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Sustainability in Design and Construction

June 9, 2016

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The Toronto-York Spadina Subway Extension (TYSSE) project was designed—and is being constructed—using sustainability principles included in guidelines like the Toronto Green Standard. Throughout construction, the focus has been on preserving natural ecosystems, such as Black Creek. The designs for stations include green and cool roofs, bird-friendly glass, natural lighting, and landscaping to manage water flow.

Preserving Natural Ecosystems

Highway 407 Station is located along a branch of Black Creek, just west of Jane Street, south of Highway 407. The station design required a relocation of Black Creek to the east. A design for a relocated naturalized creek was developed through an extensive collaboration with Toronto and Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. In 2010, the new creek channel was constructed, after which the old creek was dammed and water rerouted to the new creek. More than 650 fish were captured and released downstream. The TYSSE team has been monitoring the new creek since then and are pleased to see new sunfish offspring in the creek, which continues to thrive.

Photo of new Black Creek
Black Creek was relocated and naturalized for the project. − April 2016


Photo of new creek channel
New creek channel in 2010.


In July 2009, during the design of the TYSSE project, three butternut (Juglans cinerea) trees were found at the Highway 407 site. As butternut trees are a provincially identified endangered species, project staff developed a plan to replace the trees using nuts harvested from the original trees. TRCA provided space in the Boyd Conservation Area in Vaughan, where they planted more than 58 butternut trees and 20 companion trees and have been monitoring their progress since they were planted in spring 2011. The majority of the trees are healthy or in good condition.

Photo of butternut nursery
 Butternut nursery at Boyd Conservation Area, Vaughan. − 2013


Photo of butternut tree and nuts
Many butternut saplings were grown from the original trees. − 2010


Green and Cool Roofs

Green or cool roofs are a feature at all of the new subway stations. Green or vegetated roofs are located on both entrance buildings at Downsview Park Station, and the bus terminal roofs at Finch West and Pioneer Village stations. Green roofs are also located on three power substations and on a relocated fire hall built by the project.

Cool roofs have high solar reflectance and thermal release features. Aluminum metal cool roofs help reduce electricity used for air conditioning by lowering roof temperatures in sunny or hot weather. Cool roofs are located at Finch West, York University, Pioneer Village, Highway 407 and Vaughan Metropolitan Centre stations.

Photo of Downsview Station green roof
Green roof on Downsview Park Station entrances. − May 2016


Photo of York University Station cool roof
Cool roof under construction at York University Station (not final cladding). − May 2016


Photo of VMC Station cool roof and skylights.
Cool roof and skylights at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station (not final cladding). − June 2016


Bird-friendly Glass

Highly reflective windows pose a hazard to flying birds. All six stations feature “fritted” bird-friendly glass windows. The “frit” is a permanent dotted pattern applied to glass that helps our avian friends distinguish the glass as something to avoid.

Photo of Downsview Park Station exterior.
Downsview has fritted glass for bird protection. − May 2016


Photo of fritted glass windows. 
Close up of the “frit” pattern on glass. − June 2016



Daylight harvesting is a distinctive energy design feature that uses natural daylight to reduce energy consumption and assists with passenger orientation and wayfinding. As an example, the entrance building at Downsview Park Station has large openings in the entrance floors that help bring daylight down through the station. At York University Station, the entrance structure has a light “scoop” that allows daylight to enter the concourse down to track level. Highway 407 Station features a large glass art skylight and a glass facade at the top of the escalators at the GO bus terminal. LED and energy efficient lighting is also featured at all six of the new stations.

Photo of Highway 407 Station skylight.
The skylight at Highway 407 Station brings in light. − May 2016


Photo of Downsview Park Station entrance interior.
The Downsview Park Station stair and escalator openings allow light down to track level. − March 2016


Photo of Pioneer Village Station interior.
A light well in Pioneer Village Station brightens an underground space. − April 2016


Photo of York University Station light scoop.
At York University Station this large curtain wall, framing the light “scoop”, which brings in natural light. − May 2016


Landscaping for Water Management

Landscaping designs at all six stations incorporate sustainability features, such as native and drought resistant plants. Plantings adjacent to buildings help to reduce stormwater run-off into the municipal drainage system. Bioswales are another landscape design feature being used to remove silt and pollution from surface run-off water. Permeable pavers reduce the water run-off from station sites by allowing water to soak into the ground below.

Rendering of York University Station exterior.
The light “scoop” design at York University Station features native, drought tolerant species.


Photo of landscaping at Downsview Park Station.
Permeable pavers and landscaping at Downsview Park Station reduces stormwater run-off for water management. − May 2016


Rendering of VMC Station.
Native plantings at Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station.


Rendering of Highway 407 entrance.
Drought resistant plantings around main entrance at Highway 407 Station.


Aerial rendering of Pioneer Village Station.
Bioswales around the TTC bus terminal will intercept rainwater run-off at Pioneer Village Station.  


The TYSSE project is an 8.6-kilometre six station extension of the Toronto Transit Commission’s Line 1 (Yonge-University) subway line from its present terminus at Downsview Station (to be renamed Sheppard West Station when the extension is complete) to the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Station at Highway 7. The expansion of the subway will bring the line into The Regional Municipality of York. The new line is scheduled to open by the end of 2017.  

For more information:
Call: 1-800-223-6192
Email: to receive regular construction notices
YouTube: Visit the Official TTC YouTube Channel to view our project videos.

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.

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Bus Route Changes


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

Read about it here!

Need Information

To contact us for information about the project:

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.

Click here to view the Photo Gallery.

Project News