> The Ontario Line - Neighbourhood Updates - Downtown | Metrolinx Engage

Downtown Segment

The Ontario Line - Neighbourhood Updates - Downtown

The following maps show refinements to the alignment, or route of the line, and the proposed location of station platforms. Station entrance buildings and initial designs will be shared as new information is available. Teams have been studying how to speed up delivery, reduce building costs, minimize community impacts and improve connections for customers.

map of the downtown segment of the Ontario line

The new plan takes advantage of space that was dug for an east-west line when TTC’s Queen Station was built in the early 1950s.

map of the downtown segment of the Osgoode station
  1. Reaching University Avenue, the Ontario Line connects customers to an array of shopping, dining and entertainment options, not to mention major employment centres in this area of downtown.
  2. The station has been positioned to the west to improve customer transfers between Line 1 and the Ontario Line, making getting from point A to point B quick and convenient. Going to the Art Gallery of Ontario? Just take Line 1 one stop north and you’ll be there in no time. Heading to the Royal Ontario Museum? It’s just two stops further.

     

    Work is anticipated to begin after financial close is reached for the Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

map of the downtown segment of the Queen station
  1. The station at Queen Street and Yonge Street will make use of an underground cavern below Queen Street, built during construction of the first section of the Yonge Street subway. Due to the complexity of building directly under the existing Queen Station, Metrolinx is working closely with the City of Toronto and businesses to develop strategies to mitigate impacts during construction.
  2. Shifting the stations at both Osgoode and Queen to be directly below and perpendicular to (or straddling) Line 1 will save customers time when transferring between the two lines. Another benefit of this positioning is to lessen the impact on existing utilities and any potentially disruptive, expensive and time-consuming relocations.

     

    Work is anticipated to begin after financial close is reached for the Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

map of King and Bathurst station and line segment
  1. A station in the Moss Park area will be located on the edge of the park which reduces construction impacts on traffic and transit flow along Queen Street. After construction, the park area will be restored and returned to the city for programming or redevelopment.
  2. Subway service in this area will help relieve congestion on the popular 501 Queen streetcar route. It will also provide better rapid transit access to people who depend on social service organizations in the area.
  3. Students attending the George Brown College St. James Campus will have two choices for boarding the Ontario Line – a station in the area of Moss Park or a station in the neighbouring area of Corktown.

     

    Work is anticipated to begin after financial close is reached for the Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

map of the line segment containing the corktown station
  1. The station serving Corktown will be located to the east side of Berkeley Street at King Street East, with connections to several streetcar and bus routes nearby. Positioning the station to the east reduces costs and will speed up construction of the station and tunnels. Importantly, it also reduces community impacts by moving construction off the street. This station will provide customers with easy access to the historic Distillery District.
  2. This area – currently home to large retail operations and a significant number of surface parking spots – is where the first two Parliament Buildings for Upper Canada were located, from 1797 to 1813 and 1820 to 1824. Archaeological assessments are currently being planned in advance of any potential use for the project. Metrolinx will work with the Ontario Heritage Trust, the City of Toronto, property owners, and community members to ensure any archaeological findings or historical features are properly documented or conserved and, where possible, made accessible for the public to learn more about. The important history of the land goes back much further than the first parliament buildings and Metrolinx is committed to working with Indigenous communities to better understand the important histories and rights of the peoples that have and continue to live in this area.

     

    Work is anticipated to begin after archaeological assessments are completed and once financial close is reached for the Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

April 2021 Update on the First Parliament Site

View presentation →

Frequently Asked Questions

Heritage

  1. First Parliament Site is of high civic and national importance. What plans are there to protect and/or investigate the archaeological heritage of the site prior to any work occurring? (Metrolinx)

    Metrolinx is currently putting together archaeological workplans for the First Parliament site that outline a path forward and identify opportunities to conserve and commemorate archaeological resources on site. We are working with licensed archaeologists and subject matter experts from the City, Ontario Heritage Trust, Infrastructure Ontario as well as the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation to ensure we are all aligned on the approach.

    All plans will be reviewed and approved by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries before any work begins.

    Metrolinx will be carrying out a thorough and complete assessment of the entire site, which will ensure that all archaeological artifacts and features are documented and conserved. Where possible, Metrolinx will endeavour to protect archaeological features in-situ.

    Archaeologists and Indigenous Community Field Liaisons will investigate the site beginning in the Summer of 2021 before construction begins.

  2. How will the site’s rich history be honoured and addressed? How is the commemoration and conservation of historical sites and buildings incorporated into the planning process and are historical bodies/groups consulted?

