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Bathurst

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Subway Related Properties Page

Text by Candice Zhang

Throughout the summers before the pandemic, many of us perhaps have found ourselves at Bathurst Station, boarding the 511, and heading towards the Canadian National Exhibition (CNE). Even though we might have never thought about Bathurst station much, we surely passed by it quite often. Opened in 1966, Bathurst station is known for its pigeons, diverse community, and shops. Over those past 50 years, the station has witnessed a renewal due to changing demographics and urban landscapes.

Bathurst and Bloor's Cultural Diversity

Bathurst Station is situated conveniently on Bathurst and Bloor, the area thriving with Korean cuisines, coffee shops, and edgy stores. But the cultural diversity dates further back into the 1860s when a woman named Deborah Brown escaped from the United States through the Underground Railway. Decades after she emigrated, a large number of people - primarily Caribbean immigrants - moved into the community. Some started their own businesses, including a newspaper called "Eyes, ears, and voice of Canada's Black community." An artistic exhibition "Welcome to Blackhurst Street" was established to commemorate the Caribbean and African-American communities that settled within the community.

On the other hand, Asian workers, primarily from Korea, have arrived in the community to work as missionaries. However, the first wave of immigration began 50 years later, when Koreans settled to escape the Japanese occupation of their country. As more Koreans arrived, a culturally-distinct community began to emerge. And when the Canadian immigration rules were changed in 1967, a Koreatown was in the making.

By the mid-70s, Bathurst and Bloor had become a tourism and cultural hotspot. With over 10,000 Koreans finding a new home within the city and Black immigrants from the States and Caribbean islands settling, a number of different shops opened, outlining the future of Toronto's multiculturalism. Tourists would arrive and munch on different cuisines, as well as visit Honest Ed's - a discount retailer that opened its doors in 1943.

Other than retailers and restaurants, theatres and cinemas have also opened up near the station. On the south of Bathurst Station, there is the Hot Docs cinema founded in 1993, which hosts the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival. Walking further south, the Bathurst Street Theatre, known as the Randolph Centre for the Arts, appears to outline the richness of performing arts within the community.

Looking back to history, the impacts of culture can still be seen today at Bathurst station. A hungry traveller can stop by the bakery shops within the station and help themselves wolf down some Jamaican beef patties. Over the past years, the patties were voted as the "BEST Patty in Toronto - Social Media."

Bathurst Parkette

The Ed and Ann Mirvish Parkette is situated on the other side of the Bathurst Subway bus loop. When Ed Mirvish, a successful businessman, passed away in 2007, the "Bathurst Subway Parkette" was renamed to the "Ed and Anne Mirvish Parkette" as a form of commemoration. A renaming ceremony took place, which unveiled a sign and plaque along with a tree-planting event. Ed Mirvish also founded Honest Ed's, with his wife Anne Mirvish. Anne Mirvish was also deeply involved in Toronto's artistic community, which has perhaps contributed to the community's emphasis on creative endeavours.

Bathurst Station Architecture

On the outside, the station looks similar to a one-floor, stripped-mall on the outskirts of Toronto. Upon closer examination, a visitor can notice similarities between Bathurst and Ossington stations. Both stations have a bus platform surrounding both sides of an island of concrete, resembling a bus loop. Unlike Pape Station's platform, the entrance of the station is located within a square shelter, far off to one side.

After entering the station and heading towards the subway platform, strips of blue and an off-white tone can be seen. The colours contrast with one another nicely, compared to the other green and black colours examined from other stations. The font is written in a bold form of Univers 55, one of the original fonts on the Line 1 Yonge-University line. The other stations on the Bloor-Danforth line which use the Univers 55 bold font range from Kipling, all the way to Warden.

Since 2000, the station has had accessibility features with Bathurst Street being the accessible entrance, which is available behind a Pizza Pizza restaurant. The Markham street entrance is located near the intersection of Bloor Street West and Markham Street, which used to be near the now-demolished store Honest Ed's. Stairs are also available to access the Subway Platform level directly, on the Markham street entrance. Passengers can only enter the station using a Presto Card.

Bathurst Station's Expansion

The involvement with Bathurst Street as a destination commenced way before the TTC was established. From 1861 to 1891, the Toronto Street Railway (TSR) did not use engines, but horses for travel routes. Originally serving the Yonge and Queen Routes, the TSR expanded to then serve a route on King Street between Bathurst and the Don River. Within two-and-a-half decades later - when the City of Toronto annexed the Villages of Yorkville, Brockton and parts of York Township, the streetcar route between College and Bathurst Street was soon established. However, the Annex, which is now a part of the Bathurst and Bloor community, was annexed two years later. After the annexation, the Bathurst Car was soon extended to reach Dupont Avenue. By 1891, the TSR tried to use streetcars, a process known as "electrifying," to plan their routes instead of horsepower.

