St. Andrews Subway Station

St Andrews Subway (click to enlarge)

Roy Thompson Hall/Metro Hall
St. Andrews Subway station is on the Yonge-University-Spadina line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  It was opened to the public in 1963 and serves about 55,000 people a day.  St. Andrews subway station enters into both the Financial District of Toronto on the west side of University Avenue and the Entertainment District on the East side of University Avenue.  This makes St. Andrews extremely busy during rush hour periods as it carries people to and from work and in the evening when people are going to the Entertainment district for theatre, dancing and dining.

Financial District (click to enlarge)
The Financial district expands from Queen to King Streets (north /south) and University to Yonge (east /west).  I took these pictures of the towering monetary monuments coming out of the St. Andrews station as you look up. Financial institutions such as The First Canadian Place, Scotia Plaza, TD Centre, Royal Bank Plaza, RBC Centre, Telus Tower and currently under construction is the Trump International Hotel and Tower.  I imagine that what will follow will be a Downtown Toronto Casino as well.  The Ritz Carlton is also currently under construction too. Of special Historical interest, the First Canadian Place was built over the Old Toronto Star building, which was built in 1929 and abandoned in 1970 when The Toronto Star moved to 1 Yonge Street.
The Entertainment District is along King Street just west of University Avenue.  The Prince of Wales, Royal Alexandra, Canon and Roy Thompson Hall are all within 1 block from the St. Andrews Station. Shows currently playing in Toronto are: 

Entertainment District(click to enlarge)
"Princess Queen of the Desert" Princess of Wales Theatre
"Rock of Ages" Royal Alexandra
"Wicked" Canon Theatre

Aroma Indian Buffet (click to enlarge)

Plus the Toronto International Film Festival has a new home called, The Bell Lightbox featuring Tim Burton's work (Edward Scissorhands)
Restaurants nearby are varied, the popular Dunn Street Pub and there is an awesome Indian Buffet, called "Aroma" which we ate lunch in.  I must warn you though, if you blink you might miss it and believe me you won't want to ;P It features Chicken Tandori, Marsala, Samosa, Butter Chicken and delicious Honey Balls ! 

Sherbourne Subway

Inside Sherbourne Station
(click to enlarge)
The Sherbourne  Subway station is on the Bloor-Danforth Line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  It was opened in 1966 and serves 25,000 people a day.  That number isn’t surprising at all since it serves St. James Town, which the largest highrise district in Canada.  St. James Town houses over 20,000 people in one area making it the most densely populated area in North America.

Sea of Buildings in St. James Town
(click to enlarge)
There are 19 high rise buildings in one area, some of them rising 34 stories up (yes, I counted them).  Four of the buildings are Public Housing and are home to new immigrants to Canada.  St. James Town is also statistically the poorest neighbourhood in Toronto with the average income less than $20,000 per year, but the northern portion of Jamestown is Rosedale  (see “Rosedale” on my blog) which is one of the most affluent neighbourhoods in Toronto.  

Bike racks, phone booths and dumpsters
(click to enlarge)
I stood there in the centre of a sea of buildings around me, and felt small and insignificant,  though people were friendly.   It didn't take long before I struck a conversation with some.  One person asked me "Oh, you don't live around here?" I replied, "No, I haven't seen anything like this before."  They laughed and said, "Well you haven't seen anything yet.  People jumping off balconies..." I didn't catch the rest of what was said.  I thought it strange they laughed about it but it was the way of life they grew accustomed to.  
In front of some buildings were racks and racks of bikes for those unable to afford cars and a collection of dumpsters. 

The Ongoing Construction in St. James Town
(click to enlarge)
St. James Town Park
(click to enlarge)
In every zone you could see ongoing construction signs, notices to amend, fences up, gates across and unfinished works always in progress.  Priorities are least here, I suppose.  The St. James Town West park was more of a walkway or a grassy clearing and then when the snow falls, it will become more like an ashen blanket.  One might think this all would become so uninspiring, but I noticed immediately such a strong sense of community.  

