Current status

Environmental assessment: approved, October 18, 2006.

Project summary

The purpose of the undertaking is to extend the Spadina Subway from the existing Downsview Station to Steeles Avenue.


Toronto Transit Commission and the City of Toronto


Downsview Station to Steeles Avenue, City of Toronto



Reference number



Environmental Assessment and Permissions Branch

Project history

Environmental assessment: approved
Date submitted: February 16, 2006
Expiry of public comment period: April 6, 2006
Expiry of public comment period for Ministry Review: June 16, 2006
Decision date: October 18, 2006

Terms of reference: approved
Date submitted: June 18, 2004
Expiry of public comment period: July 22, 2004
Decision date: September 13, 2004

Environmental assessment

Proposed undertaking

The Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) is seeking approval to extend the Spadina Subway from the existing Downsview Station to Steeles Avenue, with new stations located at: Sheppard Avenue West/Canadian National Railway Newmarket Subdivision, the Keele Street/Finch Avenue West intersection, York University and Steeles Avenue West (between Jane Street and Keele Street).

The Spadina Subway Extension includes the construction, operation and maintenance of TTC's subway from Downsview Station to Steeles Avenue, with stations located at:

  • Sheppard Avenue West/Downsview Park, west of the CN Newmarket Subdivision (Sheppard West Station)
  • the intersection of Keele Street/Finch Avenue West (Finch West Station)
  • the York University Common (York University Station)
  • the proposed inter-regional transit terminal at Steeles Avenue West between Keele Street and Jane Street (Steeles West Station)
  • in addition, the following surface commuter facilities will be provided:
    • Finch West Station—an 8–10 bay bus terminal(s) as well as a passenger pick-up and drop-off and a 400-space commuter parking lot in the Richview/Cherrywood (Finch) hydro corridor
    • Steeles West Station—a 35–40 bay bus terminal(s) with a passenger pick-up and drop-off and a 2,400 to 3,000-space commuter parking lot in the Claireville/Cherrywood (Steeles) hydro corridor

A Notice of Completion of the ministry’s review was published on May 12, 2006. A five-week public comment period on the Review ended on june 16, 2006, during which time any person could make comments about the proposed undertaking, the EA, and the ministry’s review. All those who commented on the EA or the ministry’s review would have received notice of the Minister’s decision. The Minister has approved the undertaking with conditions, with the concurrence of Cabinet. The TTC and the City of Toronto may now proceed with the undertaking, subject to the conditions imposed by the Minister and any other permits and approvals that may be required.

Terms of reference

1994 approved undertaking

The Yonge-Spadina Subway Loop Project was identified as part of a comprehensive plan (known as Let’s Move) for eight rapid transit projects, which was initiated in the early 1990s.

In 1993, TTC and the former Metropolitan Toronto completed an Environmental Assessment Report for the Yonge-Spadina Loop Project. The EA established the need and justification for transportation improvements in northwest Toronto. The study determined that extending and connecting the north ends of the Yonge and Spadina Subway lines across Steeles Avenue was the preferred alternative. This recommendation was based on an analysis of several alternatives to the Undertaking, including “doing nothing”, roadway improvements, alternative technologies and modifications to the existing subway system. The Project became known as the Yonge-Spadina Loop.

In 1994, upon review of the TTC/Metro Toronto Environmental Assessment Report, the Minister of the Environment and Energy authorized the Notice to Proceed with the Undertaking for the extension of Spadina Subway from Downsview Station to York University only. At that time, it was anticipated that completion of the entire “Loop” from Downsview Station to Finch Station (via Steeles) would be many years into the future.

Design and construction of the approved extension of the Spadina Subway to York University (i.e. the approved undertaking) did not proceed due to lack of funding.

Need for new EA

Although the 1994 approval of undertaking remains, its amending formula does not accommodate:

  • the consideration of alternate subway alignments and station locations
  • a station at Steeles Avenue
  • the foregoing, in the context that the Subway would ultimately extend radially into York Region instead of a loop to Yonge Street

During the twelve years since the original EA study was conducted, several important policy changes, planning initiatives, transit improvement projects, land development decisions and property acquisition activities have occurred. These changes in the land use and transportation planning context have raised questions about the alignment and station locations recommended in the original EA. The key problems and opportunities that have prompted the TTC and City of Toronto to proceed with the proposed Undertaking are as follows:

  • The recent TTC Rapid Transit Expansion Study shows that a future subway “Loop” along Steeles Avenue is no longer needed and that a “radial” extension via York University to a terminal station at Steeles Avenue is preferred.
  • The City of Toronto and York Region Official Plans support “Higher Order Transit Corridors” services to York University and the new Vaughan Corporate Centre (Highway 7 and Jane Street). The Plans call for improved surface transit speed, reliability and capacity in the short-term and subway expansion in the long-term.
  • Special planning studies, secondary plans and Official Plan Amendments support transit-oriented land development (at Allen/Sheppard, along Keele Street and within the Downsview and York University areas) and protect for a future Subway.
  • The Downsview lands (south of Sheppard Avenue West and east of Keele Street) have changed from a Canadian Forces Base to Downsview Park (parkland and future technology park and housing). This means that there will be more people on the site who will need better public transit access.
  • York University’s new buildings protect for an alternate future subway alignment, which is more central within the campus than the original alignment approved in 1994.
  • York Region has acquired property for an inter-regional transit terminal at Steeles Avenue, just east of Jane.

Therefore, there is a need to develop and analyse alternative alignment and station locations (i.e. alternative methods of carrying out the Undertaking) for the Subway extension. Also, a terminal station (with surface commuter facilities) at Steeles Avenue, was not a part of the 1994 approved undertaking.