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Your Feedback

The Ontario Line - Your Feedback and Frequently Asked Questions

We know that good transit planning involves the community, and that better decisions are made when different views are considered. We’ve encouraged you to ask questions and share your feedback and these are some of the top questions we’ve received.

What is the project budget and who is responsible for funding?

The capital costs of the Ontario Line are estimated at $10.9 billion, and the project is expected to generate $9.9 to $11.3 billion in economic benefits for the City of Toronto and the Greater Toronto Area as a whole, with an expected benefit cost ratio (BCR) of 1.05 – meaning for every dollar spent in the region could result in a benefit of $1.05.

In April 2019, the provincial government announced a $28.5-billion subway expansion program, of which $11.2 billion has been committed by the province. In addition, the province is calling on the federal government to commit at least 40 per cent.

The projects are being procured and delivered by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx.

When will construction begin?

Construction will begin this year, when teams break ground on early works for the project. This work will include rail corridor expansion and other modifications at Exhibition Station, and utility relocations. The overall schedule and completion dates will be determined through the procurement process for the project. To learn more about procurement, click here.

When will construction begin on Leslieville/ Riverdale station and will McLeary Park be the site of the loading platform?

Construction in the rail corridor will begin as Early Works which will start in mid-2022. The construction of the station itself will follow later on as part of the Northern Civil, Stations and Tunnel package in 2024. To learn more about procurement, click here.

McCleary Park will not have any station infrastructure.

Are there be any scenarios where the Ontario Line may be cancelled?

The Provincial government announced priority transit projects as part of its subways program which includes the Ontario Line and is committed to delivering these much-needed subway lines. The Municipal government has also confirmed its support, and the Federal government is committed to supporting transit. The city has had a lack of transit investment and development, and the Ontario Line is an opportunity to strengthen Toronto's network. There are also procurement contracts currently in the market for the Ontario Line, so we can assure you 'it's happening'.

How is my feedback considered?

One of the main reasons we seek feedback is to uncover insights we might not have anticipated. We are continuously looking at how we might be able to modify parts of our plan based on what we hear from communities – whether we get that feedback through formal public meetings or one-on-one conversations.

During consultations on environmental assessments, we document feedback and any actions we take as a result of that feedback in consultation summaries that are part of finalized environmental assessment reports.

What say will the community have on station design, station names?

Stations will be designed with the community in mind, using a set of guidelines that will make sure they are attractive and fit into the areas they will serve.

We’ll be looking for opportunities throughout the planning and design process to get public feedback on design elements. We look forward to working with community members and the City of Toronto on how to design Ontario Line stations that communities will be proud of.

We will work with the communities along the line to determine station names that are clear and representative of the neighbourhoods they will serve. We’ll share more details on those opportunities in the future.

How are you consulting & engaging us - your partners in a massive infrastructure project? Your CEO being cornered by CBC & boilerplate emails aren't cutting it.

We have committed to more frequent engagements across the line in order to better inform residents about the project and to seek community feedback to refine the project. In addition, community members can contact us anytime via email or phone. Once it is safe to do so, we are also opening our community offices on Queen Street East and in the East York Town Centre so community members will have easy access to talk to us.

Metrolinx has had no conversation with Corktown business nor commercial property owners. When is this expected to happen?

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.

When we confirm that certain properties are needed, either permanently or temporarily, we begin working directly with every single property owner to reach amicable agreements that makes sense for everyone involved, through a process that’s as simple and stress-free as possible. Outreach to property owners in some areas has already begun and conversations with affected property owners will continue to help us understand how we can support them – whether they’re homeowners, business owners, or municipalities.

Which properties will be required or impacted?

We only acquire properties that are absolutely necessary for projects; we certainly don’t want to take more than is needed, because we know that doesn’t make our neighbourhoods better. We take every effort to minimize the footprint of land required through careful planning and design work. As we refine our plans for the project, we’re getting a clearer picture of the properties we’ll need to make this project a reality. Outreach to property owners in some areas has already begun.

We understand that this is an emotional process for people. Whether we have to use a sliver of a backyard for a period of construction or take some land permanently, we sit down with every property owner to work through it together. We want to give as much time as possible to help them understand what we need and why, and to learn about what we can do to support them. Our preference is to work with property owners as early as possible to reach amicable agreements and compensate them with fair market value for any land that is required.

When will I find out if my property is required or impacted?

