Toronto-York subway extension is now officially open
Along with dozens of other excited passengers, Mayor John Try rode the first train northbound that departed Sheppard West station (formerly Downsview Station) at 8 a.m. He then met Premier Kathleen Wynne at Pioneer Village station. “This is the day when people can actually see what can happen when governments work together,” said Tory Sunday morning. “This city is starved for transit to get people out of their cars, to get congestion reduced, to get the environment protected and to give people more time with their families. So the lesson of today is that we can do it.” The six new stations the extended 14-minute route include stops at Downsview Park station, Finch West station, York University station, Pioneer Village station, Highway 407 station, and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station.
Levi gathered a transfer at each of the six stations and placed them in a white envelop to take home as keepsakes. He wanted to ride the first train directly to Vaughan. At each new stop from Sheppard West, he waited for the train to close its doors and take off again. On his way back to Sheppard West, this time, he got off at each station to explore.
Many of the shiny, silver stations have artistic elements to them. Finch West station has colorful glass windows, the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station features mirrored ceilings and skylights and the windows of the Highway 407 station are splashed with bright blue, pink and yellow paint.
“All the stations are remarkable in their own way, the use of natural night is amazing and everything is really well organized,” said Levi. “I was stunned, I sat there looking and gaping — it’s remarkable how giddy you can become for a subway, it’s a crazy city, a subway opens and we are all tremendously giddy.”
Dozens of people cheered and clapped as the first subway arrived at Sheppard West station. Others were surprised by the commotion. Some students, on their way to York University, held pages of notes in their hands as they prepared for exams.
The extension will make travel to the university faster for many students who previously waited, in all kinds of weather, for a bus to the campus.
Along with the new stops and 8.6 kilometers of new track, 2,811 parking spaces are spread across several of the stations. Parking can be had at the Finch West station with 347 spaces, Pioneer Village station with 1,881 spaces and Highway 407 station with 583 spaces.
One of the youngest passengers on the morning train was 4-month old Aarthy Rajithan.
“It’s her first TTC ride ever,” said her mother Janani Sivarajah, who lives in Vaughan. “We thought we would make it special and she would know, 20 years down the line, that she was the youngest passenger on the train.”
Levi said he has been watching the construction of the stations since it began in 2010.
“I went to York University as a student,” he said. “So I have been waiting 25 years for this. I didn’t actually believe it was going to happen but as it started to get built I got more and more confident, I began thinking about how much better this will all finally be.”