The community continued to expand with the subway. The hints foreshadowed Toronto's potential as an urban city, which led a subway construction project to begin. In 1921, the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) was established after merging with the Toronto Railway Company and the Toronto Civic Railways. After the first stations from Union and Eglinton were constructed on the Yonge-University line, the start of a Transit boom emerged. Along with the Bloor and Danforth line (from Keele to Woodbine) which opened during the mid-60s, workers finished constructing the University line from Union to St. George.

During this time, the subway stations on the Bloor and Danforth, and the Yonge-University line were connected: the TTC tried to create three subway lines using two stretches of track. Riders can ride from Bathurst to Eglinton without transitioning between tracks, or getting off the train. Unfortunately, this plan only lasted six months long when challenges arose. Confusion among passengers choosing the wrong platform and schedules have caused the committee to abandon the idea. Moreover, results from a customer survey indicated that many passengers were against interlining.

Streetcar routes were also abandoned due to the opening of new subway lines. The Coxwell, Fort, Harbord, and Parliament routes were cancelled, while the Bathurst Car changed its routes to arrive at the modern-day CNE destination.

The earliest subway trains that existed on the tracks of Bathurst Station were the Montreal Locomotive Works "M1" cars, along with the Hawker Siddeley H1, H2, H3, H4, and H5 cars.

Features: Music

But other than culture, another passenger may notice the pigeon sounds and classical music swifting throughout the station. Both were actually the results of experimentation: the pigeon sounds were pre-recorded in order to reduce the presence of pigeons within the station, and classical music was implemented after an unfortunate stabbing at Kennedy Station. Similar to the pigeon sounds, the music is a tactic to turn off teenagers from lingering around the station. Perhaps, using sound is a way to ensure the community remains safe from pesky behaviour.

Honest Ed's Tribute

However, these scenarios were not the only example to indicate Bathurst station's representation of the diverse and changing community. When Honest Ed's announced its closing in 2016, the station was made over to mimic the store. Honest Ed's employees along with TTC staff decorated the station, and a Metropass was made to memorialize the landmark. For over half a year, the concourse level was decorated with a plethora of film and digital photos, and graphics, leading to feelings of nostalgia within the community. Some of the signs within the subway, even the ones to indicate the Eastbound and Westbound trains, were printed on the classic, hand-written, comic-style font which the store was known for. The words were also written all over the Windows on the Bathurst Street entrance near the Bus loop.

Later on, a permanent tribute to the retail store was installed, which consists of five signs on the concourse level. Comics, drawings, photos, and graphics were used to symbolize the store's presence and influence on the community.

Photo ID Office

The Photo ID Office which was first located at Sherbourne Station moved to Bathurst Station on August 4, 2020. The office is located on the concourse level of the station, near the escalators to the bus loop. During COVID-19, passengers are required to wear masks to take their pictures and purchase the ID card.

On a regular day, a passenger may find themselves at Bathurst Station for many reasons. They may even want to take a picture or retrieve their photo I.D. card, or they may be trudging their way through the crowds to go to class. But whatever it is, they may never think that the station they're in has foreshadowed the city immensely. With Christie Pits park a 10-minute walk away, and a Spanish bookstore nearby, everyone should find some time in their day and take a look around the station or the community to experience the hidden treasures.

Service Notes (as of January 1, 2021):

  • Off-Site Resources:
  • Line: 2 BLOOR-DANFORTH
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train to Kennedy: 6:02 a.m. weekdays, 6:07 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:21 a.m. Sundays.
    Last Train to Kennedy: 1:50 a.m. every day.
    First Train to Kipling: 6:00 a.m. weekdays, 6:05 a.m Saturdays/holidays, 8:14 a.m. Sundays
    Last Train to Kipling: 1:57 a.m. every day.
  • Address: 5 Christie Street
  • Opened: February 26, 1966
  • Average Weekday Ridership:
  • Entrances: 2
    • Bathurst Street entrance (main entrance, and accessible), located on the east side of Bathurst Street, 80 metres north of Bloor Street West. The entrance area is on the same level as the bus and streetcar terminal, with stairs and escalators leading to the concourse.
    • Markham Street automatic entrance, located on the east side of Markham Street, 52 metres north of Bloor Street West, with stairs leading directly to the subway platform.
  • Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule): 3
    • Concourse to street level entrance (up at all times).
    • Westbound platform to concourse (up at all times).
    • Eastbound platform to concourse (up at all times)
  • Elevators (click here for maintenance schedule): 2
    • Eastbound platform to concourse level.
    • Westbound platform to concourse level and street level.
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Since 1999.
  • No Washrooms
  • 2 Side Platforms
  • No TTC parking.

TTC Surface Connections:

Former TTC Connections:

Document Archive


Bathurst Station Image Archive


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<< CHRISTIE | Bloor-Danforth | SPADINA >>
Subway Related Properties Page

References

  • Corley, Ray F., Subway Car: 75 Foot Aluminum Class M & H cars (Camshaft Control), The Toronto Transit Commission, Toronto (Ontario), October 1996.
  • "History of Seaton Village." Toronto Neighbourhood Guide. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2017.
  • Ng, Nathan. "Bathurst." Station Fixation. N.p., Aug. 2014. Web.



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