When we confirm that certain properties are needed, either permanently or temporarily, we begin working directly with every single property owner to reach amicable agreements that makes sense for everyone involved, through a process that’s as simple and stress-free as possible. Outreach to property owners in some areas has already begun and conversations with affected property owners will continue to help us understand how we can support them – whether they’re homeowners, business owners, or municipalities.

What supports will you provide me if my property is needed?

When we confirm that certain properties are needed, either permanently or temporarily, we begin working directly with every single property owner to reach amicable agreements that makes sense for everyone involved, through a process that’s as simple and stress-free as possible. We will cover reasonable administrative costs like legal, appraisal and consulting fees and compensates owners at a price they could expect through a sale at fair market value. We will also work with property owners and tenants to cover relocation costs, whenever possible.

We may only need part of a property, and in those cases where we can hand the property back to the owner, we ensure it’s restored to its pre-construction state or better.

There are a number of older, historic buildings along the route, like the ones at King/Bathurst and Queen/Spadina. How will your work affect them?

We always strive to reduce or avoid impacts to these kinds of properties because we know how important they are to the fabric of the city, and we know we need to do everything we can to preserve the historic character of our neighbourhoods. Making room for new transit infrastructure in a dense, urban environment does mean that some existing buildings will be impacted, but it’s our job to keep those impacts to a minimum.

If we can’t avoid certain impacts, we work with heritage specialists to see how we can reuse or incorporate heritage features, including exterior facades of buildings, and how we can commemorate their significance with permanent plaques or signs.

We completed a comprehensive inventory of heritage properties and cultural heritage landscapes, including Heritage Conservation Districts for the Environmental Conditions Report, which you can view here.

Won’t the plans for the rail corridor in Riverside and Leslieville result in a permanent loss of trees?

For any one tree we need to remove from a park here in the city, we will work with city partners to ensure that three new ones are planted in the community. We will also improve the look of any sound barriers we build with newly planted trees and other greenery.

Is Metrolinx doing environmental assessments for this project? How can we be sure the health of our communities and our green spaces are being respected?

Metrolinx is doing several environmental assessments for the Ontario Line.

The revised environmental assessment process for the Ontario Line is designed to ensure we can build this priority transit project faster while upholding strict environmental commitments.

The new process largely follows the existing Environmental Assessment Transit Project Assessment Process, except that it has added flexibility. This allows for more certainty in project planning, reduces the risk of delays, and still provides for environmental oversight and consultation with the public and Indigenous communities.

We’ve already consulted on and finalized two environmental reports, and several more detailed reports will follow to support sound planning, design and construction work for this critical transit project.

We take our responsibility to consult very seriously because we understand how connected people feel to the places they live, work, and play. Stay tuned for more consultation opportunities throughout the assessment process to gather important feedback from the communities we will serve.

How will community impacts be dealt with?

An important part of the planning and design work for a major project like this involves hearing from communities about the plans. Metrolinx has held numerous in-person and online open houses across the alignment this year to gather feedback. Drawing from this, Metrolinx has made refinements to the alignment in places like Leslieville. 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.

Also, Metrolinx will add effective, well-designed sound barriers, landscaping, and new trees and greenery to significantly reduce the sound and visibility of the rail corridor in Riverside and Leslieville, and the trains that will operate within it, including GO and VIA trains.

In Thorncliffe Park, plans were updated to move much of the line off Overlea Boulevard. Instead of the original plan to proceed along Overlea after reaching the neighbourhood station, the Ontario Line will instead turn to the north to run next to the nearby hydro corridor, reducing community impacts and creating a better fit for the neighbourhood.

Metrolinx will continue to work with communities to ensure a comprehensive array of measures are in place to address any noise or vibration impacts and to ensure designs are sensitive and respectful of communities.

Community consultation will be launched this spring to seek feedback on noise wall design and landscaping.

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.

Won’t running the Ontario Line above ground through Riverside and Leslieville negatively affect the quality of life in the community?

Finally bringing a rapid transit station to rail corridor in Riverside and Leslieville will provide much-needed relief to the 501 streetcar and make it better, faster and easier for people who live and work in this vibrant area to move around the city and the region.

We also expect to improve background air quality levels by allowing people to leave their cars at home and take transit instead.

Operating electric-powered trains will ensure that no additional emissions are introduced to the local community due to the Ontario Line. The planned electrification of numerous GO trains that run through the rail corridor in the Leslieville and Riverside area will also have a similarly positive impact. Lower levels of noise and vibration can also be expected from quieter electric-powered trains compared to the diesel-powered GO trains that are operating in the corridor today.

