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Project Newsletter - Summer 2013

September 5, 2013

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Image of Station Alignment with Station Naming

The next stage of tunnel construction is underway!

On a chilly day in March, officials gathered at the future Highway 407 Station site to launch the next stage of tunnel construction for the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE).

Dressed in their protective safety gear, the Honourable Lisa Raitt, former Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Halton; the Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario; the Honourable Glen Murray, ­Ontario Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure; His Worship Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto; His Worship Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of the City of Vaughan and Karen Stintz, Toronto Transit Commission Chair commemorated this construction milestone.

The subway extension will offer transportation options for hundreds of thousands of daily commuters and provides an important transit connection into York Region and the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre. When completed in fall 2016, this subway line will help manage traffic congestion and ease commute times for all travellers and help create a seamless transit network across the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area.

 Group Photo of Officials
Photo above: (left to right) – Andy Byford, CEO, TTC; Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Transportation and Minister of Infrastructure; Karen Stintz, Toronto Transit Commission Chair; His Worship Maurizio Bevilacqua, Mayor of the City of Vaughan; Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario; Honourable Lisa Raitt, former Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Halton; His Worship Rob Ford, Mayor of Toronto; Sameh Ghaly, Chief Capital Officer, Engineering, Construction and Expansion Group, TTC

Tunnel boring machines (TBMs) move on average 15 metres a day. “Holey,” “Moley,” “Yorkie” and “Torkie” are the official names of the four TBMs that are being used to build the tunnels for the TYSSE project.

The TYSSE project is an 8.6-kilometre extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s (TTC) Yonge-University-Spadina subway line from its present terminus at Downview Station to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre at Highway 7 west of Jane Street. It will have six new subway stations, including two at York University and three new commuter parking lots.

Tunnelling Update

Photo of Workers Celebrating Breakthrough
To date, almost 85% of tunnelling has been completed!

Southern Tunnels Completed. An important milestone was achieved for the TYSSE project on March 5, 2013, when tunnel boring machine “Moley” broke through the headwall at the extraction shaft located on Allen Road, just north of Downsview Station. This milestone marks the completion of the southern tunnels linking Finch West Station to Downsview Station. Tunnel boring machines “Holey” and “Moley” completed 2.8 kilometres of twin tunnels and placed a total of 1,826 rings in each tunnel.

Tunnel Boring Machines ready to go at lauch shaft.
Photo above: “Yorkie” and “Torkie” launch the next stage of tunnelling from the Highway 407 Station and have now reached Steeles Avenue West.

“Yorkie” and “Torkie” ­Making ­Progress. “Yorkie” and “Torkie” are boring the northern tunnels that will connect the Finch West Station, Pioneer Village Station, Highway 407 Station and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station. Both ­machines broke through at Pioneer Village Station, located on Steeles Avenue West and North West Gate, on June 13 and 14, 2013, finishing a little more than one kilometre of twin tunnels. The next and final drives will start from Highway 407 Station where “Yorkie” and “Torkie” will make the final trek northbound to Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) Station.

Meet TYSSE’s safety officers

“Work Safe – Home Safe” is a major initiative adopted by the TTC in 2008 to reduce workplace injuries. TTC’s number one priority is the safety of employees and customers—a principle reflected in the construction of the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE).

“We all have family that care about us and you owe it to yourself and to them to come to work in a fit state and return home in the same fit state, so you continue to enjoy life,” explains Richard Ahern, one of three safety officers working on the subway project. Richard co-ordinates the safety program, policies, and procedures for Highway 407 Station, which includes the northern tunnels, as well as the VMC Station.
Carolyn Farmer has been working at Downsview Park Station, which includes the southern subway tunnels. She also works at the Pioneer Village Station site, the first subway station that will reside in both Toronto and Vaughan, with entrances on both sides of Steeles Avenue West.
Carolyn previously worked at Toronto’s Lester B. Pearson International Airport on the Terminal Project. In describing her work at the airport, Carolyn stresses the importance of great communication.

“As the constructor’s safety manager, working adjacent to the largest airport in Canada involved addressing many challenges without disrupting the public and air traffic,” describes Carolyn. Co-ordination with all the major projects that were happening at the same time was also a major consideration. At one time, there were as many as 40 subcontractors on site, with more than 600 workers working in close proximity to each other.

“Co-ordination among contractors also makes the TYSSE project distinctive,” ­Carolyn adds. “As much as all of the sites are individual in nature, they all have to fit and work together to complete the project as a whole. This takes a tremendous amount of communication and ­synchronization.”
Carlos Villegas joined the safety team earlier this year and is overseeing the Finch West and York University Station sites. Carlos also promotes communication and co-ordination as key safety tools in a project of this scope.

