They may not feel the earth moving under their feet, but York University staff and students are standing on top of a major excavation. The Toronto Transit Commission is digging an 8.6-km extension of its Spadina subway line that runs directly under York University’s main campus in the north end of Toronto.
Two large tunnel-boring machines are making their way south from one end of the $2.6 billion project, while two others are tunnelling their way north. The two north-bound machines, dubbed Yorkie and Torkie, recently reached the spot under the site of York’s future subway station.
The subway will mean huge changes for York, says Joanne Rider, director of media relations at the university. “It will vastly improve how thousands of students, faculty and staff commute to and from campus each day by making it more accessible and convenient. Better public transit will also integrate York more fully into its surrounding communities and the city as a whole.”
The new subway extension is expected to open in late 2015 and will replace 1,700 buses that travel to the campus each day. The TTC expects that once the subway opens, 27,000 riders will use it to and from York daily, a number that is predicted to grow to 40,000 by 2031.
York’s campus is also making way for the accompanying subway station, located in the university commons. Architects Foster + Partners unveiled a modern design that shows a distinctive boomerang shape. The firm designed London’s Canary Wharf station and The Bow building under construction in Calgary. The York station will feature public art by interactive artist Jason Bruges.