We will mitigate noise and vibration by installing seamless sound barriers in the community, but we will also be pursuing a wide array of other proven solutions for reducing noise and vibration at the source such as continuously welded rail, ballast mats, rail isolation systems and more. Metrolinx is working closely with the Ministry of the Environment, Conservation and Parks to ensure we meet or exceed all applicable guidelines and regulations.

How does Metrolinx plan to address the noise and vibration from Ontario Line trains?

The first steps in reducing impacts from noise and vibration starts at the source – with the train and track.

When the Ontario Line trains are running, they will be electrified, which means they will be quiet, in addition to clean and fast.

As plans are refined, we’ll have several tools to choose from to reduce noise and vibration at the track level. These options include tracks equipped with rail dampers and resiliently supported rail ties. technology that helps trains and subways run quietly over the tracks, very similar to soundproofing. In some above-ground sections areas where Ontario Line trains will run alongside GO trains, ballast mats could be installed on GO track – these are like cushions under the tracks that help soften the vibrations and sounds as trains pass over them.

We’ll also be installing noise walls in certain above-ground areas, which will deflect even more noise. Wherever possible, these will be surrounded by attractive landscaping with trees and shrubs to keep things looking nice.

During construction, we’ll have options including construction equipment silencers and muffling devices and other methods that minimize vibrations. We’ll be coordinating construction schedules so that noisy work happens when it makes the most sense.

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

Metrolinx will work with the City of Toronto and local communities on landscaping and other opportunities to create welcoming spaces so that we can minimize the visual impact of any noise walls. Consultation with the community is planned to begin in spring 2021

How will communities be consulted with on the design of infrastructure such as noise walls, bridges and stations?

Designs will be shared as soon as concepts are finalized and there will be regular opportunities to share feedback at future consultations and meetings.

Find out more here.

How will you support local businesses during construction?

We’re committed to ensuring local businesses remain accessible, visible and “Open for Business” throughout this important project.

We’ll work with the business community to ensure there is flexibility in the supports we provide, from making sure store fronts are clear and easy to access, to working together on promotions and incentives, to helping them relocate to other nearby locations if their properties are needed to support construction.

We will also be opening community offices along the route, with community engagement staff available during business hours to answer questions, provide updates and help support local businesses and organization through construction.

During construction we will have a 24-hour hotline giving the community direct access to someone who will listen to their concerns and address any issues.

This will be an ongoing process, and we are committed to keeping an open, two-way dialogue going so we can continuously strengthen and improve our supports for local businesses.

Is it true that there will be impacts to Iqbal Halal Foods and Darussalam mosque?

The Islamic Society of Toronto has told us that their current mosque at 4 Thorncliffe Park Drive will move to their new property at 20 Overlea Boulevard, which will not be impacted by the maintenance and storage facility. We will continue working directly with them to support that move.

We know how important Iqbal Halal Foods is to the community and to the city, and we’re determined to help them relocate to a new space nearby so they can continue to provide important services that so many people rely on.

Working one-on-one with local businesses and organizations to help them relocate and continue to thrive is a top priority for us as we deliver new transit to their communities.

Will there be street closures as a result of construction? How will you manage traffic impacts across the city if there are any closures or diversions?

Building a subway through such a densely populated urban area is a challenge, but we’re committed to keeping people moving during construction. Our top priority is maintaining safe access for all.

We’ll be working with communities, local BIAs, elected officials and the TTC on plans to maintain safe access to local stores and businesses with robust safety measures and frequent communication. These plans will involve:

  • avoiding or minimizing impacts to existing transit services as much as possible;
  • communicating early and often about any temporary impacts to roadways and transit lines;
  • looking at other projects that may be taking place to see how they might affect our plans;
  • ensuring communications about any changes are clear and highly visible across many different channels.

What will happen to Pape Avenue Junior Public School, which the line seems to run under?

The Ontario Line will be underground by the time it reaches Pape Avenue Public School so the property wont’ be impacted.

We're working closely with the school and parent council on plans to keep the area safe for students and faculty during construction while also protecting the building and playground. For families who choose transit, the nearby station at Gerrard will make getting to and from school much simpler.

Will any sidewalks or roads need to be temporarily or permanently removed to make way for the above-ground section in the north segment?

