tbm eglinton scarborough

People came up with the most hilarious names for Toronto's new tunnel boring machines

We've watched them emerge from Germany, sail the Atlantic Ocean, and arrive here in Toronto, and now, the trio of tunnel boring machines (TBMs) that will carve out Metrolinx's Scarborough Subway and Eglinton Crosstown West LRT projects officially have names.

A pair of naming competitions launched back in October 2021 sought out public submissions to name the trio of machines — one massive TBM to bore out the largest-diameter subway tunnel in Toronto history in Scarborough, and another two destined to tunnel the Eglinton West LRT extension.

Hundreds of submissions poured in, and after months of voting, shortlists were revealed that included some hilarious options, including notable submission (that ultimately failed to win) Diggy McDigface.

And while that loveable pun didn't take home the glory, another fantastic play on words inspired by the memeworthy "Boaty McBoatface" story is among the winning names.

Any classic glam rock fans out there will surely appreciate the winning selection for the Scarborough Subway Extension, its TBM officially crowned "Diggy Scardust" in a nod to the iconic David Bowie character Ziggy Stardust, and of course, the TBM's work area of Scarborough.

Submitted by Jean-Pierre Veilleux, the name was — like the failed Diggy McDigface bid — inspired by the amazing Boaty McBoatface saga, but with a local twist.

"Diggy was already on my mind and it took a half-second to get to 'Ziggy Stardust'. With the assonance of 'Star' and 'Scar' for 'Scarborough', the leap was pretty immediate," Veilleux told Metrolinx.

"Coincidentally, 2022 also marks the 50th anniversary of the release of David Bowie's 'The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars' album."

The winning names for the Eglinton Crosstown West Extension’s TBMs are less on the humorous side. Named Rexy and Renny, the pair of TBMs take a similar naming approach as the original Crosstown TBMs, named for the neighbourhoods they pass through.

Named for Renforth Station (Renny) in Mississauga and the Rexdale neighbourhood (Rexy) in northwest Toronto, the winning candidates are actually being awarded to more than one winner.

While Steven Sansano submitted both the names Rexy and Renny, another contest entry from Ryan Bignell also included Renny as an option. Metrolinx reports that both winners were excited to hear their entries made the grade.

Explaining his inspiration of the connection between transit and the community, Sansano told Metrolinx, "Public transit is very important to a community because it makes that community more accessible to the entire population and brings people closer together."

Lead photo by

Strabag via Metrolinx


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