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Project Newsletter - Spring 2009

April 1, 2009

Activity on Spadina

Artist rendering of the new Toronto Rocket subway train

Activity on the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) is well on its way to becoming a vital link for commuters, residents and visitors. The $2.6 billion project jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York will provide a high quality rapid transit service connected to the fastest growing region in the GTA.

This extension will provide a crucial expansion to the existing Toronto Transit  Commission’s (TTC’s) Yonge-University-Spadina subway and for the first time, cross the City of Toronto boundary into the City of Vaughan. The 8.6 km subway extension will have six stations along the route with accompanying commuter parking facilities and bus terminals.

Currently, the project is in the design phase. Station design contracts and the tunnelling design contract were awarded last year. Station design is currently underway by three lead design consultants – Arup Canada Inc., AECOM and The Spadina Group Associates. Public open houses will begin this year to unveil the preliminary design concepts of the six stations.

Over the next year, drill rigs will be used to gather soil samples at the future stations and tunnel locations along the project route. This drilling will gather soil samples to confirm ground conditions that will help engineers and designers determine design criteria, as well as soil and groundwater management measures that will be required along the alignment.

As this extension ties into the existing Yonge-University-Spadina subway, another track will be required for operations at TTC’s Wilson Yard, south of Downsview Station. Starting later this fall, this work will require temporarily detouring a small of part of Allen Road.

To meet the planned subway extension opening in 2015, four earth pressure balance tunnel boring machines will be used to dig the tunnels. Construction on the tunnels is expected to begin in 2010. Tunnel boring machines will launch and bore the twin tunnels for almost two years while construction of the stations and installation of the track and signals will continue through to 2015. During the last year of the project, project engineers and TTC operations staff will test, commission and safety certify the system before it is opened to the public.

Meet Andy Bertolo, P. Eng

Chief Project Manager

Andy Bertolo, Chief Project Manager

Love to play with train sets? For Andy Bertolo, he is building the ultimate train set.

Working with a project office staff of 84, growing to 120 in 2010, the Timmins, Ontario native is in  charge of building the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension.

Bertolo is a Professional Engineer who has worked for the TTC since 1997, following a 26-year career with Canadian National Railways.

Building subways is nothing new to Bertolo who was the Chief Project Manager for the Sheppard Subway line.

“Pretty well all issues that the project encounters ultimately relate to the goal of delivering the project as a quality product in a timely, safe and cost effective manner.”

Bertolo added that residents living near the start of the Spadina subway line, between Wilson and Downsview Station, will soon see visible signs of progress. The first major construction contract for the extension is to build a structure connecting the TTC’s Wilson yard and the main line south of Downsview Station.

Building a Subway

Head of a tunnel boring machine

The two main techniques that will be used to build the extension to the existing Yonge-University-Spadina subway north of Downsview Station are tunnel boring and “cut and cover” construction.

Much of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension will use tunnel boring technology, in which a powerful circular cutting machine drills a tunnel deep in soil with minimal disruption to the street or ground above. The excavated material is taken up to street level and removed by truck. Tunnelling will be done wherever possible - it is quicker and more cost effective than cut-and-cover construction.

Where the work is more complex, such as at the stations which have platform and concourse levels, the more traditional cut-and-cover construction method will be used.

Cut-and-cover construction involves excavating a trench from the surface, building a  concrete structure in it and then backfilling and restoring the ground and roadway. Since the stations are more complex than the tunnels, extensive excavation and construction is used to create the platforms, concourses and unique elements of the stations.

Minimizing disruption during construction to both area businesses and the general public is a major focus for the project. Traffic management plans recognize the importance of  maintaining mobility for pedestrians, transit vehicles and private vehicles in the area to the maximum extent feasible.

You Asked

Two silhouettes standing inside a finished subway tunnel

When will the subway go to York University?

Will the new subway trains be on the extension?

Will all the stations have commuter parking lots?

How often will the trains run on the extension?

How fast are the tunnels bored?

The Subway's Natural Environment

Green leafs on a tree branch

This project includes 8.6 kilometres of twin subway tunnel and six stations through the City of Toronto and into the City of Vaughan. Not only does the extension serve commercial,  industrial and residential areas, it winds through York University’s Keele campus and the north part of Black Creek.

The project team is committed to a Provincial Environmental Compliance Plan and Canadian Environmental Assessment Act (CEAA) Compliance Plan to complete various aquatic and terrestrial studies at various areas along the alignment.

Starting this spring, aquatic and terrestrial specialists will begin field surveys on fish, fish habitats, the vegetation communities and any incidental wildlife observations in those natural environments. Breeding bird surveys will begin late May and early July.

This allows for a “snap shot” of the existing conditions of those natural environments. This information will be used to develop any necessary mitigation strategies during construction. The same surveys will be repeated after construction to confirm that no adverse impact has been made on the health of those natural environments and ecosystems.

The project team will work closely with the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority  (TRCA) and the Ministry of Natural Resources along with some help from the Canadian Wildlife Services.

The subway extension will ultimately help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants by encouraging people to rely less on cars. While building the subway, every effort will be made to protect and/or restore those natural environments along the alignment.

Meet Your Neighbours ... Black Creek Pioneer Village at Steeles West Station

Black Creek Pioneer Village building

The subway extension will bring the benefits of rapid transit to many residents and organizations in the north-west part of Toronto and south-west York Region. In this first issue of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension Newsletter, we’d like you to meet one of your neighbours - Black Creek Pioneer Village.

Opened in 1960 by the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority as a living tribute to the Toronto area’s pioneering roots, Black Creek Pioneer Village boasts a telling history of its own. Its beautiful, green 30 acres is a place to experience the lifestyles, customs and surroundings of early residents who built the foundations for modern Toronto and Ontario.

Erin Fernandes, project manager at Toronto and Region Conservation Authority, is responsible for marketing for Black Creek Pioneer Village (the Village).

“The Village has about 140,000 visitors annually. We are very excited about the new subway station planned for York University. Visitors will find it much easier to get here and now they’ll have direct access to the Village by public transit,” said Fernandes.

Black Creek Pioneer Village is a working village, typical of those established between 1790-1860. Historical interpreters and trades people in authentic period dress are on-site to explain how people lived, worked and played in mid-19th century rural Ontario. An exciting new addition to the Village will be the Black Creek Historic Brewery, which will be open for tasting and tours in summer 2009.


The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project is jointly funded by the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York.

Logos of the funding partners: the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto and The Regional Municipality of York.

Bus Route Changes


Review the new changes to bus routes in the area to connect to the new subway extension.

Read about it here!

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Call 416-393-4636 (INFO) automated information available 24 hours daily.

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Photo Gallery

Check out the latest construction photos and project YouTube videos.

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