A DECADES-LONG UNDERGROUND OPERATION
A timeline of the Spadina subway extension. 1985 — A TTC report calls for an ambitious program of subways to be built over the next 28 years, including expanding the Spadina subway north. At this time it runs only to Wilson Ave. 1988 to 1994 — “It’s terribly difficult for people to get in or out of this area to go to work,” said York Centre MPP Greg Sorbara in 1988. Metro council approves a $160-million plan to extend the Spadina subway 1.6 kilometres to Sheppard Ave., despite York region politicians calling for it to go further north to York University. Metro council goes back to the idea, but rejects it in 1994. 1995 — The TTC announces that it won’t survive if it funds the extension, among other projects. Then-premier Bob Rae said the province will take over the TTC if Metro council rejects the extension to York University. That summer, Rae and the Liberals are ousted in a provincial election by the Progressive Conservatives. The extension is shelved. 1996 — The Spadina subway is extended to Sheppard Ave. and the Downsview station (now Sheppard West) officially opens. 1999 to 2004 — The TTC renews its interest in expanding the line further to not only York University, but also Vaughan. Politicians tout it as a way to spur the economy in the suburbs and help ease congestion. Critics call it a potential money pit the city cannot afford. In 2004, the city expects it to cost $1.5 billion and take five to eight years to build. 2006 to 2008 — Toronto and York Region councils approve municipal funding for an extension. In March 2006, the province commits $670 mil- lion with the condition the line extends past York University to Vaughan’s future downtown. The two extra stations are expected to push the total cost up from $1.5 billion to $2 billion and distance from 6.2 km to 8.6 km. Ottawa commits $697 million, but doesn’t deliver the funds until 2008, delaying the project start date by 16 months. 2009 — TTC starts construction in November on the extension and aims to complete the project by 2015 and within an increased budget of $2.6 billion. 2012 to 2014 — The project is plagued with setbacks — including the death of a construction worker in 2012, followed by a four-month long investigation, an unusually harsh winter in 2013, tunnelling issues under York University, and difficulties with contractors and subcontractors. The TTC says it faces “critical scheduling issues” pushing the completion date to 2016. March 2015 — The Star learns the extension is a further $400 million over budget, pushing the $3 billion mark. Shortly after, the TTC fires two senior managers in charge of the extension. September 2015 — TTC CEO Andy Byford describes the expansion as an “albatross around my neck.” January 2016 — Construction claims and other expenses push the cost up to $3.2 billion and official opening to the end of 2017, two years later than expected. Dec. 17, 2017 — More than 30 years after the idea was first put forward, the Spadina subway bursts through the city’s northern border, connecting York University and Vaughan with Toronto.