Line 1 Yonge–University

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Line 1 Yonge–University
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg
Bloor-Yonge southbound platform.png
Southbound platform at Bloor station
Type Rapid transit
System Toronto rapid transit
Locale Toronto, Ontario
Termini Finch
Stations 32[1]
(6 more under construction)[2]
Daily ridership 731,880 (avg. weekday)[1]
Opened March 30, 1954
Owner Toronto Transit Commission
Operator(s) Toronto Transit Commission
Depot(s) Wilson Subway Yard,
Davisville Subway Yard
Rolling stock Toronto Rocket
Line length 30.2 km (18.8 mi)[3]
8.6 km (5.3 mi) under construction[2]
Track gauge 4 ft 10 78 in (1,495 mm)
Electrification Third rail

Line 1 Yonge–University[4] is the oldest and busiest subway line in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is operated by the Toronto Transit Commission, has 32 stations[4] and is 30.2 km (18.8 mi) in length.[3] It opened as the Yonge subway in 1954. Various extensions were completed between 1963 and 1996. Averaging nearly 732,000 riders per weekday, the Yonge–University line is the second busiest rapid transit line in North America, after the IRT Lexington Avenue Line of the New York City Subway.[note 1]

The Yonge portion of the line runs under Yonge Street from its eastern terminus at Finch Avenue to Union Station, connecting with
Line 4 Sheppard at Sheppard–Yonge and Line 2 Bloor–Danforth at Bloor–Yonge. It continues along University Avenue to St. George and Spadina, which both connect to Line 2. It runs for two stations along Spadina Avenue before continuing along the Cedarvale and Nordheimer ravines to Allen Road. Its western terminus, Downsview, is located at the intersection between Sheppard Avenue and Allen Road.


The line's name has been changed as it was extended. Following its opening in 1954, it was called "the subway" (Yonge subway is its retronym). In 1963, it was extended along University Avenue to St. George station and renamed the "Yonge–University Line". Briefly in 1966, the Yonge–University subway ran in two branches: one west along Bloor to Keele (Yonge–University–Bloor), the other east along Bloor and Danforth to Woodbine (Yonge–University–Danforth).

In 1978, the "Spadina" section was opened and the line became the "Yonge–University–Spadina Line" (YUS). Although only two stations are on Spadina Road, a larger portion of the line was planned to follow the Spadina Expressway. The built portion part of the expressway was renamed William R. Allen Road, but the name of the subway line was not changed until the mid-2010s. The subway also had an additional internal route number; route 602.[5]

Unofficially, subway lines were already numbered, but in October 2013, the TTC announced plans to publicly display line numbers to help riders to navigate the system. The Yonge–University line would be numbered as Line 1.[6]

This process began in March 2014, when new numerical signs referring to subway routes as Line 1 for the Yonge–University line and Line 2 for the Bloor–Danforth line were phased in on signs and maps at Bloor–Yonge and St. George stations. The line numbers have been rolled out on rapid transit maps at all subway stations in the system. Similarly, as of summer 2015, the line's new Toronto Rocket subway trains, some of which, also adopted the new numerical system for the interchange station announcements, such as "Change for Line 2" and "Change for Line 4" respectively instead of "This station connects with the Bloor-Danforth subway" and "This station connects with the Sheppard subway".[7][8] Its official name is 1 Yonge–University Subway.[9] In 2015, the Spadina part was dropped from the name to become just Yonge–University again.


On March 30, 1954, after five years of work, the first subway in Canada opened to the public.[10][11] The scheme was first proposed by Toronto Transportation Commission in 1942 to relieve congestion which was delaying their bus and tram services.[12] The original Yonge Street subway line went from Union subway station near the namesake railway station north to Eglinton Station. Premier Leslie Frost and Mayor Allan A. Lamport, among other important people, rode the first train that morning, going north from the yards at Davisville Station, and then from Eglinton south along the entire line. The line was then opened to the public, and that day at 2:30 pm, the last streetcar to travel Yonge Street made its final trip.