    The city-block between Berkeley Street and Parliament Street on the South side of Front Street East, also known as the site of First Parliament, is currently tenanted by a parking lot, a car dealership and a car wash, and has been used intensely for private and industrial purposes for over a century.

    Metrolinx will consult with the City, the Ontario Heritage Trust, heritage experts from Infrastructure Ontario, the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and Indigenous Nations to develop a Heritage Interpretation and Commemoration Plan that profiles the rich history of this site.

    The City of Toronto along with its partners and stakeholders have already built out a robust Heritage and Interpretation Strategy for this site. Metrolinx intends to use this work as the foundation for the overall interpretation and commemoration strategy for this site.

    Metrolinx has established a First Parliament Working Group consisting of representatives from the province, Metrolinx, Infrastructure Ontario, and the Ontario Heritage Trust, as well as nine different City of Toronto departments, the Mississaugas of the Credit First Nation, and Waterfront Toronto.

    In addition, the Metrolinx Ontario Line project team has started working with Indigenous communities to coordinate the involvement of Indigenous Community Field Liaisons in the archaeological assessments process.

    Partners will have a deeper understanding of commemoration opportunities once archaeological work gets underway and we begin to understand what type of features and artifacts exist.

    Archaeologists will investigate the site beginning in the Summer of 2021 before construction begins so that any historical artifacts can be documented and conserved.

    The First Parliament Working Group will advise the Province on appropriate commemoration for the history and artifacts that may be uncovered at the site within the proposed Corktown Transit-Oriented Communities development.

    Infrastructure Ontario looks forward to receiving input from the Working Group on cultural heritage commemoration that could be incorporated into a future Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) market offering of this site once all required approvals are in place.

  3. How does Metrolinx/IO intend to ensure the Ontario Heritage Trust-owned portion of the site is conserved?

    Metrolinx is committed to working with the Ontario Heritage Trust on all steps of the archaeological process as well as a heritage interpretation and commemoration plan for the entire First Parliament site.

    Some excavation will be required on this site to support construction of the future Corktown Station. However, no construction activity will begin until all archaeological assessments are completed, including uncovering any archaeological features or artifacts that may be present. Wherever possible, Metrolinx will strive to conserve these features in the places they are found.

    All archaeological work will be done according to the standards and guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and all plans will be reviewed and approved by the Ministry before any archaeological work begins.

Community Engagement

  1. How will the First Parliament Master Plan work to date be incorporated as part of the redevelopment of this site, including affordable housing, parkland, and a library?

    While details for the proposed Corktown development are still preliminary, the province’s Transit-Oriented Communities (TOC) proposal builds from the City of Toronto’s First Parliament master plan work, which includes a library, public open spaces and a mix of uses to meet the needs of the local community.

  2. How will the local community be engaged as part of this “Transit-Oriented Community Program”?

    The Province is working with the City of Toronto to develop a public engagement process to receive public input and review of the development proposal at Corktown in keeping with our commitment of the Ontario-Toronto Memorandum of Understanding finalized by both parties in January 2020.

    Further details on the public engagement process will be communicated in the near future once the City of Toronto has finalized its review process. Our intent is to begin this important dialogue in Fall 2021.

    Metrolinx will continue to consult with Indigenous communities about the potential impacts of the Ontario Line on Aboriginal and treaty rights.

  3. Due to the pandemic, many small businesses have suffered or shuttered forever. How are local small businesses being considered, consulted, and supported as part of this transit expansion project?

    Metrolinx recognizes the importance of supporting businesses and jobs throughout the city, especially considering the challenging environment the pandemic has created for small businesses. Metrolinx is committed to ensuring local businesses stay accessible and successful throughout this important project, which will bring more people into and out of downtown to live, work and unwind.

    Metrolinx will do this by partnering with Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) and local businesses on shop-local initiatives as well as working with construction teams to keep access to businesses clear and to post signage and other promotional materials. Metrolinx will also stay in close contact with local businesses through open houses, construction liaison committees and community offices to allow for a free exchange of information between the public and Metrolinx staff.

  4. What systems are in place to inform the community of local disruptions?

    Metrolinx knows that building transit can be disruptive, and we will work with our project partners to minimize impacts to the community as much as possible.

    We provide advance notice to communities about work taking place in their neighbourhood through a variety of methods. Community notices are currently being shared digitally with area elected officials and community groups where work will be taking place. Physical copies may also be provided to residents and businesses near work areas, at minimum 48 hours ahead of work beginning.

