of the project to the private sector."

The two provincial agencies issued a request for qualifications to contractors in June, 2020 and shortlisted three consortia in September of that year. Metrolinx and IO then invited the shortlisted teams to respond to a request for proposals (RFP) that December. The RFP closed in June, 2022.

The team intends to mobilize its design and construction crews soon, starting major works in early 2023. Metrolinx and IO expect them to complete the contract in 2030.

Ontario proposes delivering the Ontario Line project through various contracts, which it is procuring through public-private partnership (P3) and traditional procurement models. Contract packages include this one for south civil, stations and tunnel and three others:

  • north civil, stations, and tunnel (for building infrastructure between the Don Yard portal and Eglinton Avenue East);
  • enabling works for bridge, track and other preparatory activities; and
  • RSSOM - rolling stock, systems, operations and maintenance.

IO explains that the 15.6-kilometre Ontario Line will connect the Ontario Science Centre to Exhibition Place / Ontario Place. It claims that the rapid-transit line will supply "faster, more frequent, and reliable access to rapid transit with more than 227,500 people living within a 10-minute walk of an Ontario Line station." It expects that the line will improve the quality of life for commuters by reducing daily travel time, reduce crowding on the TTC's Line 1 Yonge-University subway, and provide better transit access to as many as 57,000 more jobs in Toronto.

The future line features 15 stations, "with numerous connections to the broader transit network, including GO rail services, the TTC's Lines 1 and 2, the future Line 5 (Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line), as well as numerous bus and streetcar routes."

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UrbanToronto will continue to follow progress on the Ontario Line, but in the meantime, you can learn more about it from our Database file, linked below. If you'd like, you can join in on the conversation in the associated Project Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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UrbanToronto has a research service, UrbanToronto Pro, that provides comprehensive data on construction projects in the Greater Toronto Area—from proposal through to completion. We also offer Instant Reports, downloadable snapshots based on location, and a daily subscription newsletter, New Development Insider, that tracks projects from initial application.

Related Companies:  HDR