Kipling

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Kipling subway station is the western terminus of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway line. In addition to linking the subway to nearly a dozen TTC routes taking passengers further into the former city of Etobicoke (including Pearson Airport), the station provides a direct link with the Milton GO Train, and will soon provide a more extensive link with MiWay and GO Transit buses, thanks to the construction of a new regional bus terminal. Opened at the same time as the extension of the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway to Kennedy to the east, Kipling shares a lot of similarities with its contemporary, but a number of differences as well.

Compromise Expansion

Plans to build Kipling station materialized in the early 1970s. At the time, the TTC was building the extension of the Yonge subway from Eglinton to Finch, and planning the construction of the Spadina subway to Wilson, and making the first moves towards the construction of a Queen subway. Enthusiasm for subway construction was waning among TTC planners and Metro politicians, however, due to rising costs, and the fact that the high density neighbourhoods that were best served by subway lines were, by and large, now served by subway lines.

However, in December 1973, the TTC approved the extension of the subway west from Islington, with the line emerging at grade beside the Canadian Pacific railway tracks and following them southwest to a station southwest of the Six-Points interchange at Kipling station. Metropolitan Council approved the extension as it balanced off the extension to Kennedy, making both Scarborough and Etobicoke politicians happy. The TTC supported the extension as it was also comparatively inexpensive, reduced bus congestion at Islington station, gave access to new parking lots with spaces for 1,300 cars, and access to a potential new yard that could house up to 200 subway cars.

The Kipling station extension slipped through the approval process, passing Metropolitan Toronto and the Ontario Municipal Board, allowing construction to begin. At the time, the TTC announced that the Kipling and Kennedy stations would be the last extensions to the Toronto subway for a while.

Aborted Plans

To serve the lower-density suburbs with less expensive rapid transit, the TTC had proposed building high-speed streetcar lines on private rights-of-way fanning out from the terminals of the subway line. Planning for such a system got very far on the SCARBOROUGH RT, before the provincial government intervened and convinced the TTC and Metropolitan Toronto to switch the project to the experimental ICTS technology it was building.

A similar high-speed streetcar line was planned to extend from Kipling station, possibly running west and then north along Highway 427 to connect the subway to Pearson Airport. This proposal was taken seriously enough that the architects of Kipling Station built a platform to serve such a line into the station itself. On the bus terminal level, across from the bus roadway, a platform and trench seen today are the only evidence that such a line was under serious consideration. However, beyond this measure, the line never moved past the proposal phase, and as the SCARBOROUGH RT proved to be more expensive than originally hoped for, the Etobicoke RT proposal was quietly dropped.

To accommodate a connection with the proposed subway yard at the west end of the station, an allowance was built along the north side of Kipling station, with space enough for a track to act as a lead into such a yard. However, the need for such a yard did not materialize, as the TTC was able to make use of expanded space at Wilson Yard, revamped space at the Davisville Yard along with space already in place at Greenwood Yard. The tunnel allowance north of the station is visible to passengers as trains approach, but it may come into use in the next few years.

In 2016, as the TTC coped with a looming yard space shortage, it proposed that tracks could be laid along the allowance for additional storage. In addition to this, Canadian Pacific announced plans to abandon its Obico intermodal terminal southwest of Kipling station. The TTC and Metrolinx have expressed an interest in possibly purchasing this yard to build a subway yard here, which would be connected to Kipling station.

Opening Ceremonies

Kipling station opened to the public at the same time as Kennedy station, on November 22, 1980. On that date, a special train of new subway cars (5807-5806-5791-5790-5804-5805) left Davisville station at 12:40 p.m. and proceeding through Lower Bay station to Warden for a ceremonial first run to Kennedy at 1:30 p.m. At 2:20 p.m. this train left Kennedy and ran express to Islington, stopping only at Warden and Yonge (the latter unscheduled, to let one rider off). At Islington, a ceremony was performed where Etobicoke Mayor Dennis Flynn pulled a special lever to light a signal allowing the ceremonial first run to Kipling station. Once speeches were completed here, the special train departed Kipling to enter regular service at Islington around 4:10 p.m.

Station Features

Kipling station shares a number of architectural flourishes as Kennedy station, with a red, black and gold motif on its station platform walls, brown ceramic tiles on the floors and plain brick walls on the rest of the station. Like Kennedy, the Kipling station name is applied to the walls in Helvetica font.