Building an elevated guideway in this area will help us minimize impacts to sidewalks or roads by avoiding large excavation sites that would otherwise be needed for tunneling. We also don’t expect to permanently impact any roads in this area.

While there may be impacts to some roads and sidewalks during construction, we’re going to strive to keep them to a minimum. We’ll put safety precautions in place and communicate about impacts early to keep the community informed and safe as they travel through the area.

What will the hours of construction be?

We’ll make sure that construction disruptions are minimal, with most work happening on weekdays and weekends between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, some work will need to be done overnight, like tunnel boring. We’ll communicate early and often with communities as soon as we know about any planned overnight construction work.

How deep will the line be and will the homes above/near the line feel the subway?

Noise and vibration is always a concern, both during construction and during operation of a subway system. With the recent developments in technology our ability to address noise and vibration is much greater than it used to be.

One example is the automated operation of the trains. The computers operate the trains in a much more efficient manner so that the braking and acceleration curves are such that the noise is significantly reduced as the trains arrive and depart from stations.

We also isolate the tracks themselves the from the structure of the tunnel, using rubber isolation pads and floating slabs and other techniques so that any vibration from the operation of the train is not transmitted into the tunnel structure.

Additionally, because we’ll be so deep in this area, homeowners aren’t likely to experience vibrations once the Ontario Line is running. Most of the tunnel in this area is in bedrock, which is rigid strong material. There is also another approximately 10-metres of glacial till above the layer of bedrock, which helps to isolate noise and vibration.

As part of the environmental assessment, we are also doing a detailed noise and vibration study. It's a three-dimensional study where we look at topography and train frequencies and soil conditions. Through that study, we'll be predicting the specific noise and vibration levels associated with construction and operation and then the solutions that we'll be putting in place as part of the design of the project so that we really are controlling noise and vibration effectively. These results will be in our draft Environmental Impact Assessment Report, which we will share for review and comment in early 2022.

Since part of the line is being built diagonally under buildings instead of under streets, will the stations be mined to protect buildings from demolition?

Our priority is to keep our construction footprints slim, keep property impacts to a minimum, and keep construction sites safe. We’ll be exploring a number of techniques including tunnel boring, sequential excavation or mining, and cut and cover methods. Techniques will vary based on what the safest, most effective approach for the type of ground we’re working in and how much space is available to carry out the work. Any approach we take will be respectful of surrounding community spaces.

Is any of the tunneling work expected to be disruptive to the new condos that were built off of Ordnance Street?

Due to the depth of the tunnelling expected through these areas, we expect that the majority of buildings will not be needed to accommodate construction. Tunnelling deep into the bedrock below the surface and reducing the curvature of the route allows us to deliver the Ontario Line in a way that provides faster service while minimizing or avoiding impacts to the built environment.

How are you bypassing the old Garrison Creek as well as the foundations and parking of all the condo developments?

Ontario Line tracks will be about 30-36 metres below ground in this area to avoid conflicts, including with utilities and underground structures. The depth is determined in part by the depth required for new stations as well as existing infrastructure such as deep large sewers.

Can you commit to ensuring that streetcar service will be maintained during construction (aside from brief diversions overnight/on weekends)?

Our plan is to maintain streetcar service during construction and we’re working closely with the City and TTC on a plan to keep Toronto moving. This is a work in progress and we’ll share more on these plans once they’re finalized. Any disruptions to existing transit service will be communicated as early as possible using a number of communications channels to ensure everyone gets the information they need to keep moving.

What are the safety plans for above-ground trains in dense neighbourhoods such as Leslieville? There will be no buffer zone in case of derailment.

We hold ourselves to the highest standards when it comes to safety. Our plans for the joint rail corridor that will accommodate both Ontario Line and GO trains is no exception. We will ensure the strong, industry-leading safety standards are in place for customers, employees, and neighbouring communities by working with an Independent Safety Assessor to evaluate our plans. The assessor will follow the highly respected and widely adopted European Standard the European Common Safety Method for Risk Evaluation and Assessment, which is used by railways across the world.

Wherever Ontario Line trains will run on a joint rail corridor, they will do so on their own dedicated tracks that will be completely separate from other rail operations. We will use a dedicated, Ontario Line-only signalling system that will use the latest signalling and monitoring technology. This system will ensure trains are in constant communication with one another and show their precise location at all times, meaning vehicles will stay a safe distance from one another. With sensors that can detect objects on the tracks, trains will also automatically stop if there is something blocking the way.