Yonge-University Line
Vaughan Metropolitan Centre
Highway 407
Highway 407
CN mainline
Pioneer Village
Toronto city limits
York University
Finch Bus Terminal GO bus symbol.svg Viva
Finch West
Finch BSicon BUS1.svg
Downsview Park
North York Centre BSicon BUS1.svg
BSicon BUS1.svg Viva
(Sheppard West)
Sheppard–Yonge TTC - Line 4 - Sheppard line.svg BSicon BUS1.svg
Wilson Yard
Highway 401
BSicon BUS1.svg
York Mills BSicon BUS1.svg
Highway 401
BSicon BUS1.svg GO bus symbol.svg
BSicon BUS1.svg
Lawrence West
Lawrence BSicon BUS1.svg
BSicon BUS1.svg
BSicon BUS1.svg TTC - Line 5.svg
Eglinton West
TTC - Line 5.svg BSicon BUS1.svg
Davisville Yard
(Yonge line)
Davisville BSicon BUS1.svg
Beltline Trail
BSicon BUS1.svg BSicon CLRV.svg  512 
St. Clair West
St. Clair BSicon CLRV.svg  512  BSicon BUS1.svg
CPR mainline
Summerhill BSicon BUS1.svg
BSicon BUS1.svg
Old Summerhill Station
Bloor–Danforth line
Rosedale BSicon BUS1.svg
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg BSicon CLRV.svg  510  BSicon BUS1.svg
Bay   ↔ Bloor–Danforth line
TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg BSicon BUS1.svg
St. George
Bloor–Yonge TTC - Line 2 - Bloor-Danforth line.svg
510 streetcar
Former Lower Bay connection
BSicon BUS1.svg
Wellesley BSicon BUS1.svg
BSicon CLRV.svg  506 
Queen's Park
College BSicon CLRV.svg  506 
BSicon CLRV.svg  505 
St. Patrick
Dundas BSicon CLRV.svg  505 
BSicon CLRV.svg  501 
Queen BSicon CLRV.svg  501 
BSicon CLRV.svg  504 
St. Andrew
King BSicon CLRV.svg  504 
BSicon BUS1.svg
Mainline rail interchange VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg UP Express logo.svg GO Transit logo.svg
Union Station
Mainline rail interchange VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg GO Transit logo.svg
BSicon CLRV.svg  509   510 
Union Station Bus Terminal GO bus symbol.svg
Queen's Quay
Island ferry
510/509 streetcars

Nine years later, the University segment of the line opened, continuing the line from Union north to St. George Station.

Homes were demolished east of Yonge Street near Summerhill in order to construct a cut-and-cover tunnel

On March 31, 1973, the line was extended north to York Mills Station,[13] and the next year to Finch Station as part of the North Yonge Extension project, bringing the subway to North York. Stations were also planned for Glencairn (between Eglinton and Lawrence, though another Glencairn Station would be built later on the Spadina section), Glen Echo (between Lawrence and York Mills) and Empress (between Sheppard and Finch, later opened as North York Centre Station). In 1978, the Spadina segment of the line was opened, going from the north terminus of the University line to Wilson Station.

In 1987, the North York Centre station was added between Sheppard and Finch Stations.

On August 11, 1995 at 6:02 pm, the Russell Hill subway accident occurred as a southbound subway train heading toward Dupont Station crashed under Russell Hill Drive, killing three passengers.[14] This accident prompted the Toronto Transit Commission to review its practices and put resources into safety.

In 1996, the Spadina expansion was opened, adding one new station, Downsview.

Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension[edit]

Construction underway on York University Campus

Construction has begun on an extension to York University northwest of Downsview Station, and into the city of Vaughan to the proposed Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Jane Street and Highway 7. Six new stations are planned along the 8.6 km (5.3 mi) route, with 6.2 km (3.9 mi) in the City of Toronto and 2.4 km (1.5 mi) in York Region.[15] Service on the extension is estimated to begin in December 2017.[16]

Approximately 2,900 new parking spaces will be built at three stations along the extension, in order to encourage commuters to use the subway system. Pioneer Village Station will have the most at 1,900 spaces, while Highway 407 Station will have 600 spaces, and Finch West Station will have 400 parking spaces.[17]

The estimated cost of this extension is $2.09 billion in 2006 dollars, which will have escalated to $2.63 billion considering costs at the year of occurrence.[18] The Province of Ontario has deposited $870 million into the Move Ontario Trust. The federal government has committed $697 million, but only released $75 million at the start of its fall 2006 election campaign.[19] The City of Toronto and the Regional Municipality of York have committed to fund one-third of total project costs, with Toronto will contributing $526 million and York Region contributing $352 million.[15]

In 2003, a temporary busway was planned between Downsview Station and the campus, but was opposed by the university, which felt it would lessen government willingness to extend the subway. After numerous delays, construction on the York University Busway started on July 25, 2008,[20] with a short section of the busway opened on September 6, 2009[21] and the remainder opened on November 20, 2009.[22]

The first construction contract was awarded on February 27, 2008.[23] Construction commenced in July 2008 with the relocation of sewers.[24]

The TTC purchased two tunnel boring machines in late 2010 from LOVAT Inc. (since then a part of Caterpillar Inc.) for $58.4 million to dig tunnels on this extension, and two more boring machines were delivered in early 2011.[25][26] Tunnel boring for the extension began on June 17, 2011[27] and was completed on November 8, 2013[28]

After the extension was found to be over-budget in March 2015, the Toronto City Council approved an additional $150 million in funding, with $90 million from Toronto and $60 million from York Region.[29] The TTC subsequently signed a contract with Bechtel, worth up to $80 million, to assume management of the extension.[30] This bypassed the tendering process usually used to hire contractors.