In large cities around the world, there are always the poverty stricken areas and Toronto does its best to offer the less fortunate a hand in opportunity to work, to live with dignity, shelter and food, regardless of race, religion or financial status.  Instead we embrace all our differences in way of food, culture, music and religion.  There are over 240 neighbourhoods in the GTA, each with its own identity and this is why Toronto is called, "the city of neighbourhoods."

Ossington Subway Station

Inside Station-difference in lighting from one
end of the track to the other
1 of several artists murals outside
Daycares in Neighbourhood
 The Ossington Subway station is on the Bloor – Danforth Subway line and was opened to the public in 1966 and serves about 25,000 people a day.   There are great bus connections going in every direction.  On the outside of the station I noticed a beautiful wall mural that was drawn on a wall outside of a daycare center. The painting depicts a varied race of parents and babies in a mythological setting.  One onlooker had told me that it once was a police station.  I ponder at the image and just take it in as an elaborate form of advertisement since there are more than one mural in the neighbourhood that adorn other daycare walls.  I would still rather see this type of thing instead of the usual stereotypical form of advertisement.

Janes Walk 2010
Ossington station is also a meeting place of many once of year who come to gather for “Janes Walk – The Wizard of Ossington” . There are over 40 “Janes Walks” across Toronto – all meeting up at various subway stations throughout the year.  The walks were originally the brainchild of  the late Jane Jacobs, who believed that we were losing 5 important pillars in our lives. To quote her, these are the lists that culturally if we lose them, she believed we may as well be entering the Dark Ages again.

1. Community and Family
2. Higher Education
3. The Effective Practice of Science
4. Taxation and Government
5. Self-policing by Learned Professions             “

The walks are designed to bring us together as a community, to learn about our culture, our neighbourhoods and to stop, and look around at a slower pace. 

You can find a list of walks to get involved in at

Summerhill Subway Station

Summerhill Station (click to enlarge)

Summerhill Subway station is on the Yonge-University Spadina Line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  It was opened in 1954 and serves only 5,000 people today.  This is mostly due to the fact that there are no buses or streetcars coming in or out of the station.  Nearby, just south of Summerhill is the former Summerhill North Toronto station which was once owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway (formerly CP rail) as of 1998.  

Summerhill Tower now LCBO)and then (CP Rail Station-1916)
Currently the building is being used as a Liquor store, but ever heard of history repeating itself? Apparently there have been proposals being made by GO Transit to have this landmark reopened as a railway for commuters coming from downtown's Union station and being used as a major interchange, but this hasn't been readdressed again since 2000, so it’s obviously not a major priority right now.  We will be seeing major infrastructural changes in the city that are now underway, known as the LRT (the lightrails).  I am currently working on a project to discuss that, but it will take some time. I'm excited about the LRT in Toronto as I am sure a lot of you will be.  I see it as a real move forward and anticipate a lot of people will be using this mode of transportation. Even above and beyond the novelty aspect of it, it's fast, (up to 70kph (which is faster than street traffic), safe, affordable (save on fuel, parking, maintenance), accessible for everyone (includes automatic doors, escalators, elevators), and of course environmentally friendly (uses electricity, no air pollution, plus in one trip a rider will use 65% fewer greenhouse gases.  But I'll save all that exciting stuff for another day!

Victoria Park Subway Station

Inside Vic Park Station
(click to enlarge)
Victoria Park subway station is on the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  It was opened in 1968 and serves and about 30,000 people a day.  There is a long footbridge that can be accessed by pedestrians along Victoria park at Danforth Avenue.  Another method to gain access to the station is by using a walkway directly across from Crescent town.  

