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

East Segment

The Ontario Line - Neighbourhood Updates - East

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 East segment of the Ontario line

The portion of the Ontario Line where the trains will run above ground in the GO Lakeshore East Corridor is being considered in coordination with GO Expansion.


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

  • GO rail corridor expansion
  • Installation or upgrading of vegetated slopes or retaining walls and noise barriers next to the corridor, where appropriate
  • Relocation or protection of utilities
  • Construction of new Ontario Line bridges on each side of the existing Queen, Dundas and Logan bridges

This work will proceed following an early works environmental assessment and related community consultations, including consultations with Indigenous communities.
The Ontario Line tracks will run on either side of four (three existing and one new) GO train tracks. Significant design and engineering efforts have been made to ensure the six-track railway does not significantly impact bordering properties or other ongoing infrastructure projects. Using the existing rail corridor and streamlining Ontario Line construction work with planned GO Expansion means we can keep mostly within an existing footprint and minimize impacts to surrounding neighbourhoods.

Early works will begin in 2021. More details, including scope of work and timelines, will be shared as procurement advances.

map of the lower don river and bridge placement

To cross the Don River, two bridges will be added to either 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.
Early designs envision clean and simple structures that are similar to the iconic Humber Bay Arch Bridge in the west end of the city, adding a bookend in the east. They will contribute to the other exciting revitalization efforts that are underway in the area.

Early works will begin in 2021.

map of the East Harbour Station

Just east of the Don River and north of Lake Shore Boulevard, a station at East Harbour will be an important transfer and interchange station; 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.
In many cases, people transferring from the GO Train to the Ontario Line will be able to walk straight from one to the other without having to go up or down a level.
Metrolinx is working with a development partner to deliver the East Harbour transit hub. The hub will be designed based on Metrolinx transit requirements to integrate the station with the future local developments. Designs are underway and will be shared as procurement advances.

map of the line segment containing Leslieville station
  1. 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 an array of other neighbourhoods along the line.
    decorative image of Jimmy Simpson
  2. With the station situated mostly to the south of Queen Street and spanning over the existing rail bridge, the popular Jimmie Simpson Community Centre will be able to continue operating throughout construction and beyond.
    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.

Early works will begin in 2021. Station construction will begin after financial close for the Northern Civil, Stations and Tunnel procurement package.

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 March 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.

map of the line segment containing Gerrard station
  1. The station and tracks at Gerrard will be integrated with the existing bridges over Gerrard and Carlaw Avenue. The slightly staggered placement of the south platform has been designed to accommodate the beginning of the tunnel portal and eliminate the need for a wider curve to the east to accommodate the turn north. As the train leaves the station, it will dip down into the tunnel to run under the GO tracks as they continue east.
    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
  1. Launch shafts and portals will be constructed on the north and south 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.
    Canada Line with a tunnel portal shown in the background – Translink photo

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

  2. Much of the space to be used for the portal and construction is currently paved over for parking. Metrolinx will work 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
  1. By repositioning the station platforms at Gerrard, teams were able to eliminate a wide loop that would have been needed to allow proper curvature for trains to turn towards Pape. This will reduce travel times and lessen property impacts.
  2. As it descends, the tunnel is expected to run under a small corner of the Pape Avenue Junior Public School’s yard. The property will be protected, with access maintained throughout construction and robust safety standards in place.

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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