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

East Segment

The Ontario Line - Neighbourhood Updates - East

The following maps show the alignment, or route of the line, and the proposed location of station platforms. Station structures, entrance locations and initial design concepts will be shared as further design work is completed. Teams continue to study how to minimize community impacts and improve connections for customers.

map of the East segment of the Ontario line

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The portion of the Ontario Line where the trains will run above ground in the GO Lakeshore East rail corridor is being considered alongside GO Expansion plans.

Early plans had Ontario Line tracks on either side of the GO tracks within the rail corridor, but new plans now put Ontario Line tracks beside each other on the northern side as it moves from the Don Yard across the Don River, and on the western side as it curves north and heads through Riverside/Leslieville to the portal at Gerrard. This change slims down station infrastructure, reduce impacts to park space and create a better customer experience. 

Early works will proceed in the joint corridor (a shared railway where Ontario Line trains will run parallel to GO trains) ahead of station and track construction. Planned early works along the rail corridor from Eastern Avenue to Logan Avenue include:

  • GO rail track upgrades and realignment
  • Installing or upgrading vegetated slopes or retaining walls and noise barriers next to the corridor, where appropriate
  • Relocating and protecting utilities
  • Completing bridge work where the Lakeshore East rail corridor passes over Queen Street, Dundas Street and Logan Avenue.

This work will proceed following an early works environmental assessment and related community consultations, including consultations with Indigenous Nations.

Significant design and engineering work is being done to avoid impacts to bordering properties, such as the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre, Bonjour Brioche bakery and café, and Fontbonne Ministries, to name a few. Streamlining Ontario Line construction work with planned GO Expansion work within the existing Metrolinx-owned rail corridor means we can keep mostly within our existing property boundaries and significantly reduce impacts to surrounding neighbourhoods, including park spaces.

cross-section of joint corridor showing Ontario Line trains and GO trains

cross-section of joint corridor showing Ontario Line trains and GO trains

Corridor cross section of the station north of Queen Street East – for illustrative purposes only

Lakeshore East Joint Corridor early works will begin in 2022, after the early works environmental assessment and related community consultations conclude. We will share more details on what type of work will take place and when as part of these consultations.

photo of existing Lower Don Bridge with Don Yard

Photo by Brian Main/Metrolinx

To cross the Don River, a new Ontario Line bridge will be added on the north side of the existing rail bridge, with space for tracks going in both directions. The current plan for this area is to also provide pedestrian and cycling connections across the Don River to ensure communities continue to develop and thrive with improved transit. Lower Don Bridge and Don Yard early works will begin in 2022, after an early works environmental assessment and related community consultations conclude.

These improved connections will contribute to the other exciting revitalization efforts that are underway in the area.

map of the East Harbour Station area

Just east of the Don River and north of Lake Shore Boulevard East, a station at East Harbour will be an important transfer point, accommodating GO operations, a planned extension of the Broadview streetcar, and Ontario Line service in a corner of the city that is poised for growth.

The Ontario Line tracks will be positioned on the north side of the existing rail corridor. With a shared concourse providing easy access to all the rail services that will serve East Harbour, more customers will be able to transfer from the GO train to the Ontario Line, and travel to more places.

This travel hub will be integrated within a transit-oriented community development and will be built to Metrolinx design standards. This development is part of the government’s plan to build vibrant, higher density, mixed-use communities that are connected to transit. Infrastructure Ontario, on behalf of the Province, is currently working on designs with the City of Toronto and Cadillac Fairview, the landowner and developer of the site. Community input is a key component of the development, and the province will host public consultations that are expected to begin in Summer 2021.

map of the line segment containing Leslieville station

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The station serving Leslieville and Riverside will help relieve congestion on the busy 501 Queen streetcar and give customers a faster way to get where they need to be, whether that's downtown, the Danforth, or other neighbourhoods along the line.