Outside Vic Park Station
(click to enlarge)
Victoria Park is one of the stations currently being renovated and redesigned as part of the Station Modernization program.
 Other Stations include Dufferin, Pape , Union, and St. Andrews.  Construction goes on relatively often at subway stations all the time.  For example, Castle Frank, Donlands, Kipling and Woodbine all require second exits and still others are in need of repairs on sidewalks and wall replacements and so on. A modernization project however, entails adding ramps and elevators for full accessibility for everyone and adding safer bridges, platforms and sidewalks.  

Work in progress
(click to enlarge)
Shoppers World Danforth
(click to enlarge)
The bus terminal has now been fully demolished and they are currently constructing a new one at the street level.  Of course being a modern station, they will marry art and nature with cement, steel and progress.

No contracts :)
(click to enlarge)

What brings me to Victoria park station?  Well today I finally decided 6 months was too long without a cell phone.  So I went to the Shoppers World at the corner of Victoria park and Danforth and walked into a cell phone store, walked out 15 minutes later with a phone, a bag, a smile and no contract. 

I went to WIND, got this bag --guess that makes me officially a wind-bag ;)

Donlands Subway Station

Inside Donlands Subway
(click to enlarge)

The Donlands subway station is on the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission(TTC).  It was opened in 1966 and serves about 9,000 people a day.  On street level, the station is located at the corner of Danforth Avenue and Donlands. Donlands, although not a very busy station, is due for a revamp, and much to the dismay of nearby residents it's not backing down and taking no for an answer.  In the long run it really is for the safety of the residents anyways as the revamp will include a second exit for passengers in case of an emergency.

Donlands has an underground wye junction which allows trains to access the Greenwood yard (see "Greenwood Subway") which is the largest subway yard on the system.

Wye junctions are important because when there are three rail lines that join, it can be used to allow trains to pass from any line to any other line.

Outside Donlands Subway
(click to enlarge)
This is a Wye Junction (or Triangular)
The Wye junction is also referred to as a triangular junction.  Streetcars also use Wye junctions as well as the rail lines.  I didn't stay long at Donlands, but only as a stop over to visiting friends on the Danforth subway line.  I managed to peek at a few shops on the outside of the station, but really not much going on.  It's a very quiet neighbourhood, and other than a 7-11, there is a local chicken fast food place and that's about it.

North York Centre Subway

 North York Centre subway
station ((click to enlarge)
The North York Centre Subway Station is part of the Yonge-University-Spadina
line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  It is a beautifully constructed station that serves the North Central municipality of Toronto (formerly North York) and its civic workers as well as a host station for events in Mel Lastman Square and Toronto Centre for the Performing Arts. 

The Civic Centre / Entrance to Novotel Hotel
(click to enlarge)
The North York Centre is located off of Yonge street and between Sheppard to the south and Finch to the North. The Civic Centre (formerly North York City Hall)was once my work place before I had my children.  I worked for the City of North York with my husband.  He was in the Public Works department and I was in Public Health.  In 1998, North York City Hall was still a stunner of a building, made of brown brick and skylight windows overhead.  The departments were divided into multi-tiered layers and that theme played into the new Civic Centre as it appears today. 
The skylight windows brought in so much light in the daytime, limited electricity was used to light workspace.  Today, there is still a hint of the old structure, but a lot has been altered so its scarcely noticeable.

Located inside the Civic Centre is also the Toronto Central Public Library and is one of two in Toronto considered to be a research and reference library. 

Mel Lastman Square
(click to enlarge)
The Novatel Hotel is located inside the Civic Centre adjacent to the Toronto
Centre for the Performing Arts and has about 260 rooms averaging 150.00 a

Finally Mel Lastman Square is a gorgeous outdoor arena that hosts events year round.  It was named after our former beloved Mayor Mel Lastman who has since retired from political life, but his life is a blog in and of itself.

Mel Lastman Square includes 
personal signature (click to enlarge)

North York Centre subway station was built to answer the demands of the growing population of the City of Toronto to entice downtown core business
and communities to relocate uptown to release central congestion.  In the
last 10 years over 20,000 units of new housing have been approved, with over
16,000 of these presently built or under construction. 

