Work on upgrades that began at GO Transit's Exhibition Station on March 27 also marked the start of construction for one of the provincial government’s four priority transit projects, the Ontario Line.
Exhibition Station, currently on the Lakeshore West GO Line and in the west segment of the future 15.6-km (9.7-mile) Ontario Line, is expected to be one of the Ontario Line’s most popular stations with connections to GO trains and Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) services. The work to upgrade the station includes a new station entrance and exit from Atlantic Avenue, shifting the existing GO rail track and creating a new train platform. A temporary pedestrian bridge will also be constructed over the existing GO tracks to provide customers with additional safe access to trains between Liberty Village and Exhibition Place. The station will be completely enclosed and have accessible paths between the lines and platforms to ease transfers.
“The exciting work starting now is all about upgrading the existing Exhibition Station to keep people moving during major construction,” said Malcom MacKay, Metrolinx sponsor for the project. “Providing continued access to GO train services through new features like a temporary pedestrian bridge, new platforms and new station entrances is critical for us.”
The work starting at Exhibition Station is considered early works and major construction is expected to begin in 2023 on the new station, tracks and platforms for the Ontario Line and GO train services.
In addition to starting work on the future line, the government of Ontario released initial renderings of 14 of the lines' 15 total stations. While the design for the stations will be finalized later, the renderings show early planning concepts.
“We’ve been working hard on developing these early renderings because we know communities are excited to learn more about our plans, and we know a picture is worth a thousand words,” said MacKay. “These designs are early concepts – a starting point – that the future project partners will work from while following our design principles. They’ll help guide our conversations with communities about what’s possible from a design perspective as we advance plans.”
At a March 27 event kicking of construction at Exhibition Station and marking the start of construction of the Ontario Line, Ontario Premier Doug Ford called the line a game changer and noted its part in the provincial government’s efforts to move the municipal and regional economy forward.
The Ontario Line is the third of the province’s four priority transit projects to see construction start, following the Scarborough Subway Extension in June 2021 and tunneling for the Eglinton Crosstown West. Once complete, it will provide connections to 40 other transit routes including Lakeshore East, Lakeshore West and Stouffville GO train services, TTC’s Line 1 and Line 2 subways, the future TTC Line 5 – known during construction as the Eglinton Crosstown LRT – and streetcar lines at 10 Ontario Lines stations.
“These kinds of connections are going to help us speed up travel times and reduce congestion at key pinch points like Union Station. Breaking ground on these improvements puts us an important step closer to giving the people of Toronto the transit relief they need,” said Metrolinx President and CEO Phil Verster.
The capital costs of the Ontario Line are estimated at C$10.9 billion (US$8.73 billion). The Ontario Line and the three other priority transit projects will be funded in part with nearly C$17 billion (US$13.6 billion) from the province and more than C$10 billion (US$8 billion) from the government of Canada.