Sheppard East LRT

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Sheppard East LRT
TTC - Line 6.svg
Type Rapid transit
System Toronto rapid transit
Status Planned
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Don Mills
Stations 29
Opening 2021
Owner Metrolinx
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Rolling stock Flexity Freedom
Line length 13 km (8.1 mi)[1]
Track gauge 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in) standard gauge
Electrification 750V DC overhead

The Sheppard East LRT is a planned light rail line in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, originally proposed as part of the Transit City proposal announced March 16, 2007. Put on hiatus in December 2010 by Premier Dalton McGuinty at the request of Mayor Rob Ford following the election of Ford, the line was re-instated at a special meeting of Toronto city council in March 2012.

The line is to be operated by the Toronto Transit Commission. Metrolinx had budgeted $944.5 million from 2009 through 2014 for the design and construction of the line.[2] Funding was approved by the provincial and federal governments in May 2009.[3] Detailed engineering had also been initiated for the grade separation of Sheppard Avenue East and the GO Transit tracks east of Kennedy Road. Construction for the line began on 21 December 2009 at Agincourt GO Station.[4] The line was expected to open on September 11, 2013, the first of the seven Transit City lines to be completed. The line was cancelled and construction halted by Mayor Rob Ford in April 2011, however City Council reinstated the line in March 2012. In June 2012, the province of Ontario announced that construction of the Sheppard East LRT would not resume until 2017 or finish until 2021.[5]

Route layout[edit]

The Sheppard East LRT line is to run for 13.6 km, and was originally estimated to account for 17 million trips in 2021. The western terminus of the line is to be built at Don Mills Station at Don Mills Road in North York. The line will run along Sheppard Avenue East. The line will then continue east until it terminates at Meadowvale Road in Scarborough. A future extension east into Durham Region was under consideration as part of the original proposal.

For passengers travelling between North York and Scarborough city centres, a transfer between the Sheppard subway and the Sheppard East LRT at Don Mills station will be required. An interchange will also be built to connect the Sheppard East LRT line and the proposed extension of the Scarborough RT[6] to meet the LRT line at Sheppard Avenue and Markham Road.

Potential extensions[edit]

These proposed segments were not part of Transit City.

Don Mills Station to Finch Station[edit]

This proposal was extend the Sheppard East LRT north to Finch Avenue East from its western terminus at Don Mills Station, overlapping the Don Mills LRT to Finch Avenue East, then west on Finch Avenue East to Finch Station, where it would continue along Finch Avenue West as the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT line. This connection has been proposed to provide one seamless crosstown line across northern Toronto.

Meadowvale Road to Durham Region[edit]

This proposal would have extended the Sheppard East LRT east into Durham Region from the planned eastern terminus at Meadowvale Road. This extension would have taken the Sheppard East LRT from Meadowvale Road east to cross the Toronto/Durham Region border and continue to an undisclosed location within Durham Region.

Transfer with the Sheppard Subway[edit]

The TTC investigated several options for the transfer at or near Don Mills Road with the existing Sheppard Subway. The main obstacle is Highway 404 which the LRT may have tunnelled under, and the fact that the subway is located 18m below grade.

The five original options[edit]

  1. Surface LRT Connection: Hwy 404 bridge expanded to maintain existing traffic lanes and incorporate two lanes for LRT in the centre. Traffic lanes reduced near Don Mills Road to allow LRT stop on surface, in the centre of Sheppard - a wide centre platform would include stairs and elevators connecting to the mezzanine level of the subway station.
  2. Underground LRT Connection 1: Tunnel under Highway 404 beginning west of Consumers Road and connecting to the mezzanine/concourse level of the subway (one level below the surface, one level above the subway.)
  3. Underground LRT Connection 2: Tunnel under Highway 404 beginning west of Consumers Road and ‘butting up’ against the east end of the subway platform (two levels below the surface.)
  4. Subway Extension 1: Extend the subway to Consumers Road area and build an LRT connection there.
  5. Subway Extension 2: Shallow subway extension to Consumers Road with LRT station in the middle of Sheppard Avenue and a direct passage to the subway below.

The two recommended options[edit]

Option 3 – LRT Underground to Subway Platform Level at Don Mills

Subway platform extended to east, LRT tracks on either side, level transfer


1. For customers east of Victoria Park and destined to subway, just as good as Option 5 (below)

2. Lower cost

3. Tunnel construction would be designed to allow for future subway extension


1. Separation between subway and LRT still under policy discussion; separation between vehicles could be 100–125 metres

Option 5 – Shallow Subway Extension to Consumers Road with Surface LRT Connection

LRT station in the middle of Sheppard Avenue (east of Consumers Road), direct passageways to subway below


1. Avoids need for travellers from business park to travel one stop, then transfer to subway as per Option 3 (above)

2. Given the above, much more effective “catalyst” for more dense, transit-oriented development in this development node


1. Much higher cost

2. More detailed design necessary to determine if “shallow” subway achievable – more work required on depth needed to avoid settlement near Highway 404 bridge and to avoid large, six metre deep sanitary sewer near Consumers Road


The TTC decided on option 3.

Planned stops[edit]

The Sheppard East LRT was to be constructed in two phases.

Phase One[edit]

Phase One will run along Sheppard Avenue East from Don Mills Road to Morningside Avenue.