Before a decade ago there was very little needed for a subway station between
Clockwise: Central Library, Novotel Lobby, 
Entrance to Library, Centre for the Perfroming 
Arts, Where am I?, Grand Lobby at the 
Civic Centre (click to enlarge)
Sheppard and Finch, however due to its current population growth North York Centre has proved to be a vital component in the Transit system of Toronto.

Broadview and Castle Frank Subway Stations

Inside Broadview and Castle Frank Stations
Broadview and Castle Frank Stations are on the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  Both stations were opened in 1966 and are both underground railway structures.  They are connected by the Bloor Viaduct which was constructed as a truss arch bridge, at a cost of $2.5 million (in today's inflation dollar it is equivalent to $36 million) and opened on October 18, 1918 as the Prince Edward Viaduct System.

Today it's more commonly known as the Bloor Viaduct, which covers a span of 1680 feet or 494 metres and connects the City from Bloor street East to Danforth avenue passing over the Don Valley parkway, the Bayview extension and Riverdale Park.

I found this huge air vent on the west
 side of the bridge. What it's for? 
Bloor Viaduct-Built 1918-note the "Luminous Veil"

Suicide Magnet-Long way down
I've crossed over this bridge a hundred times in my life by different modes of transportation.  By car, by bike and by train.  So I decided today since there was such a rich history in the construction to accommodate mass transportation in the City, I would enlist both Broadview and Castle Frank stations together in my research of the transit system here in Toronto.  What a gorgeous day it was to do it too!  I was able to take lots of pictures and spent most of my Saturday reading about the Viaduct.

Like many bridges in large cities, this one isn't any different as far as being a suicide magnet.   Its original design did not include the "luminous veil" which was put up in 2003 at a cost of $5 million dollars to prevent grief-stricken people from ending their lives by jumping over the bridge.  It also was to protect the traffic underneath in danger of being hit by a fallen body.  A sign is erected at the western most part of the bridge, which indicates the phone number to the distress center, standing by 24 hours a day to help listen and hopefully saving a life that day.
Beside it is a Bell public phone which requires no coin if you dial the helpline.

Although statistics have proven that the steel rods which look and behave much the same way as a ships mast, do not prevent suicides.  This is to the dismay of many unsympathetic people who feel that the view has been disturbed and was put up in vain due to the fact that one who is in that frame of mind may find alternative choices out of desperation.  As in the heart breaking story about Martin William Patrick McMullan, who jumped the 'Leaside Bridge' just  minutes away.  H was only 19 years old.  I pass by this whenever I am on the bike trail, and stop to pay my respects for the young man and think of his devastating last minutes.   These are pictures of the unprotected Leaside bridge.

Coxwell Subway Station

Coxwell Subway
The Coxwell subway station is on the Bloor-Danforth subway line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  On street level it is located at the corner of Coxwell and Danforth Avenues.  It was opened in 1966 and serves about 16,000 a day.

The Coxwell subway station is used as a switchover point for the subway operators coming on and off their shifts on the Bloor-Danforth line (east-west), just as the Eglinton station is used as a switchover on the Yonge-University Spadina line (north-south). There are sometimes slight delays at this station because of the switch changes.

Just minutes away from the station is the lovely Monarch Park and The Toronto East General Hospital which was opened for patient care in 1929.  The land from which the hospital was built on was donated by Billy McKay Jr., who was a local pig farmer in Toronto (borough of East York) from 1862-1943. He was never married so with his wealth, he donated a large portion of his land (Coxwell and Mortimer Avenues) to the Town of East York.  This land was used for a Public School, a municipal building and the Toronto East General Hospital.
Toronto East General Hospital
Many war veterans were treated at the Toronto East York General Hospital, so many War Vets made East York their home after the war.  Today on the donated land, there is a Memorial Park and East York’s War Memorial cenotaph which is treasured by local residents.  