 

Again - no answer on the height of the barriers. Sure they might be "attractive" but how high will they actually be? Please answer the questions.

We are in discussions with the City of Toronto to determine the exact details of the retaining and noise walls. Once these details are finalized, we will bring them forward to the community as we explore various options. We expect to have these details by summer 2021.

Preliminary analysis tells us the noise walls can be anywhere from 3.5 metres to 7 metres high in order to be effective.

How will you prevent graffiti on the sound barrier walls on an ongoing basis?

We 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 and help deter vandalism.

Will the downtown stations be mined like some of the Eglinton Crosstown stations (Oakwood, Avenue, and Laird) to avoid years of cut and cover impacts?

We'll be exploring a number of techniques including tunnel boring, sequential excavation and cut and cover methods. Keeping community inconveniences to a minimum will be a top priority as we look at different mining options. All mining techniques work well for different reasons. Tunnel boring is quick - digging 10 to 15 metres per day – and machines are built specifically for the type of ground it will tunnel through making them exceptionally efficient with little impact to communities above. SEM machines are more readily available so the work can begin much quicker. Tunnels are dug bit by bit meaning impacts are smaller and more spread out in the area where work is taking place. Cut and cover is a more traditional method of building a station or tunnel where the ground is excavated and infrastructure is built in the excavated space. There may be more impact where this method takes place, but the impacts are temporary, and construction is finished a lot sooner. Ultimately, mining techniques are decided based on what is most effective for the type of ground we're working in and how much space is available to work in, but we also want to make sure that any method we consider will provide structural safety for the community.

With the stations at Queen, Osgoode, and Pape being built, will there be closures to Line 1 or Line 2?

We're working closely with the City and TTC to develop a plan to keep Toronto moving, even during construction. These plans will include considerations for other projects in the area and minimizing any impacts to Line 1, Line 2 and streetcar service, or ensuring that any required impacts are temporary and communicated early. We’ll share more on these plans once they're finalized.

Will Moss Park and its amenities (arena, basketball court, baseball diamond etc.) be available for use during construction?

We know how important it is for communities to have spaces to relax, unwind and have fun in, and we will be working hard to provide continued access to these spaces wherever we can throughout the course of the project. We know the City also has plans to revitalize Moss Park and we are working closely with our municipal partners coordinate our plans for the area and minimize impacts to important community spaces and services. We will ensure any park space we need to occupy to support construction is beautified and improved upon when we’re done, in keeping with the city’s revitalization plans.

What vehicle/train will be used for the Ontario Line?

The Ontario Line is expected to feature modern, automated trains like the ones used in Vancouver, London, Paris and Singapore. This technology could allow for a higher frequency of service (up to 40 trains per hour) with as little as 90 seconds in between trains.

Find out more about trains & technology here.

Will the Ontario Line use Platform Edge Doors?

All Ontario Line stations will be enclosed and will protect customers from the elements with platform edge doors that will keep passengers safely separated from moving vehicles.

Why is the Ontario Line above ground in certain places? Why is this good for communities?

Running the Ontario Line above ground in certain areas will cut down on construction impacts and reduce journey times for people connecting to and from bus, streetcar and GO train services.

Fewer community impacts

In Leslieville and Riverside, running the Ontario Line on a Metrolinx-owned railway means we can protect beloved community spaces and give people better access to the things that make the community unique, like the Jimmie Simpson Recreation Centre and park, basketball court and hockey rink. We’re also about to protect and maintain access to many other parks in the neighbourhood, and all the neighbouring local businesses and organizations.

We will also use this as an opportunity to shield this corridor from the local neighbourhoods by significantly reducing the sounds from and visibility of the railway, which already accommodates GO and VIA rail services. We will do this by adding well-designed and effective sound barriers, plantings and new trees.

Faster commutes

Customers on the Ontario Line will also save journey time with more convenient transfers to other surface transit routes. For instance, at the proposed location of the new East Harbour station, the Ontario Line would have to be buried nearly 40 metres underground to be safely below the Don River, as well the large sewer mains under the proposed station at Gerrard Street and Carlaw Avenue. That’s as deep as a nine-storey building is tall.

With tunnels so deep at these stations, it means that customers would need to take three separate escalators to get to and from street level to the Ontario Line platforms below. All together, customers would have spent 4.5 minutes longer getting to and from the platform level at every station in the area.