Stop Type Notes
Don Mills Underground Connection to the TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg Sheppard line and proposed Don Mills LRT
Consumers Road At Grade
Victoria Park Avenue
Pharmacy Avenue
Palmdale Drive
Warden Avenue
Bay Mills Boulevard
Birchmount Road
Allanford Road
Kennedy Road
Agincourt GO Station Connection to the GO Transit logo.svg Stouffville GO train line
Midland Avenue
Brimley Road
Brownspring Road
McCowan Road Connection to proposed TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg Bloor-Danforth Subway extension
White Haven
Shorting Road
Massie Street
Markham Road
Progress Avenue Connection to possible TTC - Line 3 - Scarborough RT line.svg Scarborough RT extension
Washburn Way
Burrows Hall
Neilson Road
Murison Boulevard
Brenyon Way
Morningside Avenue Connection to proposed Scarborough Malvern LRT

Phase Two[edit]

Phase Two will run along Sheppard Avenue East from Morningside Avenue to Meadowvale Road.

  • Dean Park Road
  • Idagrove Gate
  • Meadowvale Road

Proposed Transit City LRT lines[edit]

Delay and restoration of the project[edit]

In April 2011, Mayor Rob Ford and the province of Ontario announced a transit plan that included the subway extensions and cancelled the Sheppard East LRT. Despite the inclusion of the extensions, no public funding was allocated for construction and work on the LRT was to be abandoned at significant cost.[7] Instead of building the previously-funded LRT, Mayor Rob Ford proposed soliciting private financing for a subway extension; however, no specific plans for raising the funding were announced,[8] and Gordon Chong, head of the TTC agency tasked with analyzing the new subway plans, suggested that the project would not be feasible without a detailed funding plan including new taxes and levies. Lack of confidence in Mayor Ford's subway proposal eventually led council, under the guidance of TTC chair Karen Stintz, to appoint an expert panel to review the options for rapid transit on Sheppard East and to present a preferred alternative.[9] On March 21, 2012, city council received the report, authored by Professor Eric Miller, which strongly recommended proceeding with the original LRT plan. On March 22, after over a day and a half of debate, city council formally endorsed a return to the LRT plan for Sheppard east.[10] In June 2012, the province of Ontario announced that construction of the Sheppard east LRT would not resume until 2017 or finish until 2021.[11]

Economic benefits[edit]

There has been an ongoing discussion as to economic benefits of Toronto's different rapid transit choices, including the benefits of building an LRT along Sheppard.[12] Tess Kalinowski, writing in the Toronto Star, reported on the views of Andre Sorensen, who compared the likely economic stimilus of building an LRT along Sheppard, with the likely economic benefits of building mayor John Tory's Smart Track surface subway, or building the 7 kilometres (4.3 mi) extension of the TTC's heavy rail system from Kennedy Station to Sheppard. Sorenson, a University of Toronto professor of Human Geography, had recently published a paper on this topic. Sorenson's team concluded that not only would the $1 billion CAD provide more economic stimulus per dollar than the other two more expensive routes, but that it would provide more economic benefits in absolute terms. Sorenson also asserted that, in addition to being cheaper, and providing more economic benefits, the Sheppard LRT could be completed years earlier than the other two routes, and that, unlike the other two routes, its entire capital cost would be funded by the Province of Ontario, not by the City of Toronto.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Metrolinx Etobicoke-Finch West LRT Environmental Project Report Executive Summary". 
  2. ^ Lambert, Kim; John Howe (2008-11-28). "2009/10 and Five-Year Capital Plan" (PDF). Metrolinx. Retrieved 2008-11-29. 
  3. ^ Ferguson, Rob; Kalinowski, Tess (2009-05-15). "Toronto gets nearly $1B for new LRT line". The Star. Retrieved 2010-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Transit City Light Rail Plan: Status Update for February 2009" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 2009-02-02. Retrieved 2009-02-15. 
  5. ^ "Delay to Sheppard East LRT raises hopes of possible subway line". Scarborough Mirror. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  6. ^ "Proposed Extension of the Scarborough Rapid Transit (SRT)". Retrieved 2008-03-30. 
  7. ^ "Toronto must pay at least $49M to cancel LRT plan". CBC News. 2011-04-01. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  8. ^ Alcoba, Natalie. "Q&A: Digging into transit plan". National Post. Retrieved 2 April 2011. 
  9. ^ Granatstein, Rob. "Rob Ford's Sheppard hole: Granatstein". Toronto Sun. Retrieved 4 April 2011. 
  10. ^ "Mayor Rob Ford loses Toronto subway vote". CBC News. 2012-03-22. 
  11. ^ "Delay to Sheppard East LRT raises hopes of possible subway line". Scarborough Mirror. 2012-08-24. Retrieved 25 October 2012. 
  12. ^ Tess Kalinowksi (2015-03-11). "Scarborough LRT would attract more development than subway: Study". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2015-03-12. The study looked at the prospects for redevelopment along LRT routes on Eglinton-Morningside and Malvern, as well as Sheppard. Combined, they had 18.4 hectares per kilometre that could be available for redevelopment. That was more than the 12 hectares per kilometre on SmartTrack and 11.1 hectares per kilometre on the McCowan subway route, which is supposed to replace the aging Scarborough RT. 

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