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Lower Bay Station, Crosstown carhouse
open doors during Doors Open, May 25



Several transit- or transportation-related sites are open to the public Saturday, May 25 and Sunday, May 26 during Doors Open Toronto, the one weekend, once a year, when more than 150 buildings of architectural, historic, cultural and social significance open their doors to the public for a city-wide celebration.

The City of Toronto program allows visitors free access to look inside properties that are usually not open to the public.

For transit fans, one of two highlights of the event will be the opportunity to visit the TTC’s Lower Bay Station (or “Bay Lower” as it’s officially known). (Lower Bay is open Saturday only.)

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This map, scanned from a pamphlet the TTC produced just after opening the Keele - Woodbine segment of Line 2 Bloor - Danforth, shows how Lower Bay was important for connecting the TTC’s two subway lines.

Metrolinx is offering another treat for transit buffs. For the first time ever, it’s granting access to the brand new Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (ESMF) beside the Eglinton Crosstown light rail transit line’s Mount Dennis Station. (The EMSF is open Saturday only.)

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A Bombardier Flexity Freedom light rail transit vehicle at Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility during a media event, Wednesday, May 22. Image: Metrolinx

These are the only sites where local transit agencies are participating in the event — but another venue that has played a significant role in Toronto’s public transit and transportation history is also opening its doors.


Toronto Transit Commission


Lower Bay Station

1240 Bay Street

Open: Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4:30 p.m.

Year: 1959 to 1966
Style: Post-modern

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This site is a place that you’ve likely seen before, but not as a TTC passenger. The TTC has closed Lower Bay to the public since 1966 but has been used many times as a major “Hollywood North” prop, dressed to look like United Station subway station. When the TTC officially opened Line 2 Bloor - Danforth in 1966, Lower Bay was in full use. Alternate trains used a “wye” connection, which allowed passenger to travel from Line 1 to Line 2 without changing trains. The TTC tested this system for six months and also tested the two separate subway lines for six months. After testing, the TTC decided that two separate lines worked best and Bay Lower was closed.

Although it has been off limits to the public for years, the TTC is throwing open the doors and inviting visitors to experience this historic landmark as well as the TTC’s photographic history as the public enters Bay station and walks along Bay Lower’s historic platform. Selfie spots and a brief history of the station will round out your tour. Selfie spots and a brief history of the station round out the underground tour. You can photograph the interior without a tripod.

You’ll have to use stairs or an escalator to access the mezzanine of Bay station from the street and from the mezzanine to the in-service platform. You can only access Lower Bay by staircase.


Getting there by public transit:

  • TTC Line 2 Bloor - Danforth subway to Bay Station.
  • TTC 6 Bay buses to the subway station entrance just north of Bloor Street West.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “A History of Subways on Bloor and Queen Streets” by James Bow, here.
  • “Toronto’s Lost Subway Stations” by James Bow, here.
  • “The Truth Behind the Interlining Trial” by James Bow, here.

Metrolinx


Eglinton Maintenance and Storage Facility (EMSF)

85 Industry Street

Open: Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4 p.m.

Year: 2018
Style: Commercial/Industrial
Original architect: IBI Group

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For the first time ever, Metrolinx and its contractor Crosslinx Transit Solutions are inviting you to peek behind the doors of the EMSF. The structure houses the Eglinton Crosstown light rail vehicles (LRVs) and is where crews will inspect, clean and maintain them. Crosslinx started construction on the facility in 2016, and completed it in October 2018. Light rail vehicles began to arrive in January 2019. The facility will initially be home to 76 light rail vehicles, with capacity to store 135 as service levels increase to meet future demand. The main building is built to LEED Silver certification, and includes high energy and water efficiency, green roofs, solar reflective paving, and vehicle charging stations for electric vehicles.

Visit for a tour of the facility, step into a brand new light rail vehicle and check out the evolution of the Crosstown project through an interactive display. UrbanArts has partnered with Crosslinx Transit Solutions to provide interactive programming and entertainment in the main parking lot of the facility. You can also enjoy free children’s activities and live music or buy refreshments.

You can film the interior, but only without a tripod. Watch for uneven ground due to rails.


Getting there by public transit:

  • TTC buses along the 71B Runnymede or 171 Mount Dennis routes to Ray Avenue at Industry Street. Walk southward to the entrance of the facility.

From the Transit Toronto archives, read:

  • “The Eglinton Crosstown LRT” by James Bow here.

Another transportation-related site


Lambton House

4066 Old Dundas Street

Open — Saturday, May 25: from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4:30 p.m. Sunday, May 26: from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Last admittance: 4:30 p.m.

Year: 1860
Style: Victorian

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Originally a stagecoach stop on the old Toronto-to-Dundas Highway (the Weller Stage Coach would pull up to it to deliver the Royal Mail), the hotel also has a public transit association. Streetcars on the former Toronto Suburban Railway Company’s Lambton carline ended their trips near the hotel in Lambton Park. From 1917 until 1935, they could also wait in the hotel for the next interurban radial streetcar to Guelph.

A mid-Victorian two-story red brick hotel with yellow coins and diamond inserts, Lambton House has a two-story wooden veranda with white trillage. The interior has the original hall and stairs, built for Sir William P. Howland, a Father of Confederation and later Lieutenant Governor of Ontario. To the right of the entrance is the entrance to the men’s beverage room with its two fireplaces and to the left is the entry to the smaller parlour room heated with a single fireplace. Most of the doors to the travellers’ rooms on the second floor are original, as is the exposed pine floor in one room. The second floor hall is offset with three front rooms to the east and one to the west of the door opening onto the upper veranda. A door gives access to this feature. This is the last remaining public building from Lambton Mills, and also from the historic milling period on the lower Humber River.

A classic William Tyrrell design, it was originally an L-shaped centre plan, two-storey red brick building with white coins and decorative diamond inserts. The floor of the first level veranda extends on either side of the entrance steps, providing two small and convenient roadside platforms at stirrup height for mounting a horse or bicycle. A course of saw-tooth brick work is a Tyrrell trademark feature easily viewed from the second floor wooden veranda covering the front of the building. The drive shed roof line is visible on the east wall.

2019 celebrates the 20th anniversary of the designation of the Humber River as a National Heritage River. There will be a display embodying a Millennial’s view of the Lower Humber, a portion of Canada’s 26th Heritage River, including its Indigenous history and current stewardship. On the main floor is a new exhibition entitled What’s Up with the Humber River, highlighting how human habitation along the Humber River has greatly impacted its ecology and landscape. Indigenous occupation began 11,000 years ago. The second floor porch, provides a sweeping view of the area, with pictures highlighting various views of the Lambton House, Humber River and surroundings. A history room displaying various artifacts from the history of the building and area includes a rope bed from the 18th century as well as a steamer trunk, washstand and bible.

You can photograph the interior without a tripod.

Main floor is accessible via the rear entrance ramp. All other floors are stair-access only.

Getting there by public transit:

  • East- and westbound buses operating along the 30 Lambton route to Dundas Street West and Humber Hill Avenue walk south to Old Dundas Street and then west two blocks.
  • Northbound buses operating along the 55 Warren Park route to Lundy Avenue at Warren Crescent. Walk one block north along Lundy to Old Dundas, then west.

From the “Old Time Trains” site:

  • A history of radial and streetcar lines in the Junction, including a history of the Toronto Suburban Railway and its Lambton and Guelph lines, by Raymond L. Kennedy, here.