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Sheppard West station

Coordinates: 43°44′58″N 79°27′43″W / 43.74944°N 79.46194°W / 43.74944; -79.46194
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Sheppard West
General information
Location1035 Sheppard Avenue West
Toronto, Ontario,
Coordinates43°44′58″N 79°27′43″W / 43.74944°N 79.46194°W / 43.74944; -79.46194
PlatformsCentre platform
  •  84  Sheppard West
  •  104  Faywood
  •  105  Dufferin North
  •  106  Sentinel
  •  107  York University Heights
  •  108  Driftwood
  •  329   Dufferin
  •  384   Sheppard West
  •  984  Sheppard West Express
YRT  105  Dufferin
Structure typeUnderground
Parking632 spaces
ArchitectAdamson Associates Architects
Stevens Group Architects
Other information
WebsiteOfficial station page
OpenedMarch 30, 1996; 28 years ago (1996-03-30)
Previous namesDownsview (1996–2017)
Rank36 of 70
Preceding station Toronto Transit Commission Following station
Downsview Park
towards Vaughan
Line 1 Yonge–University Wilson
towards Finch

Sheppard West (formerly Downsview) is a subway station on Line 1 Yonge–University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The station, which is located near the intersection of Sheppard Avenue West and Allen Road, opened in 1996 in what was then the City of North York, and the commuter parking lot opened in July 2005. It was the northwestern terminus of the line for over two decades, until the opening of the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension on December 17, 2017.

When this station opened, it was among the first accessible stations of the Toronto subway system, and the first to be purpose-built as such.[2] The station also features Wi-Fi service.[3]



Sheppard West station (then named Downsview) was opened in 1996 as a one-stop extension north of Wilson station. The reason for such a short extension was that the provincial government was offering funds for subway expansion as part of the Network 2011 plan, but was debating whether the extension should form a link between the Spadina line and a future phase of the proposed Sheppard Line (which was only approved with a western terminus at the-then Sheppard station on the Yonge line),[4] or continue further north, either to York University or as part of a loop to join the Spadina and Yonge line branches along the hydro corridor north of Finch Avenue.[5] As an eventual Spadina line extension was later contemplated in any case, the short extension was built with the station constructed on a north–south alignment which favoured a further northward extension.[6]

Construction of an access track to Wilson Yard branching off the mainline south of station began in 2009 but was mothballed after a tunnel was completed in 2010. Track was not laid and the tunnel was sealed off with hoarding.[7] However, the tunnel was put into service in 2018 after completion of an ongoing expansion project to expand the Wilson Yard.[8]

Concurrent with the opening of an extension on December 17, 2017, this station became one of the first eight stations to discontinue sales of legacy TTC fare media (tokens and tickets), previously available at a fare collector booth. Presto vending machines were available to sell Presto cards and to load funds onto them.[9] On May 3, 2019, this station became one of the first ten stations to sell Presto tickets via Presto vending machines.[10]


The former station name in mixed-case lettering on the platform wall
The current station name in uppercase lettering with "formerly Downsview" below

Originally, the TTC named the station Downsview due to its intended role as a transfer point for Line 4 Sheppard, which was planned to extend west of Yonge Street and intersect with the western segment of Line 1. Downsview was the winning entry in a public naming competition. Another name considered was Wilson Heights.[11]

On May 7, 2017, the station was renamed Sheppard West in preparation for the opening of the new Downsview Park station later that year. The TTC believed that the name Downsview did not accurately reflect the station's location and would lead commuters to believe that Downsview Park was easily accessible from the station, when in fact the upcoming northern station would be a better option for accessing the park.[12] The name change cost $800,000, with most of the funds going towards the reconfiguration of the Toronto Rocket subway trains' automated announcement system and destination signs, which was already required for the subway extension. Of this amount, $150,000 was used for updating signs and maps on TTC vehicles and properties.[13]

Prior to the name change, Downsview was the only station in the system to have its name displayed in mixed-case lettering on the platform walls. The new name is rendered in uppercase lettering, using the traditional Toronto Subway typeface, on placards that obscure the old name. Smaller text at the bottom acknowledges the station's previous name.

