509 Harbourfront

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509 Harbourfront
CLRV 4152 and PCC 4500.jpg
A CLRV and PCC 4500 streetcar at Exhibition Loop
Type Streetcar Route
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Union Station (East)
Exhibition Loop (West)
Stations TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Union
BSicon CLRV.svg Queens Quay
BSicon CLRV.svg Exhibition Loop
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) Leslie Barns, Russell [1]
Rolling stock CLRV, Flexity Outlook
Line length 4.65 km (2.89 mi) [1]
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm) - TTC Gauge
Electrification 600 VDC Overhead
Route number 509
Route map
GO Transit & VIA Rail
Yonge–University–Spadina line
Union Station BSicon CLRV.svg  510  BSicon SUBWAY.svg TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg GO Transit logo.svg
Queens Quay Station BSicon CLRV.svg  510  BSicon BUS1.svg  6  Toronto Island Ferry
Bay Street
Queen's Quay
York Street
Lower Simcoe Street
Rees Street
Lower Spadina Avenue BSicon CLRV.svg  510 
510 to Spadina Station
Dan Leckie Way
Queen's Quay
Bathurst Street
Bathurst & Queen's Quay Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport
Bathurst & Fleet BSicon CLRV.svg  511 
Bathurst Street
Fleet Street
Bastion Road(Lake Shore Boulevard)
Fleet Loop
Fort York Boulevard
Strachan Avenue
Fleet Street
Private Right-of-Way
Exhibition Loop
BSicon CLRV.svg  511   521  BSicon BUS1.svg  29  GO Transit logo.svg Lakeshore West logo.png

509 Harbourfront is a streetcar route in Toronto,[2] Ontario, Canada, operated by the Toronto Transit Commission.


The Harbourfront LRT, originally designated 604 Harbourfront, began service in 1990. It was the first new Toronto streetcar route in many years, and the first to employ a dedicated tunnel, approximately 600 metres long. This starts with an underground loop at Union Station, runs south along Bay Street to the underground Queens Quay station, then turns west and emerges onto Queens Quay. The line's original terminus was Queens Quay and Spadina Loop, at the foot of Spadina Avenue; beyond this point non-revenue trackage ran north on Spadina to King, as otherwise the new line would have been disconnected from the rest of the network.

Numbers in the 600-series were used at that time within the TTC for rapid transit routes (i.e., subways and the Scarborough RT) rather than low numbers as is the case today, and the Harbourfront LRT was given a number in this series to indicate that it was different from other streetcar routes; it was also shown like a subway line on the TTC map. Since the route is not grade-separated, this was later felt to be misleading and it was treated like other streetcar lines, taking the number 510.

In 1997, the completion of a dedicated right of way on Spadina Avenue resulted in the Harbourfront route being relaunched as the 510 Spadina. The "Harbourfront" route name disappeared until 2000, when the Queens Quay streetcar tracks were extended west to Bathurst and Fleet Streets. The Harbourfront was then reinstated with the new number 509, and extended to Exhibition Loop at Exhibition Place, sharing its route with the 510 from Union to Spadina and with the 511 Bathurst from Bathurst onwards. The Fleet Street portion of Route 509 has since been converted to a parallel private right-of-way, so that the entire route operates entirely separate from road traffic.

A proposed Waterfront West project would have extended the Harbourfront line farther west to join the existing right-of-way along the Queensway, however this project was shelved by the city in 2013.[3]

In June 2015, a streetcar runs along the new right of way on Queens Quay, between the bicycle path and the street

In July 2012 Waterfront Toronto began a major reconstruction of Queen's Quay West, requiring the 509 streetcar to be replaced with buses for the duration of the construction.[4] On October 12, 2014, streetcar service resumed on 509 Harbourfront route after an absence of over two years in order to rebuild the street to a new design as well as to replace tracks. With the new street design, two auto lanes south of the streetcar tracks were eliminated from Spadina Avenue to York Street in order to extend Harbourfront parkland to the edge of the streetcar right-of-way. Thus, streetcars now effectively run on a roadside right-of-way instead of a mid-street median. A bicycle path and rows of trees are located on the immediate south side of the right-of-way.[5]


Despite its political image as a 'modern, rapid transit' streetcar line, the 604 Harbourfront route was originally operated using rebuilt PCC streetcars, which were referred to as "Red Rockets" in a branding effort. These were soon replaced by Toronto's CLRV streetcars, which form the majority of the city's current fleet. Because of the amount of shared track, the Toronto Transit Commission has grouped the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes together for accounting and measurement purposes.

The 509 Harbourfront streetcar line is operated primarily using standard CLRV streetcars, although since March 29, 2015, the line had been shared with the new Flexity Outlook low-floor vehicles. Since then, all 509 streetcars have operated using a proof-of-payment (POP) all-door boarding system.[6]


Most stops along the 509 route are surface stops with islands separating the regular traffic from the streetcar tracks. Streetcars begin underground at Union Station and pass through a dedicated underground streetcar station at Queens Quay before climbing to the surface.[2]

Points of interest[edit]

Location Stops
Harbourfront Centre & Islands ferry docks Queens Quay Station
Queen's Quay Terminal Queens Quay Station, York Street
CN Tower Lower Simcoe Street
Rogers Centre & Toronto Waterfront WaveDecks Simcoe Street – Spadina Avenue
HTO Park Rees Street
Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport on the Islands, a block south of Bathurst Street & Queen's Quay
Old Fort York Bathurst & Fleet Streets, Fort York Boulevard
HMCS York Bastion
Fort York Armoury Fort York Boulevard
Exhibition Place & Canadian National Exhibition Strachan Avenue, Exhibition Loop
Ricoh Coliseum & Exhibition GO Station & BMO Field Exhibition Loop


  1. ^ a b http://www3.ttc.ca/PDF/Transit_Planning/Service_Summary_2009_10_18.pdf
  2. ^ a b "509 Harbourfront". Streetcar Routes. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 3 November 2015. 
  3. ^ "Residents share wishlist for Toronto budget". InsideToronto.com. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  4. ^ "Buses to replace TTC's 509 Harbourfront streetcar during Queens Quay revitalization". TTC. Retrieved 14 March 2014. 
  5. ^ Steve Munro (2014-10-12). "Streetcars Return to Queens Quay". Steve Munro. Retrieved 2014-10-12. 
  6. ^ "Proof-of-Payment (POP)". Fares & Passes. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved March 2015. 

External links[edit]

Media related to 509 Harbourfront at Wikimedia Commons