Search Transit Toronto

Powered by GOOGLE.

The Hurontario LRT

Text by Ameer Shash

The Hurontario LRT is a light rail line being built by Metrolinx in Mississauga. Starting from Port Credit GO station on the Lakeshore West GO line, LRT vehicles will operate north on Hurontario Avenue to the Brampton Gateway transit terminal at the Shoppers World Plaza on the northwest corner of Steeles and Main Street at the southern edge of Brampton. Initial plans called for the line to continue north on Main Street to Brampton GO Station, but were vetoed by Brampton City Council. Construction on the project began in 2020 and the line is expected to enter service in the fall of 2024.

Mississauga's Main Street?

Hurontario Road began in 1818 as surveyors in what was then Toronto Township linked the southern part of the Toronto-Sydenham Road to the 8th Conession line leading south from a harbour on Georgian Bay that eventually became Collingwood. The road was known by many names, including Centre Road, Lavander Hill Road and Main Street, and was officially designated as Highway 10 by the provincial government. Increasingly, however, Hurontario -- a portmanteau of the two Great Lakes on either end -- became used as the official name.

Initially, most of the development around Hurontario was rural, with villages and hamlets appearing at various crossroads, including Derry West at what is now Derry Road, and Port Credit by the lake. As suburban sprawl spilled out from Metropolitan Toronto in the 1960s, the road became more urban, though the newly created City of Mississauga in the 1970s decided against centering its new downtown around the corridor, preferring instead to build a car-oriented centre to one side, around the Square One mall. As Mississauga's (and, increasingly, Brampton's) population grew, however, so did traffic along the Hurontario arterial. Public transit use increased, such that Mississauga and Brampton Transit found themselves increasing service on local and express routes using the street, carrying more than 25,000 passengers per day. As Mississauga sought to step away from its car-oriented development into a more urbanized centre, the roadway, connecting higher-density nodes such as Port Credit and Downtown Brampton, became the obvious choice for higher-order transit such as an LRT.

LRT Plans Take Root

The Hurontario-Main LRT between Port Credit and Brampton GO stations was part of the over fifty projects announced in July 2007 as priorities in the Ontario Government's MoveOntario 2020 plan. Metrolinx, created by the provincial government soon after to oversee this plan, set about studying the project and moving it forward. In 2010, Metrolinx placed an order for 150 Flexity Freedom LRT vehicles to cover a number of LRT lines being planned, such as the Sheppard East, Eglinton-Crosstown and Finch West lines as well as Hurontario. This plan was changed on December 1, 2017 when Metrolinx, frustrated by ongoing delays by Bombardier to deliver its Freedom vehicles, contracted rival Alstom to produce 44 Citadis Spirit vehicles instead (another 17 were bought for Toronto's Finch West LRT).

By 2015, plans for the line were sufficiently advanced to require approval from the municipalities and for the province to announce its financial support. The City of Mississauga agreed to proceed with construction. However, on October 28, 2015, Brampton City Council voted 7-4 against the LRT's operation along Main Street through its heritage downtown area. The Government of Ontario indicated that it will continue on with the project, but would terminate the LRT at Steeles Avenue (the Brampton Gateway Terminal) instead. On November 3, 2015, Transportation Minister Steven Del Duca announced that funding from the now-cancelled Main Street section of the LRT would be used for other transit projects in the Greater Toronto Area. Meanwhile, councillors and residents in Brampton debated whether the LRT could be extended north along a different route.

By this point, the cost of the Hurontario LRT project was estimated at $1.4 Billion. On March 21, 2019, citing financial constraints, Metrolinx announced the elimination of a 2.4 kilometre long branch-loop breaking off from the line at Mississauga's City Centre and circling the Square One Mall via Burnhamthorpe, Duke of York and Rathburn, connecting with MiWay's and GO Transit's terminal there. Instead, a short single-track spur would be built at Rathburn to ensure a direct transfer between the LRT and the bus terminal. The mayor of Mississauga, Bonnie Crombie, stated that the loop could be built as part of the later stages of the project.

