sunnybrook stairs opening

This Toronto public staircase has been complete for years and still hasn't opened

Toronto is less known for its public staircases than famously hilly cities like Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and aside from the obvious landmark in the Baldwin Steps, most of the 416's public stairs inconspicuously scale ravine slopes between the street grid above and parkland below.

But the city's newest public staircase remains unscaled (at least officially) and has remained fenced off since it completed construction.

Years ago.

Four years since the previous staircase's demolition and two years since its replacement reappeared, there is still no navigable link from the south side of Eglinton Avenue East to E.T. Seaton Park North below.

The reconstructed staircase was built in early 2020 to serve the still-unopened Sunnybrook Park Station on the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, a massive infrastructure investment initially intended to be up and running by now, but notoriously delayed by a never-ending series of issues.

It offers some obvious improvements over the previous stairs, including a bike trough accommodating riders climbing up to Eglinton or descending down to the park.

But too bad, you can't use it yet. Sorry.

Pedestrians looking to walk from one end of the roughly 40-metre-long staircase to the other are currently forced to walk approximately 960 metres — almost a full kilometre — on a convoluted path across Eglinton, north on Leslie Street, west and south through Sunnybrook Park and a parking lot.

But fear not, as there are plans to open the bridge in the near future, according to a representative of Crosslinx Transit Solutions (CTS), the consortium responsible for construction of the Crosstown line and supporting infrastructure.

Crosslinx's Kristin Jenkins tells blogTO that "The staircase has remained closed to the public due to a redesign of the south Eglinton Avenue sidewalk that intersects with the stairs."

"Pedestrian safety issues and installation of the handrails meant that the sidewalk had to be widened. This work is done and the handrail installation to connect the staircase to the sidewalk was completed yesterday, Aug 31st."

Jenkins says that "CTS is now in the process to handover the staircase to the city. The staircase will be opened for public use once the city inspects it and accepts the staircase."

Lead photo by

Rudy Limeback

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