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The Abandoned Bloor-Danforth Streetcar Shuttle Connection Passages

Text by James Bow

As reported in the article entitled A History of Subways on Bloor and Queen Streets, when the Bloor-Danforth subway opened in February 1966, the remains of the Bloor streetcar continued to operate from the new subway’s terminal stations to the old streetcar termini. This way, the TTC could continue to use surplus streetcars to link the subway with several suburban bus routes, rather than extend those bus routes.

The new Bloor and Danforth shuttle streetcars did not use the bus terminals at Keele and Woodbine stations in order to pick up and drop off passengers. In both cases, temporary streetcar loops and platforms were built. At Keele, the streetcar loop was built at the eastern end of the station almost two blocks away from the Keele Street entrance and bus terminal, and passengers entered the station just inside the fare barrier of the Indian Grove / Indian Road / car park automatic entrance. Keele passengers were even treated to a moving ramp running between the temporary platform and what is now the eastbound platform of the subway. Danforth shuttles turned up new tracks laid on Cedarvale Avenue and Strathmore Boulevard to a loading area just east of the Woodbine station bus terminal. Passengers disembarking here walked through a special tunnel that emerged at the mezzanine level of the station, between the stairs leading to the two subway platforms.

Despite the TTC’s going as far as to build special tunnels and even a moving walkway, these amenities were to be short-lived. Even as the first segment of the Bloor-Danforth subway opened, the eastern and western extensions to Islington and Warden stations were already well under construction. On May 11, 1968, these extensions opened, ending service on the Bloor and Danforth streetcar shuttles. The temporary loops and platforms were removed, and the special tunnels were walled off and forgotten.

These photographs, donated anonymously, show that these remnants of the Bloor-Danforth subway’s early history are still in existence, although unknown to most people travelling the line.

Streetcar Shuttle Connection Tunnels Image Archive

We hope you have enjoyed this little tour of the TTC’s forgotten subway-streetcar connection passages. They may not be Lower Bay, but they are illustrations that many things built eventually change.

Thanks to our anonymous donors for giving us this glimpse into a rarely seen part of the Toronto subway.

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