Ontario, Toronto revise agreement for SmartTrack Stations Program

Aug. 18, 2021
The revised agreement between Ontario and Toronto sets a foundation toward the delivery of five additional stations on existing GO rail corridors.

The Greater Toronto Area is one step closer to growing by five GO rail stations following the signing of a revised “Ontario-Toronto Agreement in Principle” by the government of Ontario and city of Toronto.

The agreement endorses the SmartTrack Stations Program where funding from the province and city will utilize Metrolinx’s GO rail infrastructure in Toronto to remake the regional commuter service into an urban rapid transit network.

The five stations are expected to open in 2026 and the revised agreement clears Metrolinx to proceed with procurement to construct four of the stations located at St. Clair-Old Weston, Finch-Kennedy, King-Liberty and Bloor-Lansdowne. The fifth station, East Harbour, will be delivered through Ontario’s Transit-Oriented Communities Program.

Metrolinx says each of the four stations it is starting procurement on will be managed as an individual procurement and contract, and requests for proposals are expected to be released this August and awarded in the fall of 2021.

Ontario Associate Minister of Transportation Stan Cho explains transit maps have not always kept pace with growth of the Greater Toronto Area, but the revised agreement is looking to break that pattern.

“When these five stations open, it will be good news for everyone. Workers will spend less time communing; parents will be home quicker to their families; and Jays fans will make it to the Rogers Centre easier,” said Associate Minister Cho.

Metrolinx notes the five SmartTrack stations will join other new GO stations in Toronto, four new subway lines (Scarborough, Ontario Line, Yonge North and the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension) and two new light-rail transit lines (Finch West and the Eglinton Crosstown), to completely rewrite Toronto’s transit map, transforming how Torontonians move through the city.

“As travel patterns change, we know how important it is for Torontonians to be able to use transit to get around their city. In collaboration with the province of Ontario and the city of Toronto, we are pleased to enable the use of GO Transit’s rail infrastructure to build stations that will further enhance this city’s transit network,” said Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster.

Toronto Mayor John Tory recognizes that this level of investment and significant enhancement to the area’s transit network would not be possible without cooperation between the municipality and province.

“We know that we cannot deliver vital transit projects on our own. By working with the other levels of government we can ensure that we are moving quickly to expand our transit system, relieve congestion, increase transit accessibility and create new economic and employment opportunities for residents,” said Mayor Tory.

The city of Toronto estimates the service improvements from the SmartTrack Stations Program will provide walkable access to rail service for 83,000 residents and 91,000 jobs. The five new stations are projected to bring approximately 110,000 new daily riders by 2031 to the rail network and reduce congestion on the roads and emissions throughout the region.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Group Editorial Director

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine and group editorial director of the Infrastructure and Aviation Group at Endeavor Business Media. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the editorial direction of the group and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.