Sunday 28 November 2010

A Gord's Eye View of Toronto- Lower Bay Subway Station

Yesterday Teena and I had an opportunity to visit a place that not many Torontonians get to see, The Lower Bay Subway station.

The TTC does only 3 or 4 tours a year and it is usually open for Doors Open. Originally we had signed up for the June tour, which was canceled due to the G20 conference which was the same week-end. Then we had to cancel once again for the Labour Day tour as I was fencing in Boston. Finally yesterday we made it.

The station was originally opened on February 25, 1966. "Lower Bay Station was open to the public for six months, when the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in 1966. The operating arrangements had a train starting from Eglinton Station, going ‘around the bend’ at Union, turning left at Museum and going through upper St. George Station before getting onto the Bloor-Danforth line and arriving at Keele. This train would then reverse direction and take the Bloor-Danforth line all the way to Woodbine (via lower St. George and upper Bay) before reversing direction again, taking the wye through Lower Bay Station, returning to the Yonge-University line and heading back to Eglinton. Every second train would reverse this wye arrangement, going to Woodbine first, and then Keele, so that every second train on the Bloor-Danforth subway went either downtown, or crosstown."

Every other train on the Bloor line would take the express loop through lower Bay which caused many passengers to get on the wrong train and find themselves heading downtown instead of across the city. It was also found that any malfunction on the loop would shut down the entire system. Not a good thing. So after 6 months of use, the station was closed down.

It is now used for movie and TV shoots as crews can film there without interruption. It is also used for training new subway operators, and by the police for training for train hijackings, bomb searches and other operations. It is also rented out for parties, and once for a bride and groom to shoot their wedding pictures ... problem was the bride's dress was dragging on the floor and picking up the brake dust so the bottom of the white dress was black and she had not yet even met the guests.

Mary and Sandy were great tour guides, very informed and interesting. This was only the 14th tour ever done of the station and I was glad we were part of it. For Teena's view, click here.

Mary (left) and Sandy open the door to Toronto's hidden subway station.

Sandy takes us out of the platform.
The station has stood in for New York, Chicago and London.