Sheppard West station
|Location||1035 Sheppard Avenue West |
|Architect||Adamson Associates Architects|
Stevens Group Architects
|Opened||March 30, 1996|
|Previous names||Downsview (1996–2017)|
|Rank||16 of 75|
Sheppard West (formerly Downsview) is a subway station on Line 1 Yonge–University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The station, which is located at the southeast corner of Sheppard Avenue West–Allen Road intersection, opened in 1996 in what was then the City of North York, and the large commuter parking lot, accessible via Allen Road and Sheppard Avenue, opened in July 2005. It was the northern terminus of the western branch of the line until the opening of the six stations of the line's extension north to the City of Vaughan's new downtown core on December 17, 2017.
Sheppard West station (then named Downsview) was opened in 1996 as a one-stop "Spadina line" (as the northern section of the University branch of Line 1 was then called) extension north from 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), 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. 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.
Downsview was the northwestern terminus of the Yonge–University line for nearly twenty-two years and a major hub for TTC and Viva bus service. On December 17, 2017, the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) north to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station opened. On May 7 of that year, the station's name was changed from Downsview to Sheppard West in preparation for the opening of the TYSSE and to avoid confusion with the new Downsview Park station. After the extension opened, the station became a through station, with a number of bus routes rerouted to terminate at stations further north.
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. However, the tunnel was put into service in 2018 after completion of an ongoing expansion project to expand the Wilson Yard.
From the station's opening in 1996 until 2017, the station had a fare collector booth where passengers could purchase legacy fare media such as tickets, tokens, and Metropasses. Concurrent with the extension opening on December 17, 2017, this station became one of the first eight stations to discontinue sales of legacy TTC fare media (tokens and tickets). Presto vending machines were available to sell Presto cards and to load funds onto them. On May 3, 2019, this station became one of the first ten stations to sell Presto tickets via Presto vending machines.
The name change cost $800,000, most of which was to cover the cost of the already-necessary reconfiguration of the Toronto Rocket subway train fleet's automated "next station" announcement system and destination signs for the addition of the extension's six new station names. $150,000 was to update signs and maps on TTC vehicles and properties.
When it was named Downsview, the station was the only one in the subway system where the station name was displayed using mixed-case lettering on the platform walls. However, the new Sheppard West name is rendered in all-caps lettering using the traditional Toronto Subway typeface on placards placed on top of the former name. Smaller type appears underneath the new station name, reading "formerly Downsview", to ease with the transition.
Originally, Downsview Park station was to be called Sheppard West and it carried this name while under construction. This TYSSE station was located close to the entrance to Downsview Park. On the other hand, the existing Downsview station was better identified as being on Sheppard Avenue and was further away from the entrance to the park. Thus, the TTC proposed partially swapping the names of the two stations to avoid confusion, with the new station being designated "Downsview Park" and the former Downsview station being renamed "Sheppard West".
The original station name of "Downsview" was chosen because the TTC felt at the time that a more neutral name was needed in case the station became an eventual interchange with the then-proposed Sheppard Line, which was originally intended to run west of Yonge to connect with the western University–Spadina branch of Line 1 at this station. "Downsview" was chosen as a result of a public naming contest.
Architecture and art
The station was designed by Adamson Associates Architects (above grade buildings and mezzanine) and The Stevens Group Architects (below grade). 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 its own Presto card-activated fare gates installed in 2017. The placement of this barrier is still evident today by the floor pattern, which was distinct on each side of it.
The station features two pieces of artwork:
- 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 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 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.
Several TTC routes serve the station, as does one York Region Transit route. Disembarking is done on-street outside the station as there are no free transfers between YRT and the TTC.
|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|
|5||105A||Dufferin North||Northbound to Steeles Avenue West|
|6||104||Faywood||Southbound to Wilson station|
|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||101||Downsview Park||Westbound to Downsview Park|
|13||107A||York University Heights||Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Keele Street|
|107B||Northbound to Steeles Avenue West via Alness Street|
|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.)
|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.
- "Subway ridership, 2018" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
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.
- "Milestones". ttc.ca. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
1996: Downsview Station, Bloor-Yonge Station, and Union Station become the first accessible subway stations.
- "There's now free WiFi at over 40 TTC subway stations". blogTO. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- "2013 TTC Operating Statistics". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved January 27, 2017.
- Bow, James. "A Subway To York University And Beyond: The province proposes a belt line". Transit Toronto.
- Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview)". Transit Toronto.
- Byford, Andy (March 26, 2015). "Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension – Schedule and Budget Change" (PDF). ttc.ca. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
- Bow, James. "Wilson Yard connection tunnel: Construction begins, and ends". Transit Toronto.
- "Wilson Yard Expansion Project". Bondfield Construction.
- "New Customer Service Agents at TTC stations". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on December 22, 2017. Retrieved February 18, 2018.
- "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.
- Kalinowski, Tess (September 28, 2012). "TTC names new subway station for Black Creek Pioneer Village". Toronto Star. Retrieved September 28, 2012.
- Toronto Transit Commission Report – September 30, 2010
- Hudes, Sammy (April 5, 2017). "Downsview station to become Sheppard West next month". Toronto Star. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- "TORONTO-YORK SPADINA SUBWAY EXTENSION – STATION NAMES" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. September 30, 2010. Retrieved April 14, 2017.
- Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview): What's in a name?". Transit Toronto.
- Bow, James. "Sheppard West (Formerly Downsview): Sheppard West (Downsview) station image archive (Photos 16 and 18)". Transit Toronto.
- "Explore North York – Cultural Loops Guide – Art, History and Nature Self-Guided Tours" (PDF). City of Toronto. July 2018. p. 74. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- "Detailed Toronto transport map: Sheppard West station trackage". cartometro.com.
- Paperny, Anna Mehler (August 23, 2012). "Rob Ford ready to let transit projects hold in favour of Sheppard subway". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved February 5, 2017.
- Moore, Oliver (July 13, 2016). "Toronto City Council approves planning for raft of transit projects". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved April 15, 2017.
Media related to Sheppard West (TTC) at Wikimedia Commons