Positioning the Ontario Line tracks to one side of the existing rail corridor allows for a single station building that will be situated at Queen and De Grassi, spanning over the rail bridge within Metrolinx’s existing property boundaries. It also protects more park space and provides even more space between the rail corridor and the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre. All neighbouring businesses will be able to continue operating during construction and beyond.

image comparing old proposed Ontario Line route in Leslieville with the new proposed route

Customers will benefit from a single centre platform that will serve trains going in both directions, ensuring a more seamless and accessible experience for everyone who uses the station.

cross-section of joint corridor showing Ontario Line trains and GO trains

Corridor cross section near Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre – for illustrative purposes only

Current plans envision maintaining streetcar service in these areas throughout the duration of the project, though there might be times when service is re-routed or reduced to accommodate construction work.

Lakeshore East Joint Corridor early works will begin in 2022. Station construction will begin after financial close for the Northern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

How will Metrolinx address noise and vibration impacts of the Ontario Line in Riverside and Leslieville?

Noise walls will be installed along the existing GO rail corridor through the Riverside and Leslieville area, and Metrolinx will also pursue an array of other solutions to keep noise and vibration to a minimum.

noise wall concept

Early study results show our planned mitigation measures will make the sound of every passing train lower than today, with average noise levels lower than they currently are at the majority of locations along the joint corridor.

We’ll achieve these long-awaited improvements by ensuring the rail is continuously welded with no joints, procuring quiet Ontario Line trains, electrifying GO trains that run in the joint rail corridor, installing effective and well-designed noise barriers and implementing other proven solutions that will significantly reduce noise and vibration impacts not only from the Ontario Line but from the existing GO and VIA trains that currently use the corridor.

cross-section of joint corridor showing Ontario Line trains and GO trains

Corridor cross section of the station north of Queen Street East – for illustrative purposes only

More details on these studies will be released for public review and comment when the draft early works environmental assessment for the joint corridor is released in fall 2021.

In addition to the consultation that will take place as part of the early works environmental assessment for the joint corridor, Metrolinx will work with the City of Toronto and local community on landscaping options, streetscaping and street furniture opportunities to animate spaces and minimize the visual impact of any sound barriers.

What are you doing to protect park spaces?

We know that spaces where we can relax and unwind and children can play are vital in communities, and we are committed to working with our community partners to ensure there is continued access to park and playground space as we deliver better, faster and easier transit.

We are still finalizing property needs, striving to minimize the footprint of our work wherever possible. Improvements to the track positioning in the existing rail corridor means teams can cut down on the amount of station buildings needed, which means even fewer impacts to the parks surrounding the active rail corridor. While some small parcels of space will be needed for new infrastructure, it will be very minimal. If we do need to temporarily occupy some park space to support construction and avoid impacts to nearby homes and businesses, we will work with the city to ensure that it is thoughtfully restored and beautified once the project is finished.

During construction, the safety of park spaces will be a top priority and regular communication and safety measures will be in place to keep the community and park visitors safe.

Why can't the Ontario Line go underground before reaching Riverside and Leslieville?

At the request of the community, we considered whether it would be possible to bring the Ontario Line underground just east of the proposed surface station at East Harbour, where Ontario Line trains will connect seamlessly with above-ground GO trains. We looked at a number of options and planners have determined an underground alignment in this area would not be practical for a variety of reasons, most of which are related to the disruptions it would cause in the community and the benefits that would be lost with an above-ground alignment.

Firstly, a portal would need to be built between Eastern Avenue and Queen Street. A portal is a large reinforced concrete structure that holds the earth in place to provide an opening for trains going in and out of the underground tunnel. Building a portal in this area would cause significant and lengthy community disruption from soil excavation, utility relocation, concrete pouring and many other construction activities. It would also require the acquisition of numerous homes along McGee and Saulter Streets and have significant impacts on most of the parks in the area, and other small businesses and community organizations nearby.

