Wilson Yard

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Wilson Complex, viewed from a southbound train

Coordinates: 43°44′21″N 79°27′16″W / 43.73917°N 79.45444°W / 43.73917; -79.45444

Wilson Yard (also known as the Wilson Complex) is the largest of the Toronto Transit Commission's subway yards and bus garages.[1] The subway yard services subway trains on Line 1 Yonge–University.[2][3] The facility is located on Transit Rd. north of Wilson Ave, in the former city of North York (now Toronto), between Wilson and Sheppard West stations.[4][5][6]


The site is on a large parcel of land first developed as an airport, in 1936.[7] During World War II the airport was turned into a military facility, most often known as Canadian Forces Base Downsview. The site became available around the 1970s.

In 1974 the TTC considered interim expedients for storage of subway vehicles, until the Wilson Yard became available.[8]

The 60-acre (240,000 m2) yard was completed in 1976 and began operations in 1977.[1] The facility also houses a bus barn and maintenance facilities for subway cars.

By 2010, a tunnel was constructed to link the north end of the Wilson Yard to the mainline just south of Sheppard West Station (then named Downsview), though track was not laid and it was left dormant for a number of years.[9] When it finally opened in 2018, this new link provided an entry/exit at the north end of the yard to support traffic on the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension.[9]

Starting May 13, 2018, trains going out of service at the Wilson Yard do so southbound from Vaughan Metropolitan Centre station instead of northbound from Wilson station. This avoids northbound trains crossing the southbound track in order to go out of service after the evening rush hour, which was the practice prior to this date.[10]

Modifications to the Wilson Yard were made to accommodate the new Toronto Rocket trains, the Toronto–York Spadina Subway Extension and increased demand on Line 1 Yonge–University. Work included expansion of the carhouse, a new hostler platform to support new the north-end entry/exit track, a new north-end runaround track connecting 8 new storage tracks in the west yard, a new power substation[11] and a new training building with a simulator for TR trains.[9]

Opened in September 2018, the new hostler platform and north-end entry/exit track helps to reduce traffic delays by 44% in the early morning when work cars return from their night shift and service trains depart.[12]

Subway division facilities[edit]

  • Carhouse with nine interior tracks.[13]
  • Exterior storage tracks.
  • Power sub-station.[11]
  • Connections to the mainline at the north and south ends of the yard.[9]

Wilson Yard is home to approximately half the commission's fleet of trains and work cars.[14] The yard regularly houses most of the Toronto Rocket subway trains. It also houses some disused and outdated equipment.[15]

Bus division facilities[edit]

  • The 230,000-square-foot (21,000 m2) garage
  • 2 wash racks, 2 fuelling stations (with 4 fueling pump) for diesel, 1 fuelling station for CNG
  • a Eurovac system
  • 11 40-foot hoists, 3 60-foot hoists
  • 4 inspection pit stations


  1. ^ a b Godfrey Mallion, James Bow (25 June 2015). "The Wilson Bus Garage and Subway Yard". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 24 July 2016. Given this and expected future growth, the TTC knew that a lot of space would be required for the complex. The alignment of the Spadina subway opened up an intriguing possibility of using largely vacant land beside Downsview Airport. Sixty acres were chosen north of Wilson Avenue and west of Wilson Heights Boulevard.
  2. ^ Sunshine, Fannie. "OUR EXCLUSIVE LOOK: Keele and Finch most affected by subway extension". Inside Toronto. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  3. ^ Mike Filey (2012). "Toronto Sketches 11: "The Way We Were"". Dundurn Press. p. 161. ISBN 9781459707658. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  4. ^ Jai Centeno, Chris. "TTC subway crash sends 2 to hospital". Toronto Star. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  5. ^ Mike Filey (23 April 2014). Mike Filey's Toronto Sketches. Dundurn. pp. 369–370. ISBN 978-1-4597-2949-0.
  6. ^ "Wilson Yard Expansion Project". Bondfield. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  7. ^ Mike Filey (2002). A Toronto Album 2: More Glimpses of the City That Was. Dundurn Press. p. 57. ISBN 9781770701205. Retrieved 31 July 2016.
  8. ^ "A review of proposed additions to Toronto's subway system". Metropolitan Toronto Transportation Plan Review. 1974. p. 21. Retrieved 31 July 2016. Additional cars, without additional storage facilities at Kipling or Wilson, could be accommodated, to a limited degree, with "on-line" storage, until completion of the Wilson yard.
  9. ^ a b c d Bow, James (6 May 2017). "Wilson Yard Connection Tunnel". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 4 June 2017.
  10. ^ Munro, Steve (23 April 2018). "TTC Service Changes Effective Sunday, May 13, 2018". Steve Munro. Retrieved 24 April 2018. Trains leaving service in the evening to Wilson Yard will now do so southbound from Vaughan rather than northbound at Wilson. This avoids conflicts between the yard movements and southbound service.
  11. ^ a b "Procurement_Authorization - Wilson Yard Expansion Project Contract AW85-4" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
  12. ^ Spurr, Ben (November 7, 2018). "TTC using 'gap trains' to improve service on busiest subway line". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 8, 2018.
  13. ^ "Wilson Carhouse". Google Maps. Retrieved June 5, 2017.
  14. ^ http://www3.ttc.ca/PDF/Transit_Planning/Service_Summary_2010_03_28.pdf
  15. ^ Bateman, Chris. "Where to find abandoned TTC buses and subway trains". Blog TO. Retrieved 31 July 2016.