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5 Toronto railway stations we wish we still had

Posted by Chris Bateman / June 6, 2014

toronto west stationEveryone knows about Lower Bay, the lost subway platform down a set of closed-off stairs from Bay station, but that isn't the extent of Toronto's lost railway infrastructure. Over the last century or so, numerous passenger stations have been closed and, for the most part, erased from the landscape.

Though each of the stations listed here closed for good reason (dwindling use, shifting rail priorities, etc.) it's interesting to speculate how useful they would be to today's commuter, especially with an eye to that holiest of transit grails, the Yonge Relief Line.

Riverdale and Sunnyside's lost stations could have become useful stops on the Lakeshore GO line, if only the Grand Trunk Railway and later Canadian National Railway could have kept the doors open a little longer. Now that the city has grown up in size and population, it doesn't take a transit expert to see the possible value of rail stops at the Don River beside the West Don Lands developments, in Parkdale near Dufferin, or West Toronto in the Junction.

Here are five lost Toronto railway stations we wish still existed.

SUNNYSIDE

toronto sunnyside stationOnce located just south of King, Queen, and Roncesvalles, just east of where the pedestrian bridge crosses the rail corridor and the Gardiner, Sunnyside station was the stepping off point for hundreds of thousands of families excited to spend a day at Toronto's best-loved beach resort. The station buildings were located at street level and a set of stairs provided access to the platforms. The station was open from 1912 to 1972, when it was demolished. The amusement park was mostly torn down in 1955.

NORTH PARKDALE
toronto parkdale stationThe original Parkdale station, located at Jameson and Springhurst, was an early precursor to Sunnyside station. The other Parkdale rail stop, however, was located just southwest of Queen and Gladstone, where the rail tracks pass over the street. The Gladstone Hotel was ideally positioned to service passengers stepping off steaming CPR or GTR trains. Parkdale, later North Parkdale, ceased accepting passengers and disappeared some time after 1983. (The roof of the station is visible in the photo to the right of the rail bridge, opposite the Gladstone Hotel.)

DON
toronto don stationDon station, which used to be near where Queen Street crossed the river, is still standing, albeit at Todmorden, some distance from actual working rail tracks. The station used to be on the west side of the Don, where Queen Street was carried over the water via a simple metal bridge. The station was at its peak in the 1920s, when practically all rail intercity services between Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal stopped there. The station gradually declined in importance and was closed in 1967. It was moved to Todmorden in 1969 and is now at Roundhouse Park.

WEST TORONTO
toronto west stationIf West Toronto CP station still existed, it would be located just north of Dundas West and Dupont. Clues to its former presence are still to be found: a barricaded and garbage-strewn staircase cut into the retaining wall of the railway overpass on Dupont was once a southern entrance to the station. The building clung on until 1982, when it was knocked down. In 2015, the Union-Pearson Express trains will zip past where the station used to be.

RIVERDALE
toronto riverdale stationOn De Grassi Street, just north of Queen, there's a small park that marks the former location of Riverdale's lost railway station. The platform, ticket office, and waiting room, all located in a simple brick building with a large circular turret, was once perched on the steep side of the railway embankment, just where De Grassi straightens and heads north. A steady decline in passenger numbers during the Depression led to the closure of Riverdale station in 1932.

The building, abandoned and forlorn, was demolished in 1972. The photo above was taken in 1952, when it was used as the headquarters for a carpet laying business.

Images (in order): "West Toronto Station," July 2, 1957, Toronto Public Library, S 1-3917; "Sunnyside Station," April 15, 1913, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 200, Series 372, Subseries 51, Item 166; "Dufferin Subway," April 22, 1915, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 1409; "Don Station," 10 Sept, 1927, City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1231, Item 72; "West Toronto Station," Aug 4, 1957, Toronto Public Library, S 1-4131B; "Riverdale Station," Jan 20, 1952, Toronto Public Library, S 1-776

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.

