ontario line

Here's how Toronto buildings are literally being moved to make way for the Ontario Line

Metrolinx has just released an impressive new video showing how, exactly, a nearly 100-year-old landmark in downtown Toronto will be incorporated into a new subway stop on the forthcoming Ontario Line subway.

In its latest update on the transit project's progress, the agency detailed how the historic bank building at the corner of Queen and Simcoe Streets will be transformed to serve as an entrance for the new Osgoode Station below, and how its most recognizable and significant parts will be preserved.

The structure at 205 Queen St. W, established in 1929, has heritage designation under the Queen Street Heritage Conservation District, but under provincial laws can be essentially completely gutted so long as specific defining aspects — like its limestone facades and door-flanking columns — remain.

To ensure these parts of the architecture live on for years to come despite the site being completely razed, teams installed metal retention towers along two exterior walls, just like it did with similarly old (and historially important) edifices at Queen and Spadina and King and Bathurst that will also house new TTC stations.

With the support of steel beams on either side, the walls are able to be moved safely away from heavy construction on the property. The east wall, in fact, was lifted and relocated all the way down the street, slowly but surely, with the help of hydraulics and rollers.

The clip shared to the Ontario Line X account on Tuesday afternoon show the painstaking and delicate process of shifting the 300-tonne wall around the tight and treacherous downtown core, moving southbound on Simcoe.

As Metrolinx writes, the wall will now live on a concrete pad, safely resting outside the construction zone until it is moved back closer to the new entrance's completion.

The Osgoode stop is just one of 15 on the 15.6-km-long line spanning from Exhibition Place to the former Science Centre, an eastern terminus that is now potentially due for a rename despite signage, maps and other elements bearing the name of the institution.

Although Metrolinx says it committed to "preserve building facades and heritage elements and continuing the story of Toronto's architectural history for a new era," there have been criticisms of its treatment of some beloved sites.

Out front of Osgoode Hall, where another of the same subway station's entances will be, a number of beautiful, decades-old mature trees were hastily removed so early into the work that the barren lot started sprouting new life while blocked off from public use.

Lead photo by


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