At Thorncliffe Park and Flemingdon Park, digging deep enough to reach under the Don Valley would have meant that those stations would to be as much as 70 metres underground – deeper than any station in Toronto’s transit network.

Building these stations above ground avoids long connection times while providing customers with a fully accessible experience that is shielded from the elements and encourages more transfers to the Ontario Line from GO services and the crowded streetcar network.

Delivering transit relief faster

Toronto residents have been demanding more transit choices for many years. Time is critical as a new line is needed to reduce crowding on the TTCs’ Line 1 subway. Using the existing corridor and putting the subway next to the GO tracks helps to deliver this new line sooner. Tunneling through this area would delay completion between 15 and 24 months – also adding to the length of time the neighbourhood would be disrupted by construction.

The Ontario Line is more than twice as long at the old Relief Line South proposal and it is forecasted to be completed in a similar timeframe. While the latter had been discussed for years, it was still in the planning phase and the project budget and schedule had not been finalized, leaving it far from shovel ready.

Couldn’t the Ontario Line go underground after East Harbour, before reaching Riverside and Leslieville?

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 to ensure Ontario Line trains remain above ground as planned at East Harbour. Creating a quick and easy interchange here is critical in tackling congestion at Union Station, where crowding could go down by as much as 14 per cent – or 14,000 fewer people – during the busiest hour. Moving the portal would also result in:

  • Extended journey times: If the Ontario Line were tunneled in this area, stations would need to be nearly 40 metres deep to go under the Don River, maintaining a similar depth up until Gerrard where large sewer mains would need to be avoided. That would be as deep as a nine-storey building is tall, requiring three separate escalators to get to the trains and adding 4.5 minutes to customers’ journeys. This would ultimately discourage people from transferring to and from GO trains at East Harbour and result in less crowding relief at Union Station.
  • Longer – and more – construction: Building a portal in this area would prolong construction and cause significant and lengthy community disruption from soil excavation, utility relocation, concrete pouring and many other construction activities. For example, one dump truck going in and out every 20 minutes, 24 hours a day for an entire year plus daily deliveries of building materials like concrete and reinforcing steel would go on for years.
  • Additional property impacts: Moving the portal would 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.
  • Permanent street closures, loss of Queen Street station: Trains need to safely move from above ground to below. The maximum track grade, or steepness, of a track that is diving underground is 4.5 per cent. 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 in Riverside.

    To avoid that 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 in 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.

Is it safe to run the Ontario Line within the joint rail corridor through Riverside and Leslieville?

Wherever Ontario Line trains will run on a joint rail corridor – as they will through Riverside and Leslieville – they will do so on their own dedicated tracks that will be completely separate from other rail operations. We will use a dedicated, Ontario Line-only signalling system that will use the latest signalling and monitoring technology. This system will ensure trains are in constant communication with one another, so their precise location is known at all times, meaning vehicles always stay a safe distance from one another. With sensors that can detect objects on the tracks, trains will also automatically stop if there is something blocking the way.

Train doors will also automatically open and close in sync with platform edge doors that will be installed at all stations, keeping both passengers and objects safely separated from moving vehicles.

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.

How and why were the preferred alignment and station locations chosen?

Communities are at the centre of our decision-making. Any decisions we make on alignment and station location are in the interest of improving the customer experience, increasing access to transit, maximizing ridership, achieving travel time savings, and creating better access to jobs. These criteria are balanced by cost and other important community considerations.

We will continue to keep your community at the heart of our planning process and we advance this important project.

Is there going to be a bus terminal built at the Exhibition Stations for GO and TTC to get riders to the line?

We’re working closely with the TTC on how to best meet future transit needs and make sure customers have easy access to both the Ontario Line and TTC services at Exhibition Station.

Exhibition Station will be an important transit hub for customers using the Ontario Line as well as GO Transit and TTC services. GO and Ontario Line customers will use a shared concourse, making for seamless and quick transfers between the two services.

Will the above-ground section prevent bike lanes from being put on Don Mills Road/Overlea Boulevard bridge to connect the isolated bike paths we have now?

Current plans have the guideway off the roadway on both Overlea and Don Mills, but plans for the public area under the guideway could include a multi-use path. We will work with the City of Toronto and seek public input on how to best use this space to serve the community, and we’ll share updates on these opportunities throughout the course of the project.

Current Ontario Line plans avoid crossing the Overlea Bridge to minimize impacts to Valley Park Middle School and the community cricket pitch.