The maximum portal grade, or steepness, for portals along the Ontario Line is 4.5%. At this grade, a portal would need to be built in the area of Eastern Avenue and extend as far as Queen Street. Significant excavation to lower the levels of land would be needed to build a portal and retaining walls for the shallow tunnel structure. This would result in a permanent closure of Eastern Avenue or Queen Street, disrupting existing traffic and transit services. Worse, there would not be enough room for a station at Queen and De Grassi.

To avoid a closure and still build a station, the streets and the existing bridges that run above them would need to be raised by at least two metres. Even then, there would not be sufficient space for a customer concourse at the station at Queen and De Grassi – only platforms.

Eliminating the station would greatly reduce customer benefits – especially for people living in the immediate vicinity – and the much-needed relief for the 501 streetcar will be lost. The additional costs of this approach will exceed $800 million.

To avoid raising the road and the rail bridge would require a track incline steeper than what most subway vehicles in the world can manage.

While there are pros and cons to both underground and above-ground approaches, the analysis shows that an above-ground alignment through Riverside and Leslieville will result in far fewer community impacts and deliver significantly more benefits.

How will sound barriers and noise walls be designed with the community in mind?

Metrolinx will work with the City of Toronto and local community on landscaping, grading options, streetscaping and street furniture opportunities to animate spaces and minimize the visual impact of any retaining wall. Consultation with the community is planned to begin in spring 2021.

Noise and retaining wall renderings.

What are you doing to protect park spaces?

Providing ongoing access to beloved community park space will be a top priority for us as we deliver this important project.

We know that spaces where we can relax and unwind and children can play are vital in communities, and we are committed to working with our community partners to ensure there is continued access to park and playground space as we deliver better, faster and easier transit.

We are still finalizing property needs, striving to minimize the footprint of our work wherever possible. If we do need to temporarily occupy some park space to support construction and avoid impacts to nearby homes and businesses, we will work with the city to ensure that it is thoughtfully restored once the project is finished.

While there may be some impacts to parks during construction so that we can avoid having to acquire private property, we are committed to only using the space that is absolutely necessary.

During construction, the safety of park spaces will be a top priority and regular communication and safety measures will be in place to keep the community and park visitors safe.

We will work with contractors to preserve surrounding vegetation in areas where we are working.  Metrolinx's Vegetation Guideline protocol reflects a landscape science-based approach to restoring greenspace that meets or exceeds bylaws and regulations. We will strive to keep tree removal to a bare minimum and will also take the opportunity to remove invasive foliage.

If a tree does need to be removed from a park to ensure safety during construction and operations, our policy is to work with the City to plant three new ones in its place.

cross-section of joint corridor showing Ontario Line trains and GO trains
map of the line segment containing Gerrard station

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The station and tracks at Gerrard will be integrated with the existing bridges over Gerrard and Carlaw Avenue.

Impacts to the Gerrard-Carlaw dog park are still being confirmed, but we are looking at ways to preserve the area and will continue to explore those options with the goal of returning it for community use after construction.

At Gerrard, the station will provide a connection to the 506 Carlton TTC streetcar and 72 Pape TTC bus.

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

 

map of the line segment containing the Gerrard Tunnel Portal

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Launch shafts and a portal will be constructed on the west side of the existing GO tracks for the beginning of the Ontario Line tunnels. From here, the tunnel boring machines will begin to work their way north, toward Pape Station.

Metrolinx is working with local business owners to minimize the impacts of construction on their properties.

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

map of the line segment containing Pape South

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The Ontario Line will be underground once it reaches Pape Avenue Junior Public School, where it will run under a small corner of the yard. The property will be protected, with access maintained throughout construction and robust safety standards in place.

Property requirements are still being finalized. Even if the tunnel will run deep beneath your home, Metrolinx will contact you directly to negotiate an amicable agreement through a process that is designed to be simple and stress-free. Learn more in our frequently asked questions, under Environment and Community Impacts.

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

 
For more detail, visit Metrolinx News.

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