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TTC celebrates 60th anniversary of Yonge subway line

The TTC will celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Yonge subway line – now called Line 1 – on Sunday.

When it was first constructed, the line had 12 stations stretching from Union to Eglinton and a token cost just 10 cents.

TTC spokesman Brad Ross said it took 10,000 tons of structural steel, 15 million feet of lumber and 4200 tons of rail to build the line.

“We have nothing special or formal planned to celebrate,” Ross said.

“We are recognizing the date and sharing it with our riders online,” he said, including a full-page newspaper ad and posters along the line that recognize the history of the subway.

“We’re cognizant of costs and we may do something for the 75th but not for the 60th,” Ross said.


Map of the original Yonge line. Toronto Archives.

The Yonge subway cost $67 million to build — about $600 million in today’s dollars.

It took eight years from the moment Toronto voted to approve a subway until the day Premier Leslie M. Frost and Mayor Allen Lamport flipped a signal to open the line.

Citizens voted 10 to 1 in favour of subway construction in January 1946, according to the TTC, but the process actually began much earlier.

The preliminary studies and planning of the Yonge Street subway started in 1943. The Commission engaged consultants and set up a separate engineering staff years before shovels went into the ground.

The University subway opened between Union Station and St George Station in 1963, and the Bloor-Danforth subway opened between Keele Station and Woodbine Station in 1966. In 1968, it was extended west to Islington Station and east to Warden Station.

Click here for other TTC milestones.

Today, the TTC has three subway lines, one intermediate capacity transit line (the Scarborough RT), 11 streetcar lines and more than 160 bus routes.

Watch TTC Subway 50th Anniversary: A Never Ending Story below:

Watch a short history of Yonge Street and the TTC below:



Watch a documentary about the construction of the TTC’s first subway below:

What are your memories of the TTC? Let us know in the comments.