So many wonderful and intriguing conversations over the holidays, catching up with friends and family from in and out of town. At one party, I was surprised to find out that my own sister, who lives in the Blue Mountains, didn’t know about the Ontario Line. Once our Toronto-centric shock wore off, we all started comparing notes on what we in fact knew (or didn’t know) about Toronto’s future ‘relief line’ – this blog is in honour of them!
What is the Ontario Line?
The Ontario Line will be the latest stretch of subway to cross the City of Toronto. The 15.6 km route will run through 15 stations, starting at the Ontario Science Centre in the north-east to Exhibition Place in the west. The goal is to reduce commute times and congestion on Toronto’s already busy transit lines, in particular the Yonge-Line1 and Danforth Line.
The Ontario Line was first proposed in 2019 as an expanded vision for transit relief from the original and much needed Relief Line South (which encompassed a route south from Pape Station ending at Osgood Hall). Construction is already underway, most notably along the Go Lakeshore East Corridor that cuts through Leslieville where Metrolinx will use already owned lands to expand from 3 tracks to 4, and at the new Science Centre Station built for the Crosstown LRT (Line 5).
Love it or Hate it – The Ontario Line is Here to Stay
Controversy has surrounded the Ontario Line for years in Leslieville as residents fought to keep the new subway from running under their homes. Downtown, you have likely already endured the effects of construction along Queen St and Richmond as they make improvements for streetcar re-routing in anticipation of future stations at Moss Park, Queen/Yonge, Osgoode and Queen/Spadina.
As Toronto continues to grow up (and out), and as our roads become more and more congested with cars, it is no surprise that we need to get serious about improving our public transportation system. In my opinion, I’m excited for what this means for previously underserved communities such as East York, Flemingdon Park and Thorncliffe Park which historically have been low-to-mid income, densely populated areas that depend on slow bus services. Accessible, fast and efficient rail-transit means people will more inclined to live in these areas, building even stronger communities.
How will this affect your community?
I’m not going to lie, if you live along the Ontario Line get ready for noise, dust and construction over the next few years. The estimated date of completion is set for 2031, and if this project is anything like the Crosstown LRT, that date will likely be pushed out many times – but in the end it I think it will be worth it.
Some residents who live along the proposed route may opt to sell before things get too loud, opting to upsize or downsize rather than endure construction. Personally, I have speculated with neighbours in Leslieville if this may in fact be the underlying reason behind the surge of listings along Degrassi and in other areas over the last few years. Regardless, as people move on this creates opening for new homeowners who can see the future benefits the Ontario Line will bring.
I find more and more that clients will prioritize proximity to transit (in particular the subway), as driving increasingly becomes more difficult, time consuming and expensive. Neighbourhoods along the Yonge/University and Bloor/Danforth lines often command higher prices not only due to the ease of getting around the city, but also because of the businesses these hubs attract, be it retail, restaurant or entertainment.
With an end-to-end travel time of 30 minutes or less, it’s exciting to think that you could get from Corktown to Exhibition place in a fraction of that time. The commute from Moss Park to Leaside where my office is would be a dream! Not to mention that this will improve access to the Ontario Science Centre for kids across the city.
For more information on the Ontario Line and other Metrolinx projects and how they will affect your home or neighbourhood directly, reach out anytime – coffee is on me!