The extension north of Steeles Avenue has been criticized in the press for several reasons.[31] The TTC had intended to extend the subway as far as York University, with a vast bus terminal complex at the future Pioneer Village Station. However, provincial funding hinged on the line crossing the municipal border. The area around the future Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station is occupied by big-box stores and highways, and lacks the dense development that surrounds most other subway stations. Although a station is planned for the 407 Transitway, most GO Transit buses will terminate at Black Creek Pioneer Village Station, so that commuters do not have to pay an additional TTC fare to reach York University.[citation needed] The TTC[when?] announced that it will incorporate a system in which GO Transit users do not have to pay an extra fare to use the subway to arrive at York University Station from the 407 Transitway.[citation needed] In addition, the 407 Transitway station is being built within vacant land.

Future expansion[edit]

Proposals have also been put forward to extend the Yonge Street portion of the line beyond Finch to Steeles and into York Region, most likely ending at the Richmond Hill Centre Terminal of Viva bus rapid transit. On June 15, 2007, the Ontario government announced plans to fund this extension as part of a network of rapid transit growth called MoveOntario 2020.[32]

Although completion of this subway expansion is many years away, a local group in York Region is lobbying for the cancellation of the planned busway along this route,[33] which would be a part of York Region's Viva bus rapid transit.

The Yonge portion of the subway line operates at capacity during the morning rush hour, and could not carry the additional riders attracted to this extension.[citation needed] Once a new signal system is in place, the TTC claims it will be able to increase the frequency of trains from 2 minutes 30 seconds to every 1 minute 45 seconds. As of 2011, there was no proposal to increase capacity of Bloor-Yonge station, already the busiest in the entire network serving over 400,000 passengers each day.

GO Transit's long-term plan also calls for all-day service on its Richmond Hill line that would see express trains running every 15 minutes between its Langstaff Station adjacent to the Richmond Hill Centre terminal, and Union station in downtown Toronto, calling into question the additional need for a subway extension.[34]

Toronto council approved the plan in principle in January 2009, but added caveats indicating that upgrades within Toronto would be needed to support the additional capacity from York Region. The plan, as approved, lists six new stations: Cummer/Drewry, Steeles, Clark, Royal Orchard, Longbridge/Langstaff, and Richmond Hill Centre.[35] TTC has no plans to expand this subway line in the "near future" but have Viva Bus Rapid Transit bus lanes along Yonge Street from Finch Avenue to Highway 7, which would go into full service by 2014.[36]


An open cut section looking south to Rosedale Station from atop the Rowanwood Portal

The line forms a rough U-shape. Its western leg starts at the northern terminus at Downsview Station, at Sheppard Avenue and Allen Road. The line follows the Allen Road, which becomes a short expressway with the subway line travelling in its median for 6 km (3.7 mi). Continuing southeast below the Cedarvale and Nordheimer Ravines, it turns south under a short stretch of Spadina Road.

After sharing Line 2 Bloor–Danforth's Spadina and St. George stations, it turns south again under Queen's Park, passing to one side of the Ontario Legislature, and running the full length of University Avenue beyond. It turns east onto Front Street to serve Union Station, Toronto's main railway terminus, and then north.

The eastern leg runs straight up Yonge Street for 16 km (9.9 mi), crossing Line 2 Bloor–Danforth again at Bloor–Yonge and Line 4 Sheppard at Sheppard–Yonge, before reaching its northern terminus at Finch Station. A roughed-in station exists below Queen Station for the proposed Queen streetcar subway.[37] This section often suffers from severe overcrowding during peak times, especially in the area immediately south of Bloor-Yonge station.[38]

A Toronto Rocket train at Rosedale Station

The line is mostly underground, but has several surface or elevated sections between Downsview and Eglinton West, and between Bloor and Eglinton; some portions of the section between Bloor and Eglinton were originally open and have since been covered over to permit other uses above the tracks. Sections between Bloor-Yonge and the track short of Summerhill, and between St. Clair and Eglinton remain in their original open state. Between Summerhill and St. Clair, the track was built in open cut, but has since been covered over. Evidence of this can be seen in the tunnel: there are no columns or walls between tracks, and ballast and drainage ditches are present, something not seen in the rest of the subway system. There are also tree stumps and the stubs of lamp posts in the tunnel. There are also clues outdoors: seemingly useless railings along the sides of a nearby street, which was once on an exposed bridge, and empty lots following the trains' right-of-way marked with signs warning heavy vehicles and equipment to keep off because they might fall through to the columnless tunnel below.