What are the options for extending the Ontario Line further west or north of Exhibition station?

Our plans protect for the possibility of expanding the line in the future to improve transit access and meet demand.

The transit hub and transfer point at Exhibition Station will bring much-needed transit to the dense residential and commercial area around Liberty Village and make getting into and around the city much easier than it is today.

By connecting to Lakeshore West GO train services at Exhibition, this station will also help people connect to more places and spread demand across the broader transit network.

How many cars will the trainsets for the OL use? 4 or 5 car trains? Can you achieve 90 second headways?

It is a very achievable operating condition, but we note that we will not be running Ontario Line trains at 90-second headways from day one. The ridership will dictate the number and frequency of trains, but we do want to ensure frequent service and a good experience for passengers. The trains can be expanded from three, to four, to five cars. There is the ability for the RSSOM contract to tailor the service plan to be able to deliver the amount of service that's required and respond to ridership needs.

We are excited to be using new technology and fully automated trains that do not require an operator on board for the Ontario Line. This is one of the safest ways to operate trains because it decreases the possibility of human error. The trains will still be operated from a control centre, and the programming ensures the trains stop and starting points are very accurate, making for a safe journey. This technology is not new and has been used in many other systems including in Vancouver, London, Shanghai, and Singapore.

Why does the Ontario Line end at Exhibition Place rather than at Ontario Place?

The Ontario Line's western terminus at Exhibition Station will connect with Ontario Place in the future. Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario are looking at a number of potential solutions to better connect customers to Ontario Place from Exhibition Station. Some of those options include shuttle services, people movers, cable cars and gondolas. Currently, access to Ontario Place is via walking, cycling, and TTC surface connections. We will be looking at other innovative last-mile solutions separate from the delivery of the Ontario Line project and will be shared once more clear.

Why does the line not go along Front Street? The highest density in the downtown area is along Front Street. / Why was construction along King Street not evaluated? There would be less of a detour and put the line closer to the downtown core.

During the planning process, we studied station locations with a focus on bringing several benefits to our customers, including: increasing access to transit, maximizing ridership, achieving travel time savings, reducing overcrowding on existing transit services and creating better access to jobs.

The Queen Street corridor through the downtown core was selected to allow for better distribution of rapid transit between Union and Bloor, giving people more options in more areas of the city. This plan will also better serve the Moss Park neighbourhood and a future increase in residents, employees, students and tourists around the Queen Street area.

Is there going to be a bus terminal built at the Exhibition Stations for GO and TTC to get riders to the line?

Exhibition Station will be an important transit hub for customers using the Ontario Line as well as GO Transit and TTC services. GO and Ontario Line customers will use a shared concourse, making for seamless and quick transfers between the two services. We're working closely with the TTC on how to best meet future transit needs and make sure customers have easy access to both the Ontario Line and TTC services at Exhibition Station with accessible TTC stops.

The walking distance between the GO platform, the Streetcars, and the buses in the Exhibition area problematic. Will this be improved with Ontario Line?

Ontario Line trains and GO trains will run on parallel lines through the shared GO corridor. The Ontario Line station building will be integrated to the existing Exhibition GO Station building. This new transit hub will create a convenient transfer point for customers, offering seamless and direct connections between GO and Ontario Line subway service as well as offering transfers to TTC streetcars. We will be sure to share details of the exact station design and location as we move through procurement and receive innovative design proposals from successful bidders. We will be looking at a number of options to ensure both systems function and serve customers well.

Will the line's stations be built with attractive architecture and will Metrolinx work to make them conform to the city's planning policies?

Stations will be designed with the community in mind and using a set of guidelines that make sure stations are attractive and fit into the areas they will serve. We look forward to working with community and the City of Toronto on how to design Ontario Line stations that the community will be proud of.

Is a Transit Oriented Community planned for the area around Leslieville station at Queen and De Grassi?

There are no Transit Oriented Community plans for the future Ontario Line station at Queen Street East, near De Grassi.

What is the projected future ridership demand for Ontario Line stations?

By 2041, we anticipate that the Ontario Line will serve over 55,000 travellers during the peak morning hour. You can find a detailed breakdown of the projected number of riders getting on or off at each Ontario Line station during the peak morning hour in this chart.

The Neighbourhood Updates section on our website also includes additional 2041 projections for each station under their associated segment, including peak-hour ridership and more.