Architecture and art

Wall mosaic Sliding Pi by Arlene Stamp
Boney Bus by John McKinnon

The station was designed by Adamson Associates Architects (above grade buildings and mezzanine) and The Stevens Group Architects (below grade).[14] The subway platform lacks pillars and the ceiling is high and curved, evoking an aircraft hangar. High ceilings, skylights and an exceptionally large mezzanine make the station feel open and airy. Natural light reaches all areas of the station including the subway platform. The offset, glassed-in access walkway above the platform overlooks it and gives passengers views of passing trains below. Originally, the walkway was divided by a sinuous barrier as it ran through both the fare-paid and unpaid areas, with the unpaid half leading from an entrance at the north end of the station to the main fare concourse. The barrier was removed after this entrance had Presto card paddle fare gates installed in 2017. As a result, the north side entrance to the station is now a fully automated entrance and is only accessible to those using Presto.[15]

The station features two pieces of artwork:[16]

  • Sliding Pi is a large scale wall mosaic by Calgary artist Arlene Stamp. It can be viewed when travelling between the bus platform and the mezzanine level. The work shows colourful overlapping rectangles with the amount of overlap mathematically determined by the digits in the number pi. The overlapping pattern is non-repeating and gives the impression to viewers that the rectangles are sliding to one side.
  • Boney Bus, created by John McKinnon in 2000, is located in front of the station and consists of an abstract bus shape made from aluminum beams with basalt "wheels".

Nearby landmarks


Nearby landmarks include Downsview Park, which was the site of the World Youth Day Papal Visit in 2002 and the SARSstock concert in 2003. It is the site of an airstrip once used by a military base (CFB Toronto), and by an aircraft manufacturer (DeHavilland), separating the station area from the original village of Downsview. William Lyon Mackenzie Collegiate Institute lies to the northeast in the Bathurst Manor neighbourhood.

Subway infrastructure in the vicinity

The connecting tunnel to Wilson Yard (diverging off to right)

The subway platform is located underground east of Allen Road. There is a complex crossover just south of the station, which incorporates a switch to a single track which branches off to the west in a tunnel to access Wilson Yard. The line continues underground for 750 metres (2,460 ft) and crosses to the west side of the road; after exiting at the Clanton Park Portal, the line runs on the surface past Wilson Yard and passes the original north access track to it. South of this point, the line partially uses what were originally the non-revenue yard access tracks north of Wilson, the previous terminal station. North of the station, the line turns sharply northwest to cross under Allen Road again, then leaves Allen Road's alignment and heads via a compound curve toward Downsview Park station. Immediately north of the station, there is a trackless third tunnel between the service tunnels, built when the station was a terminus to accommodate a potential third tail track, but which may now be used to house a potential pocket track.[17]

Surface connections

Bus platforms at Sheppard West station
Interior of the bus platforms at Sheppard West station

Several TTC routes serve the station, as does one York Region Transit (YRT) route. For YRT bus riders, disembarking is done on-street outside the station as additional fares are required when transferring between YRT and the TTC.

