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Old Mill

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Subway Related Properties Page

Text by Ameer Shash

Located at the corner of Old Mill Terrace and Humber Boulevard, Old Mill subway station opened on May 10, 1968. The station serves a neighbourhood of single-family detached homes with some commercial office space. While one of the least-used stations on the subway network, Old Mill is a unique station, being half underground and half elevated, offering riders scenic views of the Humber River valley. In 2018, just 7,750 passengers used Old Mill on an average weekday.

The Community Old Mill Serves

Just like other parts of Toronto, Old Mill was originally occupied by First Nations inhabitants, who used the area primarily for hunting and fishing, as well as travelling along the river valley. When European settlers moved into the area, starting in 1790, the new residents established the Kings Mill on the river to supply lumber for area homes and buildings.

Fires were recurrent at Kings Mill, which led to the Mill being rebuilt a total of three times. Over time, the property came to be known as the Old Mill. Starting in early in the 20th century, the lumber aspects of the Mill disappeared, and the building was converted into a resort, which opened on August 4, 1914. Founder Robert Home Smith viewed the Old Mill as a centre for the surrounding community to come together and socialize. The Old Mill offered dancing, dinner and live music within an elegant atmosphere. The establishment survived the Great Depression and added more amenities, including a new banquet room.

The area around the station saw limited development, due to the scenery and the topography of the Humber River. What buildings could be built in the area were often large homes for rich and upper-middle-class owners. The province of Ontario also stepped in to limit development in the Humber River floodplain after October 1954, when Hurricane Hazel dumped so much rain, the Humber River overspilled its banks, demolishing bridges and several homes (notably on Raymore Drive), killing 88 people. The Toronto and Region Conservation Authority was set up to maintain the floodplains of the major rivers of the Greater Toronto Area in as natural a state as possible, for the benefit and protection of the residents of the GTA.

In the 1960s, as planning continued on the crosstown subway parallelling Bloor Street and Danforth Avenue, development in the area centred around the Jane/Bloor intersection in the east, and the Kingsway Business District west from Prince Edward Drive to Montgomery Avenue. The Humber River presented a challenging obstacle to the subway, which the TTC responded to by bringing the subway to the surface and crossing the Humber River on a bridge before heading underground again. This arrangement may have made it easier to build a station where the western portal would have been. The station location is halfway between Jane Station and Prince Edward Drive, where the next westernmost station was being planned. As plans for the western extension of the Bloor-Danforth subway changed, and Prince Edward station shifted to Royal York, Old Mill station filled a widening gap. The station is the most convenient for passengers to access the trails and paths of the Humber River Valley.

Features of Old Mill Station.

Old Mill Station was built to the same architectural standards as the rest of the Bloor-Danforth subway. Indeed, one can see the interior and exterior styles of this line in the station itself. Where the station is underground, the two-tone tile design is in evidence, with grey rectangular tiles complemented with red-brown trim and station name text. Where the station is elevated, the walls feature floor-to-ceiling glass windows within metal frames, with the station name in white within a metal-framed band of red plastic running at waist height.

The sole entrance to the station is located at the northeast corner of Old Mill Trail and Bloor Street West. It features a bus loop at the front doors for the 66 Prince Edward route. Because the bus loop is situated outside of the station’s fare-paid area, riders must have a transfer before boarding a bus. The collector booth, which remains empty due to the TTC’s expanding efforts to eliminate collector booths, is located inside the main entrance doors. Further inside, there are stairs and escalators that lead down to the side platforms.

In 2014, in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Old Mill, new artwork was added to the station in the form of a two large aluminum plaques bearing the station name in the TTC’s distinctive subway font. The letters of “OLD MILL” contain a collage of images depicting the people who have lived in the area throughout history, starting with the original First Nations inhabitants. The pictures for the sign were selected by Natalie Bauer, the director of marketing and events at the Old Mill. The signs adorn the west side of both the eastbound and westbound platforms of the stations.

Outside Old Mill station in the Humber Valley, on the pillars supporting structure, First Nations artist Philip Cote painted ten murals depicting the Anishinaabe creation story. The glass walls of the station also depict images of local birds of prey, though this is less of an art piece, and more a means of keeping birds from crashing into those windows.

In spite of continuing accessibility concerns and the TTC’s attempts to make its entire subway system accessible to passengers in wheelchairs, Old Mill station remains inaccessible, with stairs and escalators blocking access between the street entrance and station platforms. The station is among the last that is slated to receive new elevators, with a planned opening date set for 2024. The low ridership at the station, as well as the fact that it connects with just one bus route, is the main reason for the delay. A Wheel-Trans bus bay was added to the station’s bus loop, however, opening the possibility of connecting wheelchair passengers to the accessible station at Jane.

Notable Incidents at Old Mill Station

Perhaps the most notable event to take place at Old Mill station came at 2 a.m. on Friday, December 8, 2000. At the time, a fire had started on board RT-9 of the RT-9/RT-10 H-1 series garbage train that was conducting regular maintenance. The train, heading eastbound, stopped at the most eastern part of Old Mill Station, where crews immediately evacuated. It has been speculated that a cigarette butt was the cause of the fire.

Cars RT-9 and RT-10 were burnt nearly beyond recognition, with only the underbody of the cars remaining intact. Additionally, the station sustained damage to windows on the south platform and the station’s roof. Despite the damage sustained to the station and cars, there were no passengers in the vicinity of the station, and no injuries or deaths were reported. Due to service being restricted through Old Mill Station, shuttle buses were ordered to manage passenger volumes between Dundas West Station and Kipling Station. The volume was such that the TTC exhausted its fleet of vehicles it could spare and called for help from neighbouring providers. Mississauga Transit, today known as MiWay, lent its fleet in response to the ordeal.

Old Mill Station may be one of the least-used stations on the subway network, but it is one of the most beautiful, and it provides a vital connection between the city and one of its historic rivers. And it’s important to note that ridership has grown, from 5,260 passengers per weekday in 2008 to 7,750 in 2018. Further redevelopment near the station could increase densities that could increase ridership in the future.

Service Notes (as of May 1, 2021):

  • Off-Site Resources:
  • Line: 2 BLOOR-DANFORTH
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train to Kennedy: 5:46 a.m. weekdays, 5:54 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:07 a.m. Sundays.
    Last Train to Kennedy: 1:37 a.m. every day.
    First Train to Kipling: 5:50 a.m. weekdays, 5:55 a.m Saturdays/holidays, 8:08 a.m. Sundays
    Last Train to Kipling: 2:10 a.m. weekdays and Sundays, 2:11 a.m. Saturdays/holidays.
  • Address: 2672 Bloor Street West
  • Opened: May 11, 1968
  • Average Weekday Ridership: 7,750 (2018), 7,350 (2016), 6,620 (2015), 6,530 (2014), 6,580 (2013), 5,790 (2012), 6,130 (2011), 4,970 (2010), 5,780 (2009), 5,700 (2008), 5,260 (2007)
  • Entrances: 1
    • Main Entrance, east side of Old Mill Trail, 47 metres north of Bloor Street West. Station building with stairs and escalators leading directly to the subway platforms.
  • Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule): 2
    • West End - Westbound Platform To Street Level (Up At All Times);
    • East End - Eastbound Platform To Street Level (Up At All Times)
  • Wheelchair Accessible: No. Planned for 2024.
  • Bus platform located outside station building. WheelTrans stop at south end of bus platform.
  • No Washrooms
  • 2 Side Platforms
  • No official TTC parking, but City of Toronto parking available nearby.

TTC Surface Connections:

Previous TTC Connections


Old Mill Station Image Archive

References


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