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Sheppard Subway Opening Day (November 22, 2002)

Don Mills Interior

(Above) Balloons in celebration at Don Mills station.

(Below) Cake!


Photos by Andrew Gurudata

See also:

Media Advisory - Official opening of Sheppard Subway

TORONTO, Nov. 20 /CNW/ - The Sheppard Subway, Toronto's first new subway line since 1966, will officially open on Friday, November 22nd, at 10:30 a.m.

Invited to ride the inaugural train from Sheppard-Yonge Station to Don Mills station are Ontario Premier Ernie Eves, Toronto Mayor Mel Lastman, Transport Canada Minister David Collenette and TTC Chair Betty Disero. The train will break through a banner across the track at Don Mills station at 11:00 a.m., officially opening the new line.

The opening ceremony will be followed by a public open house from 12 noon to 2 p.m., at which time the public is invited to ride the Sheppard Subway free of charge, and visit the five new stations, each featuring a unique work of art.

Entertainment will be provided by a Dixieland Band and students from the Claude Watson School for the Performing Arts.

Sheppard-Yonge, Bayview, Bessarion, Leslie and Don Mills stations will serve the 6.4 km route.

Huge Cake

(Above) That's one huge cake!

(Below) Promoting the 24 Billionth rider.


Groundbreaking for the $933.9 million Sheppard Subway began on June 23, 1994. Full regular service begins Sunday, November 24th.

Celebrate the New Sheppard Subway Line!
Friday November 22, Noon to 2pm

Receive a FREE* tote bag! Look for our welcoming crew at the Sheppard Center subway entrance. (* while quantities last)

Enjoy FREE* parking while you ride the new Sheppard subway line between noon and 2pm. (* Simply present your new Sheppard Line TTC transfer when exiting the parking garage)

Promotional Sign

(Above) Sign at the Sheppard Centre promoting the opening event.

David Youngs wrote: "My wife and I managed to get to the Shepherd subway opening, thanks to the notes on Transit Toronto. A few comments:

  • The tote bags ran out quickly. We were there just after noon at Don Mills and got some of the last when we stopped at Leslie. We were asked a few times about the badges we had, and as far as I know, they only came with the tote bags. Most of the tote bag contents were advertising for merchants along the route. TTC should have had a lot more buttons. They were selling souvenir shirts, caps and key-chains.
  • Was surprised at how short the stations look. A 4-car train just fits in Don Mills, but there seems to be a long wall that could be knocked down to let 6 cars load.
  • End of track at Don Mills seems to be a wall just beyond the end of the platform, the way Eglinton was when first built. I thought they were providing a bit more overrun space nowadays.
  • There are 3 platforms at Yonge-Shepherd. The large centre one seems to be just for TTC use; it's bare concrete. I heard that they only plan to use one at a time, primarily the south platform, using the north platform for emergencies. Not sure, but they were only using the north platform at Don Mills.
  • Cars in use were all T series. My wife said she thought that they would have had new cars.
  • I think we need to expand the line by at least 1 station. Just over the Hwy 404 is Yorklands Blvd, which is (or used to be) a large destination for computer and office types. I had a friend who spent most of his day commuting from Queen and Pape to there by bus.

"There were large crowds out. We spent over an hour to make one round trip with stopovers at each station and we never got farther forward than the first set of doors. Our last trip was crammed in at the middle of the train. There were even whole school classes being taken down."

Brent Hooton wrote: "I must say, for a supposedly "bare bones" subway, this is still pretty good. The only real giveaways are the concrete on the farside platform walls (all centre platforms except Yonge), and the ceilings which are in various stages of being finished/unfinished. It's no Downsview, but Downsview seems pretty overpowered -- it certainly compares very well to most of the other stations. Yonge station impressed me in particular -- very expansive, and with the opening-day crowds lining the platform 3 or 4 deep, it reminded me a bit of Bloor station.

"Highlights in terms of station design?

  • The spaciousness of Sheppard-Yonge station (and I was pleasantly surprised by the tiled wall designs);
  • The colour scheme of Bessarion (deep red and cream);
  • The unorthodox angles in Bayview station (I'm still not too keen on the perspective drawings, but I suppose they'll grow on me).

The "Sheppard & Leslie" tiles I am not too fond of -- an interesting idea, but it seems a little on the bland side (picture the spartan B/D stations, but without any station names or signs to add variety to the wall). May appeal to some, but that's another that will have to grow on me.

Don Mills Crowds

Huge crowds greeted the line from Sheppard-Yonge to Don Mills, but especially at Don Mills where the opening ceremonies took place. There was cake and a Dixieland band. Politicians were here to see the ceremonial first train break through a barrier.


Displays at Don Mills detailed the construction of the line.

More Displays

More displays at Don Mills, this one showing the Sheppard-Yonge wye construction.

Don Mills Art

Art display at Don Mills station.

Barney, the Safety Beaver!

Barney, the Safety Beaver!

School Display

The subway opening was noted by the elementary schools in the community.

More School Displays

Another display made by the young students of the area.

More School Displays

More school art.

Don Mills Art

Some of the art treatments on the Sheppard subway are very subtle. Witness this piece on the subway platform of Don Mills station.

Don Mills station

The platform of Don Mills station.

Unfinished Concrete

The unfinished concrete walls contrast with the bright look of the rest of the station.

On the Trains

It was the free rides that most people had turned out for. Trains served all of the stations of the line from noon until 2 p.m. They were packed.


Leslie station, featuring individually signed tiles and temporary walls shortening the platform.


More of the individually signed tiles.


A ventilation shaft and the unfinished station walls at Leslie.

Brass Band

A brass band rubs shoulders with the crowds trying out the new subway.


Art at Bessarion station.


The mezzanine level of Bessarion station, which had celebratory entertainment of its own.


The mezzanine level of Bessarion station, showing signage. Is the Sheppard subway is the only part of the network that uses the phrase "WAY OUT" instead of "EXIT"?

Bayview Art

An example of the optical illusion art at Bayview station.

Bayview Art

The same work of art, from a different angle.

Bayview Art

Another work of art, showing how it's done.


One of the Sheppard trains, pulling into Bayview station. Note the destination sign. Oversight? Or wishful thinking?


The westbound (arrival) platform of Sheppard-Yonge station. Note the mural seen through the subway's windows.


Close up of a Sheppard-Yonge mural.


Stepping back from the Sheppard-Yonge mural...


The unfinished central platform of Sheppard-Yonge.


A safety intercom at Sheppard-Yonge station.


The rebuilt signs of the Yonge line platforms of Sheppard-Yonge station.

Thanks to Andrew Gurudata, David Youngs, Brent Hooton and Mike Beltzner for their help on this web page.

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