East York Cetopath (War Memorial)
Lest we forget

Woodbine Subway Station

Woodbine Subway
The Woodbine Subway station is on the Bloor-Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC).  The station was opened in 1966 and today services approximately 13,000 people a day.  That number goes up during the warmer months of the year when many come through Woodbine station to get to the “Beaches” of Toronto.

Clockwise: Beaches Library, Firehall No. 217
R.C. Harris Treatment Plant, "Gardener's House"
(Kew Gardens), Fox Theatre House
The “Beaches” is a very popular spot, frequented by Torontonians and is also a well known tourist attraction.  Regular bus routes travel southbound from the station, taking you to an unbroken stretch of sandy shoreline that is never-ending to the naked eye.  Along the lake, there are streetcars running to and from downtown along Queen Street East.

There is so much to do in such a large area which extends from Victoria Park to Kingston Rd, Eastern Avenue to the shores of Lake Ontario.  Trendy and eclectic, the Beaches offers so much for everyone.  We went for a walk along the boardwalk on Sunday.  The boardwalk covers most of the length of the beach from east to west.  Near the east end there is a sewage treatment plant and on a hot humid day, you’ll know exactly what they’re treating!  But this time of year, in the fall, where the air is cool and the winds are high, pollution and smog aren’t a problem.  There are four beaches in the area: Balmy, Scarborough, Kew and Woodbine.  In the summer Woodbine, Kew and Balmy beach are all safe to swim in.  But it’s too cold now for that, so we just checked out a few places.

I don’t know if many of you ever had time to check out the historic buildings in the Beaches area since most of us really just go there to rollerblade, or have picnics, bike ride or just hang out by the beach.  But the Beaches area has been around as an attraction since before the first World War so there’s a lot of history here.  I love historical buildings and there are many designated under the Ontario Heritage act (see Rosedale and College Subway). 
Boardwalk and Kew Beach
Beaches Branch Public library was built in 1916, is gorgeous and has been revamped a few times, but kept its original integrity; it’ at 2161 Queen East.  The Dominion Bank at Queen and Lee was built 1911.  There is an old Movie house which is still operating called the Fox theatre, built in 1914, located at Queen and Beech Avenues. Kew Beach Firehall, No. 17 was built in 1905! It’s still used today. Finally we saw the Kew Williams House located at 30 Lee Avenue, built 1901-1902.

What a great day to be out! Hope you all get a chance to enjoy it.

Warden Subway Station

Inside Warden Station
The Warden Subway Station is located on the Bloor Danforth line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and was opened to the public in 1968.  On street level it’s situated at the southeast corner of St. Clair and Warden.  It sees only about 25,000 people day and for the most  part the area is pretty much an industrial wasteland. 

But Toronto has big plans for this undeveloped area.  What once used to be a Centennial  College site as well as a huge shopping mall (Warden Woods Mall/Power centre), has now become rubble and dirt paving the way to new housing developments.  Of course, what did you think?

Taylor Massey Creek
In all fairness though, Toronto is never scarce of abundant nature all around and I am seeing more and more of this everyday. 

If you walk across the street in what seems to be a bleak industrial zone for now, you’ll soon discover nice hiking trails like this one off of Warden Avenue, west of St. Clair.  Its called the Taylor Massey Creek Trail and although I don’t think you’ll find any fish in these shallow water flows, you’ll still get some pretty views in sight.  Not to mention it’s now early November and soon snow will fall on these parts.  I am already seeing signs of less and less green and more greys and browns.  Next spring when the rains fall heavily, I’m sure this spot is much prettier to look at.    

Greenwood Subway Station

Greenwood Subway Station

The Greenwood Subway Station is on the Bloor Danforth Line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). Although its called Greenwood station it is located on the corner of Linnsmore Avenue  and Strathmore Blvd near Danforth, just a block east of Greenwood. The station was opened in 1966 around the time the Greenwood Yards were being constructed. This marked the opening of the first segment of the Bloor –Danforth lines. 

