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Text by James Bow

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Greenwood station on the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway is a moderately-used station serving the neighbourhoods of east Toronto and southern East York. It is notable for being the station immediately east of the subway wye connecting the BLOOR-DANFORTH line to Greenwood Yards, the eastern switches to which can be seen by looking into the tunnels at the west end of the station. In 2018, Greenwood station served 11,080 passengers on an average weekday.

Early History

The Greenwood name entered the area thanks to Kate and John Greenwood, who in 1864 established the Puritan Tavern on the northwest corner of what would become the Queen/Greenwood intersection. Greenwood Lane (later Avenue) ran north from Queen to the next concession road, Danforth Avenue. From 1884 until 1909, this road served as the eastern boundary of the City of Toronto north of Queen Street (with the lots on the eastern side of Greenwood Avenue annexed in 1909). When the Toronto Railway Company extended streetcar service east along Gerrard, the streetcars wyed here.

The area around the Danforth/Greenwood intersection was largely rural or undeveloped until the early part of the 20th century, even after the City pushed its territory further east, and when the City of Toronto asked the Toronto Railway Company to serve the area, the TRC, nearing the end of its charter and seeing little profit in the service, refused. To get streetcars rolling, the City of Toronto established the Toronto Civic Railway, which placed streetcars on Gerrard east of Greenwood, and on Danforth Avenue from Broadview to Luttrell.

When the Toronto Railway Company’s charter ended on August 31, 1921, the city-owned Toronto Transportation Commission took over and began connecting the TRC and TCR networks together. Danforth Avenue was soon home to the BLOOR streetcar running across town to Jane Street, and a number of tripper routes connecting the area to downtown Toronto. Danforth Avenue blossomed as a commercial street, and the area saw substantial growth in single-family homes.

The Subway Plan

With increased development came increased traffic, and plans to build a subway network for Toronto. Following the success of the YONGE subway, the City of Toronto expected development of a Queen subway to follow, but the TTC saw that ridership was rising more quickly on the BLOOR streetcar than on Queen. The way the shoreline of Lake Ontario angled northeast as it entered Scarborough meant that most traffic from the newly built suburbs was being fed onto Danforth Avenue rather than Kingston Road.

Through the debate between whether the crosstown subway should travel beneath Queen Street or Bloor-Danforth, Greenwood station was quietly placed on the books. The street was a significant thoroughfare passing through residential neighbourhoods north and south of Danforth Avenue. This was true with plans for the compromise “Flying-U” subway that operated along Queen Street through downtown Toronto and extended north to Bloor and Danforth via Grace and Pape respectively. Even after the Bloor-Danforth alignment was chosen, plans for a Queen subway called for the line to turn north around Greenwood. The presence of a quarry and dump on Greenwood Avenue north of the railway tracks proved alluring for a yard to serve both lines.

Initial plans for BLOOR-DANFORTH construction called for the crosstown line to be built in phases. The first phase would run from St. George station in the west to Greenwood station in the east, followed by extensions to Keele in the west and Woodbine in the east. Greenwood would have served as an interim terminal, but financial concessions by Metropolitan Toronto and the Province of Ontario allowed the TTC to speed up construction, opening the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway all at once from Keele to Woodbine. Greenwood’s plans as a temporary terminal did not develop to the point where crossovers were designed, or larger facilities to connect the subway with transit services extending into the suburbs. So, when the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway opened on February 26, 1966, the station was a local stop, while traffic continued on towards the terminal at Woodbine.

Station Architecture

Greenwood station is located east of Greenwood Avenue, with its only entrance located at the southwest corner of Linnsmore Drive and Strathcona Boulevard, 200 metres east of the station’s namesake street. The reason for this is the presence of the underground wye connecting the BLOOR-DANFORTH line with Greenwood Yards. The switches, and the inclines needed to get the eastbound and westbound tracks onto separate levels, force the station further east, but it was felt that “Greenwood” was a far more identifiable name for the station than “Linnsmore”.

Greenwood station has more in common with Donlands station immediately west than it does with Pape further west and Coxwell further east. The latter two stations were anchored at major intersections along Danforth Avenue, and were the terminus of streetcar routes, including HARBORD and COXWELL, including many tripper services. In addition, Danforth and Hollinger Bus Lines operations served a bus terminal immediately south of the Coxwell station site. Like Donlands, Greenwood was primarily a residential street, so while it served a neighbourhood of residents interested in commuting downtown, there wasn’t much foot traffic expected. Like Donlands, Greenwood opened with a single station building north of Danforth Avenue.

