The Ontario provincial government, in a headlong effort to spend money, are on the cusp of announcing the long-awaited subway extension taking the Spadina line up to York University and beyond - up towards the 905 region... this is cause for a celebration for a lifelong subway enthusiast like me. I know there has been some muttering that Toronto can't afford it, that the money would be better served by beefing up the bus service in the region for a lot less money, etc, etc, etc and it's true, it's true, but come on, buses are boring. Boring. I love the idea of tunnels being built and stations being designed and maps being changed and disparate parts of the cities being hooked up to each other subterraneously - let's have some vision in this town and build some subways that actually go somewhere and are interesting spaces to move through.
I think people in Toronto have been less generously disposed to the idea of extending our subway system after the creation of our most recent line - the Sheppard line. I mean, go out to Bessarion station if you don't believe me. Wasn't Bessarion one of the planets from the most recent Star Wars trilogy? Anyway, nothing's going on up at Bessarion that I could figure out. I went through the turnstiles at Bessarion to check out the environs. There's a Country Style donuts store nearby and a...nothing else. Most of the stations on the Sheppard line are kind of boring and seem there purely to provide underground access to the malls along Sheppard avenue. The blandness of the stations and the seeming randomness of the terminus of the line (a few kilometers away from a natural hookup to the Scarborough LRT) only reinforces the pointlessness of its existence. At least this new line being conceived actually goes somewhere, hooking the University up to the city centre, extending a tendril out beyond the city limits, and pointed in the right direction for an inevitable hook-up to the airport, just like other important, subway-equipped cities. Hopefully these new stations that are under consideration will compare to some of the more adventurous designs on the Spadina line, to say nothing of the eye-popping grandeur of the typical stop on the Montreal metro.