Discussion

16 Comments

Spike / June 6, 2014 at 01:08 pm
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If the people of the past had any foresight into the future, they would have realized that all of these stations should have been kept and not just torn down stupidly; we need these stations now for development of future HSR lines or even maglev lines similar to what's being used in Shanghai to go from the city to the airport (in fact, we could probably have built the Pearson Air Link Express as a LRT or maglev!)

Great article.
mike in parkdale / June 6, 2014 at 01:27 pm
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great post. Always a fan of the historical articles.

I wish the Parkdale station still existed because it would be a perfect stop between Pearson and Union
bill / June 6, 2014 at 01:36 pm
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That would have required some foresight.
W. K. Lis / June 6, 2014 at 02:08 pm
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South Parkdale station was at Jameson & Springhurst, was moved east to Dufferin, where the stairs still exist. It was replaced by the Exhibition GO Station, even further east.
Karen / June 6, 2014 at 02:10 pm
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How about Summerhill - which was restored but turned into an LCBO?
Ron Wm. Hurlbut / June 6, 2014 at 02:24 pm
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The West Toronto Station that you show is actually the CN Station of the same name which was located On Old Weston Road just north of Junction Road.

You are looking for this picture: http://www.bricoleurbanism.org/wp-content/uploads/2007/01/west-toronto-station_cpr_1957.jpg
Jacob / June 6, 2014 at 02:40 pm
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Well, that's something. I recently had a dream about Sunnyside Station, even though I had no clue that it had even existed or what it looked like.
Freddy F / June 6, 2014 at 03:55 pm
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Just to clarify, there were two West Toronto Stations (both now demolished):

The CN West Toronto Station north of the diamond and Old Weston Road: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=14213

The CP West Toronto Station, south of the diamond and north of Dupont: http://www.railpictures.ca/?attachment_id=14408
Paris Trout / June 6, 2014 at 04:21 pm
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Isn't Don Station at Roundhouse Park now?
Kat / June 6, 2014 at 06:14 pm
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You're right, Paris Trout, Don Station is at Roundhouse Park along with a few other railway buildings moved from around Toronto.
Freddy F / June 6, 2014 at 07:05 pm
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Don Station was moved from Todmorden Mills a number of years ago to Roundhouse Park downtown, in 2008 or 2009.

It would be nice if the writer of this article spent a little more time researching it. There were two West Toronto Stations, two Parkdale Stations.

Two additions: there's the often forgotten about CN St. Clair Station that was near Caledonia and St. Clair.

And there's one many pass by daily but don't know about: CN Exhibition Station at Dufferin St. just north of the Gardiner, where many people climbed up the grand concrete steps (that are still there, abandoned) to get to the CNE before the Exhibition GO Station opened to the east, not too long after GO service began.
james replying to a comment from Spike / June 7, 2014 at 09:11 am
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The problem was lack of foresight by generation after generation of municipal politicians. Every great city was planned 50-75 years in advance. Toronto unfortunately had morons for politicians and to this day still does.

What really makes me scratch my head ? when they were building the existing subway lines why no one thought " hey we have dug all this up.. lets make extra space for another line beside it ... you know in case the city say... gets bigger in the future. "
Robin Blackburn McBride / June 7, 2014 at 10:19 pm
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Great pictures, Chris. I appreciate your posts on Toronto history. Thanks!
Doug / June 7, 2014 at 11:22 pm
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A station we still have - sort of - is the second (1946) CP Leaside station at Millwood and Village Station Road. It's barely recognizable now with grey metal cladding on it, and was last used by Canadian Pacific Police. The province has even owned it for four years now, 'banked' for possible future use by GO.
Fig / June 9, 2014 at 10:44 am
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Great post BlogTo and thanks to the other readers who added useful information.
Blizzard replying to a comment from Freddy F / August 5, 2014 at 09:21 pm
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@ Freddy F .... That's gratitude for you. Somebody write a nice article on our lost stations and all you can do is whine. The cheap shot was unwarranted despite the errors.

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