Kipling station is significantly more compact than Kennedy, however. The subway platforms are a single level below the bus terminal, rather than two levels as is the case with Kennedy. The provision for the Etobicoke RT would also have required far fewer steps, located as it was on the bus level directly above the subway trains. The station does have long pedestrian tunnels, however, connecting the subway platform to parking lots north and south of the Canadian Pacific tracks as well as a passenger pick-up and drop-off pavilion. Access to the station from Kipling and Dundas Street requires some walking along either St. Albans Road or Auckland Road. A wheelchair accessible entrance was added next to the St. Albans Road entrance at the west side of the station, and a new automatic entrance from Auckland Road at the east end of the station was added in November 2011.

The station was made accessible on March 26, 1999, but completely so. Although wheelchair users can proceed from the street to the bus terminal and to the subway platform, the mezzanine at the west end of the station and the tunnels to the commuter lots, passenger pick-up and drop-off pavilion and Kipling GO station remain non-accessible, and altering them to be so would be a challenge.

Ever since Kipling station opened, there have been proposals to build a separate terminal to handle regional transit buses, including those from Mississauga Transit. Before, dozens of Mississauga Transit buses were connecting with the BLOOR-DANFORTH subway at Islington station. However, GO Transit, Mississauga Transit and the TTC had difficulty agreeing on plans for the terminal, or how it should be paid for. Mississauga Transit objected that Kipling Station’s location off of Dundas Street made it less convenient for buses on Burnhamthorpe and points north to serve.

Metrolinx, however, argued that Kipling should act as a mobility hub for the TTC, GO Transit and Mississauga Transit (by then, called MiWay), and set about planning such a hub. Its study was finished in February 2015. Construction is expected to begin shortly, and could be completed by 2020. This change would render Kipling GO station wheelchair accessible, allowing GO Train passengers to access the subway, albeit by a more round-about route than able-bodied passengers.

Two tail tracks extend west of Kipling station’s subway platform, with enough space to store one train each. Plans were made since the station’s opening to extend service west, either by tunnel to Sherway Gardens and Dixie GO station, or on the surface to a redeveloped East Mall/Dundas intersection, but these proposals have not come to fruition. Kipling station is already serving well as a transit hub in the heart of Etobicoke, and further enhancements will only improve that role in the years to come.

Trivia

  • The fact that Kipling station is open to the air through the subway tracks made the station a haven for pigeons and starlings, which contributed to an unsightly mess that made the news in 2008. The TTC took measures to try and reduce the infestation, and additional maintenance funds in 2015 helped clean up the station’s washrooms, which had been another source of complaint.

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Service Notes (as of January 1, 2017):

  • Off-Site Resources:
  • Line: 2 BLOOR-DANFORTH
  • Hours of Operation:
    First Train Eastbound: 5:41 a.m. weekdays, 5:48 a.m. Saturdays/holidays, 8:00 a.m. Sundays.
    Last Train Eastbound: 1:31 a.m. every day.
  • Address: 950 Kipling Avenue
  • Opened: November 22, 1980
  • Average Weekday Ridership: 58,100 (2014); 52,930 (2013), 49,720 (2011), 53,640 (2010)
  • Entrances:
    • Aukland Road Entrance (south from Dundas Street West), Accessible Automatic (near Dundas Street West and Aukland Road)
    • Saint Albans Road Entrance, Accessible Automatic (near Saint Albans Road and Kipling Avenue, south side of St. Albans)
    • From Kipling GO Train Station (not wheelchair accessible)
    • West Passenger Pick up and Drop off Entrance (near Aukland Road and Subway Crescent) (staircase to enclosed waiting area, not accessible)
    • Subway Crescent (near Aukland Road and Subway Crescent)
  • Wheelchair Accessible: Since March 26, 1999
  • Elevators (click here for maintenance schedule): Bus level to Subway platform, Street to Concourse levels
  • Escalators (click here for maintenance schedule):
    • East End - Train Platform To Bus Level (Up At All Times)
    • Centre - Train Platform To Bus Level (Down At All Times)
    • West End - Train Platform To Bus Level (Up At All Times)
    • West End Lower Concourse To Train Platform (Down At All Times)
    • West End - Lower Concourse To Train Platform (Up At All Times)
    • Lower Concourse To Street Level (Aukland Rd) (Up At All Times)
  • Washrooms
  • Token vending machine
  • Pass vending machine
  • Forms of fare payment include credit or debit
  • Passenger Pick-up and Drop-off
  • Centre platform
  • Parking (3 lots, 1488 spaces, $5 per day on weekdays, free on weekends and holidays)

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References

  • “TTC Backs Kipling Subway Station, but Godfrey Wants Priorities Set.” Globe and Mail [Toronto] 5 Dec. 1973: n. pag.