Sheppard West station surface transit connections
Bay number Route Name Additional information
1 984A Sheppard West Express Westbound to Weston Road
(Rush hour service)
2 84A Sheppard West Westbound to Weston Road
84C Westbound to Steeles Avenue West via Arrow Road
(Rush hour service)
84D Westbound to Pioneer Village station via Oakdale Road
(Rush hour service)
3 108A Driftwood Westbound to Pioneer Village station via Grandravine Drive
108B Westbound to Pioneer Village station via Arleta Avenue
4 Wheel-Trans
5 105A Dufferin North Northbound to Steeles Avenue West
6 104 Faywood Southbound to Wilson station
7 Spare
8 105 Dufferin Northbound to Major Mackenzie Drive / Rutherford Road
9 84A/C/D Sheppard West Eastbound to Sheppard–Yonge station
10 984A/B Sheppard West Express Eastbound to Sheppard–Yonge station
11 106 Sentinel Westbound to Pioneer Village station
12 Spare
13 107A York University Heights Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Keele Street
107B Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Alness Street
107C Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Keele Street and Supertest Road
(Rush hour service)
107D Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Alness Street and Supertest Road
(Rush hour service)
N/A 329 Dufferin Blue Night service; northbound to Steeles Avenue West and southbound to Exhibition Loop
(Overnight service stops on Allen Road and does not enter the station.)
N/A 384 Sheppard West Blue Night service; westbound to Weston Road and eastbound to Sheppard–Yonge station
(Overnight service stops on Sheppard Avenue West and does not enter the station.)

Proposed Line 4 extension


The original plans for Line 4 Sheppard called for it to terminate at this station (then Downsview) and connect there with Line 1, but during construction in the late 1990s, the extension of Line 4 was halted after the first phase due to funding issues. Plans to extend Line 4 are currently inactive, but some local politicians (such as former Toronto mayor Rob Ford) have tried to revive the Line 4 expansion.[18][19]


  1. ^ "Subway ridership, 2022" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved May 4, 2024. This table shows the typical number of customer-trips made on each subway on an average weekday and the typical number of customers travelling to and from each station platform on an average weekday.
  2. ^ "Milestones". ttc.ca. Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on May 6, 2021. Retrieved February 5, 2017. 1996: Downsview Station, Bloor-Yonge Station, and Union Station become the first accessible subway stations.
  3. ^ "There's now free WiFi at over 40 TTC subway stations". blogTO. Archived from the original on September 12, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  4. ^ "2013 TTC Operating Statistics". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on July 25, 2021. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Bow, James. "A Subway To York University And Beyond: The province proposes a belt line". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on May 3, 2018. Retrieved May 2, 2018.
  6. ^ Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview)". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  7. ^ Bow, James. "Wilson Yard connection tunnel: Construction begins, and ends". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on April 6, 2018. Retrieved April 6, 2018.
  8. ^ "Wilson Yard Expansion Project". Bondfield Construction. Archived from the original on July 13, 2018. Retrieved April 20, 2018.
  9. ^ "New Customer Service Agents at TTC stations". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
  10. ^ "TTC extends sales of Presto Tickets to 10 stations". Toronto Transit Commission. May 6, 2019. Archived from the original on May 7, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  11. ^ Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview): What's in a name?". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  12. ^ "TORONTO-YORK SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION – STATION NAMES" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. September 30, 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 28, 2017. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Hudes, Sammy (April 5, 2017). "Downsview station to become Sheppard West next month". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on November 12, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
  14. ^ "Board Meetings". Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved December 5, 2008.
  15. ^ Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview): Sheppard West (Downsview) station image archive (Photos 16 and 18)". Transit Toronto. Archived from the original on April 28, 2018. Retrieved April 21, 2018.
  16. ^ "Explore North York – Cultural Loops Guide – Art, History and Nature Self-Guided Tours" (PDF). City of Toronto. July 2018. p. 74. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 27, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Detailed Toronto transport map: Sheppard West station trackage". cartometro.com. Archived from the original on August 14, 2020. Retrieved April 18, 2020.
  18. ^ Paperny, Anna Mehler (August 23, 2012). "Rob Ford ready to let transit projects hold in favour of Sheppard subway". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on February 10, 2011. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
  19. ^ Moore, Oliver (July 13, 2016). "Toronto City Council approves planning for raft of transit projects". The Globe and Mail. Archived from the original on April 4, 2017. Retrieved April 15, 2017.

Media related to Sheppard West (TTC) at Wikimedia Commons