April 2021 Update on the First Parliament Site

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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.

  4. Will the archaeological review of the site be made public?

    Archaeology work will be done to identify cultural remains or heritage elements that can be conserved, protected, and commemorated, as appropriate. All artifacts and features will be cataloged and documented by qualified licensed archaeologists.

    Archaeological teams will draw from their professional knowledge and experience to determine the best way forward for any archaeological materials uncovered, while following all relevant legislation, standards, and guidelines. Monitors from Indigenous Nations will be invited to participate in all archaeological work to ensure any Indigenous archaeological resources present are treated in a culturally sensitive manner.

    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, building on the robust Heritage and Interpretation Strategy for this site, which was developed by the City and community.

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.

Why are you choosing to build a maintenance and storage facility on a site where there are many existing jobs?

The maintenance and storage facility is a vital organ of any public transit operation. An estimated 200 train cars will be needed to meet Toronto’s needs when the Ontario Line opens, and the fleet will grow by as many as 50 more vehicles to meet demand for service in the future. We need a site of 175,000 square metres to house and maintain the trains and this amount of vacant land just isn’t available in the city. The site in the southeast portion of the Leaside Business Park was selected because our studies showed that it kept permanent job impacts to a minimum while meeting all of the technical needs for the project:

  • it is already zoned for industrial use;
  • it is close to the main line, making it quick and easy for trains to go in and out of service;
  • it is large enough to meet future needs.

At the same time, we were confident that we could help relocate impacted businesses, community organizations and jobs within the community or nearby, and that’s something we’re still confident about. We have begun working one-on-one with the leadership of small businesses and organizations who will be impacted to make sure they continue to thrive – their continued success is very important to us.

Which sites did you consider for the maintenance and storage facility?

Metrolinx looked at land near the western terminus at Exhibition all the way to the east and to the northern end of the alignment. A list of nine sites were brought forward for more detailed analysis, some of which were ruled out because they weren’t big enough or they affected too many businesses and jobs.

What supports does Metrolinx offer to businesses displaced by transit expansion plans?

When businesses and community organizations are displaced by the construction of a transit project, Metrolinx is firmly committed to working with owners and tenants to see how they may be able to relocate and continue operating. If operations are impacted, Metrolinx provides compensation and supports.

We understand that moving can be a challenge at the best of times, and may be particularly difficult given the pandemic. That’s why we’re doing everything we can to make sure this process goes as smoothly as possible for everyone.

When businesses and community organizations need support transitioning, our dedicated team of professionals work one-on-one with them to come up with solutions. Everyone’s needs are different, so each case is considered independently and we challenge ourselves to come up with creative solutions that are tailored to each one.

The terms of commercial leases are also always taken into consideration.

When will construction on the maintenance and storage facility start?

The facility is part of the Rolling Stock, Systems, Operations and Maintenance package of works, currently in the Request for Proposal stage of procurement. Construction of this package of work is scheduled to start in late 2022.

When will we have a better idea of the impacts and mitigation measures in this area?

We are currently doing detailed studies on potential impacts and mitigations. Findings will be detailed in a comprehensive Environmental Impact Assessment Report that we expect to release for review and comment in 2022.

Construction won’t start in the area until the release of the Environmental Impact Assessment Report, but you may notice drill rig trucks or surveyors in the area completing studies for the report.

We will make every effort to avoid or reduce impacts during every stage of the project by introducing proven mitigation measures that protect the quality of life for residents and businesses.

There is a nearby big-box retailer that is not a local business. Why can’t the MSF be located there?

The MSF needs to be as close as possible to the existing rail tracks in the area, and it needs to be made up of longer, narrower pieces of land so multiple trains can be stored on one track. Other parcels of land near the Ontario Line route don’t allow for this setup.

What will happen to the mosque and other beloved community organizations and businesses that will be impacted?

We know how important the community organizations and businesses are to the community, which is why our highest priority is helping each affected business and community organization relocate elsewhere within the community or nearby.

The Islamic Society of Toronto has told us that their current mosque at 4 Thorncliffe Park Drive will move to their new property at 20 Overlea Boulevard, which will not be impacted by the maintenance and storage facility. We will continue working directly with them to support that move.

We appreciate the important role many of these businesses play in providing essential services to the community and we want to understand how we can ensure there are no disruptions as we help them relocate. We’re committed to finding solutions that work for these institutions and others in the area so that they can continue to serve their customers and communities without disruption.

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