Most of the tunnel was constructed by a cut-and-cover method, but some was bored, as noted below. All stations, whether by transfer or fare-paid terminal, connect to surface TTC bus and/or streetcar routes. Other surface and train connections are noted below.

As of late 2014, 18 stations had elevators for wheelchair and stroller access.

The preferred alignment and placement for four stations for the extension beyond Downsview Station to serve York University were finalized in September 2005.[39] Six stations are planned: the tentative name for the new terminus in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre is "Vaughan Centre" based on the precedent set by North York Centre and Scarborough Centre, with intermediate stations called "Highway 407", "Pioneer Village", "York University", "Finch West", and "Downsview Park", with plans to rename Downsview Station "Sheppard West". This extension will replace the portion of York Region Transit's Viva Orange bus rapid transit line that covers the Downsview–York University route.


Eglinton station's Vitrolite-tiled walls are the last such station wall treatment left in the system

The original design of the oldest stations in the subway system, which are on the Yonge line (from Union to Eglinton), are mainly utilitarian and characterized by vitreous marble wall tiles and the use of the Toronto Subway font for station names. Eglinton Station is the only station to retain this wall treatment, though Queen Station retains a narrow band of original blue Vitrolite tiles near the ceiling at platform.

The design of the stations on the University line was mainly utilitarian and this style (sometimes referred to as “bathroom modern”) was later used for the Bloor–Danforth line as well. Queen's Park and St. Patrick stations have circular and semi-circular cross-sections, because they are constructed in bored tunnels. Museum station was renovated to have columns resemble artifacts found in the nearby Royal Ontario Museum.

Lawrence, York Mills, Sheppard, and Finch Stations are similar to each other in design, but have different colour schemes: Lawrence is red and cream, York Mills is light and dark green, Sheppard is yellow and dark blue, and Finch is light grey, medium grey, and dark grey.

The Spadina line has art and architecture that is unique for each station. The art installed in Glencairn and Yorkdale stations has been removed, as the former's art had faded and the latter was too costly to operate.

North York Centre station is an infill station. Its design is different from the other stations in the earlier North Yonge extension.

Downsview, which was opened in 1996, is the newest station on this line. It has art and architecture that is different from the earlier Spadina line stations.

The Spadina line extension north to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre will feature art and architecture from notable artists and architects.


Operation hours and frequency[edit]

As with other TTC subway lines, Line 1 operates most of the day, and is generally closed between 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. EST on weekdays and Saturdays, and 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. on Sunday. Trains arrive at stations 2–3 minutes during peak periods and 4–5 minutes during off-peak periods.[40] There is limited service (every 5 minutes) north of St. Clair West Station from 6:00 am to 9:00 am Monday to Friday.

Overnight service on the Yonge segment of the line is provided by 320 Yonge Blue Night from Queens Quay to Steeles with the frequency of 3 to 15 minutes. The University segment does not have an overnight service.

Rolling stock[edit]

The line is operated exclusively with the TTC's newer Toronto Rocket (TR) subway trains, which are based on Bombardier's Movia family of trains. Unlike other trains in the TTC train fleet the TR trains have a "six-car fixed" articulated configuration with full-open gangways, allowing passengers to walk freely from one end to the other. The TR trains were scheduled for delivery starting between late 2009 and early 2010, but was delayed until late 2010 due to production problems. They entered revenue service on this line on July 21, 2011, replacing the older H5 and the T1 series trains, which had been used on this line.

From the line's opening in 1954 until 1990, it was operated with G-series cars, and was also served with a mix of M1 and H1/H2/H4 subway cars between 1965 and 1999.

Automatic train control[edit]

The TTC estimates that automatic train control on Line 1 could be installed by 2020.[41] When this system is installed, the TTC will be able to run trains as often as every 105 seconds. The limit of the manual signal system is every 150 seconds, the interval at which trains operate at rush hours.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The New York City Subway uses the term "line" differently from the rest of the world's metro systems, as its nomenclature is different. As the IRT Lexington hosts several subway "services"—the 4 5 6 <6> trains—the Yonge–University Line can be considered to be the busiest service in North America.


