Ontario LineA new 15.6-km subway line in Toronto that will run from Exhibition Place, through downtown, all the way to the Ontario Science Centre.
We know you have questions about the Ontario Line, and we have answers. Below, you will find answers to the most asked-about topics for this important project.
If you have a question that isn't answered below, please reach out to us at OntarioLine@metrolinx.com so that a member of our team can help you.
Budget and timeline
The capital (construction) costs of the Ontario Line were estimated at $10.9 billion in the 2019 provincial budget. This project was announced as part of a $28.5-billion subway expansion program, which also includes the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension, the Scarborough Subway Extension, and the Yonge North Subway Extension.
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 every dollar spent in the region could result in a benefit of $1.05.
The projects are being procured and delivered by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx. As each major contract is awarded, the cost will be announced and posted publicly.
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.
Environment and community impacts
We will work with closely with our contractors to minimize any disruptions to communities during construction and operations.
During construction, we’ll continuously monitor noise levels and use tools like equipment silencers and temporary noise barriers to keep things as quiet as possible. We will ensure noisy activities occur during daytime whenever possible and plan vehicle access routes that will minimize on-site movement and avoid travel on residential streets. Communities will be notified well in advance of any upcoming construction work.
Once in operation, Ontario Line trains will be electric, meaning not only will they be clean and fast, but quiet too. We’ll also use noise walls and other sound-reducing tools in certain areas to keep future operations quiet and unobtrusive and to ensure the Ontario Line doesn’t result in noise and vibration levels that are significantly different than they are today. In fact, noise levels in some areas of the route will be quieter than they are today, including the joint corridor through Leslieville and Riverside where both GO and Ontario Line trains will run.
The Ontario Line is expected to feature modern, automated, electric trains like the ones used in Vancouver, London, Paris and Singapore. This technology will allow for a higher frequency of service (up to 40 trains per hour) with as little as 90 seconds in between trains.
Route and stations
Decisions around the route and the elevation of the Ontario Line have been made with the whole network in mind, but they’re also tailored to the specific communities the line will serve. That’s why it will run in tunnels, along existing railways, and on elevated structures where it makes sense to do so.
When determining the Ontario Line’s route and elevation, planners balanced considerations like:
- how many people could be served;
- how much travel time could be saved;
- how many connections could be made to other major rapid transit lines;
- how quickly and effectively the line could be built;
- how effectively any local impacts could be managed; and
- how to ensure the best possible use of taxpayer dollars.
In the newer, northern part of the city where there are wider roadways and streets, the Ontario Line will run on modern, elevated structures because there’s room for them, and construction will be faster and less impactful. In places where there are existing rail corridors, like Leslieville, Riverside and near Exhibition place, the line will fit into an existing rail corridor, giving surrounding communities the benefits of faster and less impactful construction by building mostly in land we already own and avoiding complex and time-consuming tunnelling. These above-ground sections have the added benefit of providing faster and easier connections to and from surface transit, because the stations aren’t deep underground.
In other dense parts of the city with narrow roadways and no available rail corridors, tunnelling is the only choice.
For the sections that run on or above the surface, we know we can significantly cut down on property impacts, introduce effective, well tested noise and vibration solutions, create new and welcoming public spaces, and build best-in-class infrastructure that is safe, attractive and designed with communities in mind.
Maintenance and storage facility
The maintenance and storage facility is a critical part of any public transit operation. It’s where trains are housed and maintained to keep them clean and safe for our customers each and every day.
To support the 388,000 daily trips the Ontario Line is expected to accommodate by 2041, a large site will be needed to store and service the trains.
After an extensive study of nine different sites across the route, the site in Thorncliffe Park was selected because our studies showed that it best met all of the technical needs for the project while clearly demonstrating the least impact to local jobs and businesses.
At the same time, we determined that we could help impacted businesses and community organizations relocate within the community or nearby if they chose to do so. This was the most critical requirement as we looked for a site in such a built-up urban environment that could accommodate a facility like this.
We're now working one-on-one with property owners and tenants in the area to make sure they continue to thrive and deliver the services their customers and clients rely on each day.
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Metrolinx acknowledges that it operates on the traditional territory of Indigenous Peoples including the Anishnabeg, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. In particular these lands are covered by 20 Treaties, and we have a responsibility to recognize and value the rights of Indigenous Nations and Peoples and conduct business in a manner that is built on the foundation of trust, respect and collaboration. Metrolinx is committed to building meaningful relationships with Indigenous Peoples, and to working towards meaningful reconciliation with the original caretakers of this land.