Greenwood Yard- Photo by Voransicht (not me)
Although the station itself only sees about 9,000 people a day, the Greenwood Yard is the largest on the Transit system, located at Greenwood and Danforth Avenues. TTC personnel are the only ones who can get access to the yard through a secret fork in the underground tunnel running south of the east/west passenger tracks. The trains are stored overnight here that aren’t in service.
TO Works at work

Probably passed by Greenwood station for years and not once saw the inside of the station. Coming into the City from the east end of Toronto, commuters were at a standstill due to a water main breakage outside the station on November 3, 2010. The water flooded into the stations and onto the tracks down into the Greenwood Yard. Power was shut off to prevent electrical fires because the water touched the third rail. This caused delays on the entire Bloor-Danforth line and by 8:30 am trains were back on track, but now passengers had to contend with the long waits to get onboard.

Outside the Greenwood station, there were 26 shuttle buses provided running between Woodbine and Broadview. Just another example how efficient the infrastructure is and how much we depend on it to get around.

Before and After (am photo Citypulse / pm photo - me)
On my way home today, I took some pictures of the final clean up by our Toronto City Work crews. Service as usual and water main repaired. 

Sir Greek and Sir Sub ;)
I also took some last minute shots of the outside area since I lived at Pape and Danforth for years so was familiar with the area from the outside. Theres a nice mixture of small pubs, eaterys and fruit markets around. No major food stores though and I found this strange Tim Hortons shop that looked more like a small movie house and a Sir Greek & Sir Sub shop! I guess the owner is somehow related to Mr. Greek and Mr. Sub? Any ways just another day in paradise.

York Mills Subway Station

York Mills Subway 
The York Mills Subway Station is on the Yonge-University Spadina Line of the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC). It was opened March 1973 to the public and is situated at the corner(s) of York Mills Avenue and Yonge Street.  York Mills subway station serves an average of about 26,000 people per day.  The original plans for the subway was to build a railroad above ground, but nearby residents objected resulting in the alternate plan to build the railway underground. Because it is in a valley, the subway approaches the station at a high rate of speed on a steep downgrade in both directions.

York Mills Centre
Directly linked within York Mills station is access to the York Mills Centre, located on the northeast corner of York Mills and Yonge.  It contains a gorgeous food court, medical offices, two levels of shops, a fitness club, 4 interconnected office building and a private day care facility.

Hoggs Hollow / Winfield's Park
York Mills station is located in the affluent neighbourhood of Hoggs Hollow, named after a Scottish Settler, James Hogg who settled in the area in 1824.  He operated a very successful whiskey distillery and a grist mill along with his sons.  The Don River runs through Hoggs Hollow and much of the parks and trees have been preserved as it once was back in 1798 when the first settler came.  The homes in the Hoggs Hollow are high end and run from $1,200,000 to C$7,000,000.  They are surrounded by parkland (Winfield’s park) which was donated by the famous philanthropist, E.P. Taylor.
The Miller Tavern (nee Jolly Miller)-Front and Back view

Homes / Condominiums today
Much of the estate of James Hogg was subdivided in 1920, by his sons, to include homes, a church, a school and a tavern.  The Jolly Miller Tavern (1857) still remains today and is now known as the “Miller Tavern”(2004).  When I was in grade 7, I knew a lot of kids from my school who used go to the “Jolly Miller” tavern after school.  Now that I think about it, I don’t know how they were able to get in underage, but I guess I didn’t at the time.  I went to a local Junior High School in the area because it was closest to the apartment we lived in at the time.  Much of the kids that went to that school lived in the York Mills/Yonge area and were very rich.  I wasn’t.  That was my first experience in my life where I noticed that what I had, or what I thought we had, was nothing compared to what others had.  I remember during March break when a lot of the kids were talking about going to Fort Lauderdale or Myrtle Beach. I didn’t have any plans but to go swimming at the indoor pool across the park.  I was so envious of the richer kids.
Don River

But now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I realize that “you make a living by what you get, you make a life by what you give”.   That makes us all the same.