    Residents and businesses can also stay connected with the latest Ontario Line updates and upcoming work through the Ontario Line website. These same updates and details of upcoming work are also shared through the weekly Ontario Line e-newsletter. The Ontario Line Community Relations team, with access to project team members, is available directly by email, phone and through other electronic means including a virtual appointment booking system and our social media channels. When possible, in person meetings will also resume.

  5. What consideration is given for the consolidation of land for public purposes given that the land which the City exchanged in order to put this parcel together if it ends up no longer in public ownership? (Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario)

    Metrolinx identifies properties required to build the Ontario Line project based on technical requirements and acquires land only where necessary to support the project.

    Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario, on behalf of the Province, are currently working with the City of Toronto and other stakeholders on the property discussions for the future plans on both the Ontario Line and the transit-oriented communities proposal.

    Further details about the Corktown site proposal will be shared with the public for community consultation following review and input by the City of Toronto.

Site Location and Construction

  1. What is the reasoning for placing the station on the First Parliament site, and not the empty lot on the southeast corner?

    In order to reduce community impacts and keep construction off the street, the First Parliament Site will be used to support construction of the Ontario Line. The empty lot on the other side of the street is not adequate in terms of location and size to support construction needs for the Ontario Line alignment, which include tunnel boring activities and station construction.

  2. Why is expropriation necessary?

    Metrolinx makes every effort to come to an amicable agreement with each property owner and provide a fair compensation based on market value. Expropriation is a tool used as a backstop only to ensure that required properties are delivered on time to maintain the project schedule and deliver the transit that Toronto needs so badly.

  3. Why can the site not be leased from the City and returned?

    The site requires extensive work to prepare it for its future use, including archeological work that is seasonal in nature and must be advanced this fall.

    Much of the work at the site will involve substantial remediation of contaminated soil before any major construction begins, and Metrolinx will be assuming the significant costs of performing this extensive and sensitive work. Metrolinx cannot responsibly incur these costs or exercise the degree of control required to effectively remediate the issue unless it owns the land.

    Negotiating license agreements for the work required would also add considerable time to the project schedule and may introduce administrative processes that will delay the extensive preparations that need to be completed in a relatively short period of time.

    Furthermore, the province is pursuing a transit-oriented community proposal for the site that would create a dynamic community with housing, jobs, commercial uses, and community spaces, such as a library – all connected to the Ontario Line subway and TTC bus and streetcar services. In recognition of the historical significance of the land, the province will work closely with the City of Toronto, stakeholders, the community, and Indigenous partners to collaborate on a meaningful plan to commemorate the rich heritage of Canada's First Parliament site. This will have the benefit of delivering much-needed infrastructure at a lower cost to taxpayers.

  4. The section of the Ontario Line on the north/west side of the rail corridor from East Harbour to Gerrard is already proposed to be above ground. How does this change east of East Harbour affect the line and its construction methods from East Harbour to Corktown Station?

    The refinement in the rail corridor between East Harbour and Gerrard is being advanced to protect more park space and slim down permanent infrastructure requirements.

    The area around the future Corktown station will be used as a tunnel boring machine launch site for the Ontario Line. As a result of the refinement, the Lower Don Bridges and the tunnel portals in the Don Yard (GO staging area west of Cherry Street) have been updated to reflect the Ontario Line running in the north/west of the existing rail corridor. In this area, we continue to work with the Toronto Region Conservation Authority to ensure we are coordinating with the many flood mitigation and City-led projects.

  5. Can this station be called “First Parliament”?

    The current station names are working names only and with the support of a naming protocol we have developed, Metrolinx is looking forward to a community engagement process to select final station names for the Ontario Line.

  6. How will this transit line connect to the future Waterfront Transit/East Bayfront Streetcar/LRT?

    Metrolinx is working with the TTC and City of Toronto to explore opportunities to integrate both transit projects and create the best possible customer experience.

map of the line segment containing the Don Yard
  1. Just west of Cherry Street, the tunnels enter the GO corridor and begin to rise, exiting tunnel portals on the north and south sides of the GO tracks in the Don Yard.
  2. Making use of the existing GO corridor means we can shrink our footprint and make efficient use of existing transit space, therefore minimizing impacts to surrounding communities and keeping costs down. The tunnel boring machines will end their digging through downtown here.

Canada Line with a tunnel portal shown in the background - Translink photo
Canada Line with a tunnel portal shown in the background - Translink photo

Work is anticipated to begin after financial close is reached for the Southern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

For more detail, visit Metrolinx News.
 

← Return to Neighbourhood Updates