TTC retro signs

TTC is bringing retro style signs back to Toronto subway stations

The outside of Toronto's subway stations are getting a new look... in the form of a much older look.

Ian Dickson, the Toronto Transit Commission's manager of design and wayfinding, announced on Twitter this week that we could expect to see "more retro-style TTC Keystone pylons" installed across the subway system this summer.

To illustrate what he meant, Dickson shared two side-by-side photos of Museum Station on the east side of University Avenue, just south of Bloor, both featuring a pylon design that dates back to the 1920s.

The first photo, taken in the 1960s, shows the street-level subway entrance signs in black and white against the backdrop of what was then called the Park Plaza Hotel.

The second photo, taken in 2018, shows similar signs, but with a more modern TTC logo atop each pole.

Signs like this were also recently erected at Eglinton and Bloor-Yonge stations, according to Dickson, but one retro-style subway sign had already been kicking around downtown for more than a decade.

The TTC actually started testing the public's reaction to these simplified subway entrance signs back in 2008 by installing one outside Osgoode Station, which boasts a wide variety of sign designs, as this photo gallery by transit enthusiast Ryan Flores shows.

At the time, the transit agency said that the old design would become a new standard for subway stations in Toronto, if reactions were positive.

Ten years later, that's exactly what's happening (though it should be noted that "side mount" retro pylon signs have already been rolled out in some areas.)

Dickson confirmed that the new/old subway entrance pylon design has indeed become the new standard moving forward.

Signs that have gone missing from Dundas West, Old Mill, Jane, Spadina, Bayview and other stations will all be replaced by the revamped 1920's-style sign, he said, either this year or next.

Lead photo by

Lauren O'Neil


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