“Careful management is required to solve the potential issues to ensure the job is done safely and in compliance with the law,” says Carlos. “Travelling along the subway route you see more than two dozen tower and mobile cranes that support the extensive excavation work. This project has different contractors working ‘shoulder to shoulder’ and many of the cranes are also situated side by side. Heavy construction activities require a robust safety system so that the safety of the workers and the public are protected.”

Carlos, Carolyn and Richard are usually the first people to greet visitors at the TYSSE construction sites as they arrange all safety orientations. Before entering a construction site, everyone must wear personal protective equipment including a hard hat, protective eyewear, footwear and a safety vest.

Richard advises, “When on a construction site, accept safety as your personal responsibility. Speak up – don’t expect someone else to.”

Project Safety Officers are ready to assist as Carlos stresses, “Don’t hesitate to ask – we are always ready to help.” 

Photo of TYSSE safety officers
Photo above: Richard Ahern, Carolyn Farmer and Carlos Villegas

Moving Black Creek

It’s not every day that the TTC moves a creek! However, a series of technical challenges on the project resulted in the need to do just that.

During the detail design stage of the project in 2008, Hydro One required the subway tunnels between Steeles Avenue West and Highway 407 to be adjusted to avoid passing directly under a hydro tower carrying a 500 kV transmission line. This shift in the tunnels meant the station structure had to move east into the existing Black Creek channel. After careful evaluation, the project team concluded that Black Creek needed to be moved further east, away from the proposed new station box. With construction of the station scheduled to start in the spring of 2011, the creek needed to be moved quickly.

Black Creek is best known as the namesake for the Black Creek Pioneer Village and Black Creek Drive. The creek begins in the Vellore neighbourhood in the City of Vaughan at the retention basin outflow just north west of the intersection of Weston Road and Rutherford Road, and flows into the ­Humber River near Scarlett Road and Dundas Street, in Toronto. The creek, a warm water stream, provides a home for a population of warm water fish.

The creek enters the Highway 407 Station site through a culvert under Jane Street, about 100 metres south of Highway 407. On the site, the creek flows through a narrow valley about seven metres deep. The valley then widens and becomes shallower as the creek flows southward and off the site. The east side of the valley is the Jane Street embankment. To the west were agricultural fields that were used most recently for growing market produce.

TYSSE worked with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and ­Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) to develop a design for the creek’s re-routing that would meet aquatic habitat improvement objectives. The design work, carried out by AECOM Canada Limited and Parrish Geomorphic Limited, resulted in a design of 10 meanders (bends), 13 riffles (shallow water) and 12 pools. The meanders were stabilized with vegetation, both live stakes and plantings. The design concept realigned the creek so that it would continue to wind within the floodplain to closely mimic the natural stream and habitat.

In the fall of 2010, the new stream channel was dug away from the existing channel, and the rock riffles were installed. The new channel bank was then planted with dormant plant materials.

TRCA and DFO required fish in the old stream channel to be removed before the channel was filled in. On a cold December 6, 2010 with the temperatures well below freezing, the old channel was dammed, the water was routed through the new channel, and more than 650 fish were captured and released downstream.

During the summer and fall of 2011, additional work on the stream banks was carried out to repair some eroded areas. In the spring of 2012, our team was thrilled to find a considerable number of new sunfish offspring in the creek. The new, realigned channel was supporting fish again! The channel will be monitored every two weeks until construction is completed, to ensure continued stability and restoration of its aquatic habitat.

Photo of new Black Creek
Photo above: New and improved Black Creek

Photo of workers transferring fish to new Black Creek
Photo above: Fish were successfully transferred to the realigned channel in December 2010.

Looking for Information? Let our Project Information Centres assist you


The newest Project Information Centre (PIC) opened in the City of Vaughan in January 2013 and is shared by the Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension project and the vivaNext Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) rapidway project along Highway 7 West. Visit the office to see the design of each project and talk to project staff.
The PIC is located at 7800 Jane Street (northwest corner of Jane Street and Highway 7), near the future Vaughan Metropolitan Centre (VMC) subway station, rapidway station and bus terminal and in the VMC development area. The new office will continue to be busy over the next few years.


The PIC is located at 1120 Finch Ave. West, Suite 800. Visit the office to see the design and models of Finch West Station and Downsview Park Station and talk to project staff.


This PIC is located in the heart of York University in York Lanes Unit #37, 4700 Keele St. Visit the office to see the design, models and videos of York University Station and Pioneer Village Station.

For hours of operation, please visit: and click on Contact Us or call Monday to Friday 1-800-223-6192.

You can contact our Construction Liaison staff by phone, in person or by email. We offer a live 24-7 multilingual construction information line at 1-800-223-6192. Our email address is Web:

Call 1-800-223-6192 to book an appointment.

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Download a PDF version of the newsletter.

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.

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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