However, unlike Donlands, Greenwood did open with a feeder bus route, as 31 GREENWOOD launched with the opening of the station, connecting residents on Greenwood between Queen and Danforth, and also TTC drivers heading to the entrance of Greenwood Yards, a few blocks south of Danforth Avenue. An extension to Eastern Avenue in 1978 also served a new Canada Post sorting facility.

The Greenwood’s station building was modest, with a single storey glass and brick structure located on the southwest corner of Linnsmore and Strathcona. A roadway for the 31 GREENWOOD bus looped around the south and west sides of the building. The bus platform was not initially within the fare-paid zone of the station, and passengers wishing to transfer from bus to subway or vice versa needed to show proof of fare. This changed at some point in 1993 when renovations to the station moved the fare gates, placing the bus platforms within the fare-paid area, and allowing direct transfers between bus and subway.

Inside the station, stairs lead down to a small mezzanine level connecting to the eastbound and westbound platforms. The station followed the architectural style of the original BLOOR-DANFORTH subway stations with two tones of tile used throughout. In Greenwood’s case, the base colour of the walls was beige, while the trim and station names were black.

Second Exit Plans

Greenwood station’s single entrance and exit are hallmarks of a day when fire safety standards were less stringent. Modern fire standards require two separate exits from one area, to prevent people from being trapped. While TTC stations were largely grandfathered as the standards were upgraded, the TTC recognized the need for improved safety in 2002 and identified fourteen priority stations for renovations to install second exits. Around 2010, the TTC began work designing second exits/entrances for stations like Woodbine, Donlands, Chester and Greenwood.

Flaws in the consultation process regarding Greenwood and Woodbine’s second exits, however, particularly with the possibility of expropriations and construction disruption, soon mobilized community resentment, forcing the TTC to go back to the drawing board on a number of its second exit plans. The TTC held an open house for local residents on April 18, 2017 and launched a local working group to help with the design process. This process identified a number of sites for a second exit, some on Strathcona, some on Monarch Park Drive, and some on Danforth Avenue. The final rankings favoured two sites, one at 1416 Danforth Avenue and another at 138/140 Monarch Park Drive.

The local working group wrapped up on April 11, 2018, with another meeting planned in 2020 as construction work approached. In 2018, the TTC anticipated that construction work would be complete by 2023, at the same time as the station was made accessible for wheelchairs.

Greenwood station is one of the lesser-used stations on the BLOOR-DANFORTH line; in 2018, it was fourth after Chester, Old Mill and Castle Frank, but its ridership is comparable to Donlands (11,250) and Woodbine (14,960), highlighting its use by the local neighbourhoods that surround it. Future developments to increase residential density in the area will likely increase Greenwood’s use.

Service Notes (as of April 1, 2020):

  • Off-Site Resources:
  • Line: 2 Bloor - Danforth
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train to Kipling: 5:50 a.m. weekdays, 6:00 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:12 a.m. Sundays.
    First Train to Kennedy: 5:45 a.m. weekdays, 5:47 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:07 a.m. Sundays.
    Last Train to Kipling: 1:43 a.m.
    Last Train to Kennedy: 2:03 a.m. weekdays, 2:05 a.m. Saturday/holidays, 2:03 a.m. Sundays
  • Address: 10 Linsmore Crescent
  • Opened: February 26, 1966
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Planned for 2023
  • Average Weekday Ridership: 11,080 (2018), 10,390 (2016), 9,040 (2015), 10,660 (2014), 9,630 (2013), 11,800 (2012), 9,420 (2011), 11,590 (2010), 9,910 (2009), 10,240 (2008)
  • Entrances: 1
    • Located on the west side of Linnsmore Crescent, 54 metres north of Danforth Avenue (Linnsmore Crescent is 200 metres east of Greenwood Avenue).
  • Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule): 3
    • Concourse To Street Level (Up At All Times)
    • Eastbound Platform To Concourse (Up At All Times)
    • Westbound Platform To Concourse (Up At All Times)
  • Parking: None
  • 2 Side platforms
  • Bicycle Repair stop

TTC Surface Connections:

Former TTC Surface Connections

Publication Archive

Greenwood Station Image Archive


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