Metrolinx put out the Hurontario LRT project as a public-private partnership, calling for proposals from private companies to design, finance, build and operate the line. The bidding competition was won by Mobilinx, who gained a contract valued at $5.6 billion, with $4.6 billion going to cover the costs of design, build and finance the LRT line, and another $1 billion to commit to operating and maintaining the Line for the next three decades. The provincial government agreed to cover all of the construction costs, not including municipal utility relocations, surface upgrades, and landscaping, while Mississauga agreed to cover operating and maintenance expenses.

Rolling Stock

The Hurontario LRT line will be operated under Transdev, one of a number of agencies under the consortium of Mobilinx, and will feature the Alstom Citadis Spirit as its rolling stock. The vehicles were built at Alstom's assembly and testing plant in Brampton Ontario, with the first vehicle coming off the production line in September 2020. The trains can handle 120 seated passengers and 216 standees. The vehicles will be able to reach a peak of 105 kilometres per hour but will operate at speeds of approximately 60 kilometres per hour.

Exterior mockup designs of the Alstom Citadis cars were displayed in 2019 for public viewing. The mockups featured a three-tone colour scheme on its exteriors of white, grey and black. The interior of the trains came with standard yellow handrails, and factory-default patterned seat cushions. Metrolinx officials noted that seat cushion designs and other minor fixtures would be rearranged or retrofitted to conform to fleet design standards of Metrolinx, as well as taking in public concerns and comments.

The Stations

Nineteen stations were commissioned as part of the final approved plans for the Hurontario LRT. In January 2018, Metrolinx launched a consultation process to ensure that the station names were unique and memorable, as well as descriptive in such a way that there would be no conflict with other rapid transit stations built or being built in the Greater Toronto Area. From north to south, the stations of the Hurontario line are as follows:

Location Platform Connections
Steeles Avenue Centre, north side Brampton Gateway Terminal and Zum line
County Court Centre, north side Brampton Transit routes 2, 33 and 502 Zum Main.
Ray Lawson Centre, north side Brampton Transit routes 54, 200, 206
Derry Road Centre, north side MiWay buses 42, 104
Courtneypark Drive Centre, south side MiWay bus 57
Britannia Road Centre, south side MiWay buses 39, 70
Matheson Boulevard Centre, north side MiWay buses 25, 43
Bristol Road Centre, north side MiWay buses 10
Eglinton Avenue Centre, north side MiWay bus 35
City Centre East side (single-track spur) Square One Bus Terminal and Mississauga Transitway
Robert Speck Parkway Centre, north side MiWay buses 10, 76
Burnhamthorpe Road Centre, south side MiWay bus 26
Fairview Road Centre, north side MiWay buses 53, 304
Cooksville GO Station Centre (off-road) Milton GO Trains and Buses, MiWay buses
Dundas Street Centre, south side Future Dundas Street BRT, MiWay buses 1, 101
The Queensway Centre, south side Trillium Health Centre bus terminal
North Service Road Centre, north side
Mineola Road Centre, south side MiWay buses 8, 335
Port Credit GO Station Centre (underground) Lakeshore West GO Trains and MiWay buses

Maintenance Matters

The designated facility for the Hurontario LRT rolling stock is Metrolinx's Operations Maintenance Storage Facility, just south of Highway 407. It's a 10,000 square-metre building able to store at least 42 Citadis LRT vehicles located in Brampton. The facility features a repair shop, material storage section, cleaning section. Excavation of stormwater management systems and electrical fibre optics installations will be completed in early 2021.

A Transformative Project

The City of Mississauga was famously built as a city where the private automobile was king. Longtime mayor Hazel McCallion later admitted that this was a mistake, saying to Rick Mercer on the Rick Mercer Report in 2009 that, "transportation was not a basis of our development ... we are now struggling to provide a major transit system." The LRT, along with projects like the Mississauga Transitway and the future Dundas Street BRT are an attempt to manage Mississauga's substantial population in a way that is more pedestrian friendly and environmentally sustainable, and this means that the LRT is designed to change Hurontario Road from a low-density suburban arterial to a higher-density urban environment. Such a task is surely a challenge, but once LRT vehicles get rolling in 2024, Mississauga will have more tools to achieve it.

Support us on Patreon Button

Welcome to Transit Toronto! This is an information site dedicated to public transportation in Toronto, maintained by transit enthusiasts for transit enthuasiasts. This is NOT the official website of the Toronto Transit Commission, Metrolinx or any other transit provider or government agency. To access the official websites of these agencies, consult this page here.