  1. ^ a b "Toronto Transit Commission Subway ridership, 2012-2013" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 24, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "2011 Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Overview". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "2011 TTC Operating Statistics". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  4. ^ a b "Subway". Schedules & Maps. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved January 2015. Line 1 Yonge-University has 32 stations 
  5. ^ Toronto Transit Commission, Scheduled Service Summary, Board Period Commencing Sunday, July 21, 1991
  6. ^
  7. ^ [1]
  8. ^ "New TTC Signage at Eglinton Station". 
  9. ^ "TTC Subway/RT". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Significant dates in Canadian railway history". Colin Churcher's Railway Pages. March 17, 2006. Retrieved March 29, 2006. 
  11. ^ City of Toronto (2006). "Toronto Transit Commission – History". Retrieved March 29, 2006. 
  12. ^ Cooke, B.W.C., ed. (June 1954). "Yonge Street Subway, Toronto". The Railway Magazine. Vol. 100 no. 638 (Westminster: Tothill Press). pp. 420–425. 
  13. ^ "Yonge Subway Extension to York Mills". The Globe and Mail 130 (38,470) (Toronto). March 27, 1973. p. 13. 
  14. ^ (Published by Toronto Star on August 6, 2005 11:36 am) (August 6, 2005). "Transit Toronto – News Archive: 10 years after". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  15. ^ a b "TTC Spadina subway extension website". Retrieved February 13, 2014. 
  16. ^ "Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension – Schedule and Budget Change" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. 2015-03-26. Retrieved 2015-03-23. 
  17. ^ "TTC Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  18. ^ TTC (March 26, 2008). "Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Project Delivery Strategy Process". Retrieved March 6, 2015. 
  19. ^ "BUS RAPID TRANSIT SERVICE BREAKS GROUND IN MISSISSAUGA" (PDF). Metrolinx. Metrolinx. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  20. ^ Mackenzie, Robert (July 25, 2008). "Ground-breaking for York University busway project today". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  21. ^ Mackenzie, Robert (September 5, 2009). "TTC revises routes and services, September 6: 196 York University Rocket". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  22. ^ Mackenzie, Robert (November 14, 2009). "York University busway opens, November 20". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  23. ^ "Spadina Subway Extension February 2008 Update". TTC. Retrieved March 31, 2008. 
  24. ^ "Work begins on subway extension into York". CTV. July 9, 2008. Retrieved July 11, 2008. 
  25. ^ Mackenzie, Robert (August 8, 2009). "Extending the Spadina subway: Boring news". Transit Toronto. Retrieved August 8, 2009. 
  26. ^ "Major transit delay – Rapid transit project pushed back to 2020". May 20, 2010. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  27. ^ "Tunnel boring for Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension begins" TTC. June 17, 2011
  28. ^ "TTC Project News December 2013"
  29. ^ Powell, Betsy (March 31, 2015). "Council OKs $150-million deal to fix Spadina subway extension plan". Toronto Star. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  30. ^ Hui, Ann (April 13, 2015). "TTC hires firm to manage troubled Spadina subway extension". The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 May 2015. 
  31. ^ Benzie, Robert; Tess Kalinowski (July 25, 2008). "New subway in sight at last". Toronto Star. Retrieved July 25, 2008. 
  32. ^ Government of Ontario (2007). MoveOntario 2020 Projects Retrieved on October 14, 2007.
  33. ^ "– Editorials – Don't count on Yonge subway just yet". April 24, 2007. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  34. ^ "Richmond Hill Regional Centre Public Open House May 2009" (PDF). Richmond Hill Town Council. Town of Richmond Hill, Ontario. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  35. ^ Haynes, Allison (January 6, 2009). "City's Demands Push Price Of Subway To $5B". National Post (Toronto, Canada). Archived from the original on February 18, 2009. 
  36. ^ "York Region vivaNext Rapidways" (PDF). Metrolinx. Metrolinx. Retrieved 23 April 2014. 
  37. ^ (Last Modified on November 28, 2010 10:46 am) (November 28, 2010). "Toronto's Lost Subway Stations". Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  38. ^ Originally published April 2008. "Monster-Jam". Toronto Life. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  39. ^ "Spadina North extension preferred alignment". February 12, 2012. Retrieved February 17, 2012. 
  40. ^ TTC Union Station
  41. ^ TTC moves toward automated subway trains,, published March 10, 2013

External links[edit]