Councillor Josh Matlow

Relief Line

Relief Line2018-08-10T19:54:53+00:00

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What is the Relief Subway Line?

The Relief Subway Line would provide an alternative to our existing subway system that’s already overcrowded during rush hours, curb gridlock on our city’s streets and increase access to jobs and attractions. It is the evidence-based subway expansion project that would be an integral part of a “comprehensive network approach” that would most improve Toronto’s economy and residents’ quality of life.

Following consultation and study, council has approved an alignment that would see a new transit line move from Pape Subway Station south to Queen and west to Bay Street. Along with helping to relieve the extreme overcrowding at Bloor-Yonge station created by riders coming into downtown from the east, the alignment has a number of other advantages. They include:

  • Creating a dynamic multi-modal hub in the core
  • Creating an interchange centre at Nathan Phillips Square at City Hall
  • Creating a strong connection to the Financial District, including universities, hospitals and public institutions
  • Does not add to substantial pedestrian congestion at Union Station
  • Compliments both a planned transit priority corridor along King Street and the Regent Park Neighbourhood Improvement Area
  • Requires a shorter crossing of the Don River and minimizes soil stabilization needs, resulting in significant cost saving compared to other options

While the pressure and overcrowding at Yonge-Bloor must be addressed in the initial phase, the immediate next phase should see the line extended north to Eglinton Avenue. This must be in any plan approved by council.

For more information about the options evaluated by city staff and council, please click here.

As seen on the map above, the next two phases include (along with extending the line north to Eglinton), going west and then north to Bloor near High Park. However, while both should be completed, projected ridership numbers and the introduction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT bringing additional riders towards Yonge Street, suggest that the northern extension serving residents from North York and Scarborough should be a higher priority.

The Relief Subway Line is Toronto’s Real Top Transit Priority

What subway expansion project does former Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaigTTC CEO Andy Byford,  Toronto’s Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat and City Manager Joe Pennachetti all agree is Toronto’s top transit priority? The Relief Subway Line.

This City Council term has unfortunately featured transit debates long on rhetoric and short on facts. The Relief Subway Line is the one line that most transit experts agree is not only justified by high ridership but will very shortly become necessary if we are to avoid crippling overcrowding elsewhere on the subway system and curb gridlock on Toronto’s streets.

Photo of crowded Bloor platform on Yonge subway line.

As any resident who rides the subway knows, the Yonge line is already at capacity. During rush hour at stations like Eglinton it is common to wait for two or three trains before boarding and once on, you’re crammed in like a sardine.

The overcrowding is most critical at Bloor-Yonge station, which is already overcrowded with another 45% increase in users expected over the next twenty years. Even with signal improvements and the new, larger trains we can’t keep ahead of this growth.

Metrolinx, the provincial transit agency, has identified the Relief Subway as a priority for the next phase of projects to be started within fifteen years.

Toronto can’t wait that long.

Relief Subway Line infographic

100 Years of Delays and Inaction

The Relief Subway is a long considered transit route providing an alternative link between the suburbs and the downtown that has taken various forms in City and TTC planning documents over the past century. As early as 1910, City planners recognized the need for a ‘U-shaped’ line linking the eastern and western portion of the City with the core, and produced the map below.

Map of 1910 relief line subway plan for Toronto.

Plans and studies for a Relief Subway Line were also put forward in 19441973, and 1985. Unfortunately, these plans have done little more than collect dust on a shelf. In their 2012 Downtown Rapid Transit report the TTC once again made the case to construct the Relief Subway Line. We cannot afford to let another opportunity leave the station.

Take Action Now!

Please write to the Premier of Ontario, the Minister of Transportation, and your local representatives to tell them:

  • You are tired of waiting for two or three trains on the overcrowded Yonge line.
  • You want a transit system that will curb gridlock by being a quality and realistic alternative to driving a car.
  • The Relief Subway will mean a faster route in and out of downtown for residents from across Toronto (including Scarborough and North York).
  • The current transit network in and out of downtown will reach capacity by 2031.
  • Tax dollars should be spent on our real transit priorities.
  • Toronto needs the Relief Subway now!

Minister of Transportation

3rd Floor, Ferguson Block

77 Wellesley Street West

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8

Premier of Ontario

Room 281

111 Wellesley Street West

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1A1

Please copy my office at so that I can keep track of the numbers of emails sent.

Contacting Your Local Elected Representatives

Toronto has 25 MPs who represent us in Ottawa and 25 MPPs who sit in the provincial legislature at Queen’s Park. It is important to let your local MP and MPP know that the Relief Subway Line is an important issue to you.

Electoral DistrictMPP (Ontario)MP (Canada)
Beaches—East YorkRima Berns-McGownNathaniel Erskine-Smith
DavenportMarit StilesJulie Dzerowicz
Don Valley EastMichael CoteauYasmin Ratansi
Don Valley WestKathleen WynneRob Oliphant
Don Valley NorthVincent KeGeng Tan
Eglinton—LawrenceRobin MartinMarco Mendicino
Etobicoke CentreKinga SurmaBorys Wrzesnewskyj
Etobicoke NorthHon Doug FordKristy Duncan
Etobicoke—LakeshoreChristine HogarthJames Maloney
Humber River-Black CreekTom RakocevicJudy Sgro
Parkdale—High ParkBhutila KarpocheArif Virani
Scarborough CentreChristina MitasSalma Zahid
Scarborough NorthHon Raymond Sung Joon ChoShaun Chen
Scarborough SouthwestDoly BegumBill Blair
Scarborough—AgincourtAris BabikianJean Yip
Scarborough—GuidwoodMitzie HunterJohn McKay
Scarborough—Rouge ParkVijay ThanigasalamGary Anandasangaree
Spadina- Fort YorkChris GloverAdam Vaughn
Toronto – St. Paul’sJill AndrewCarolyn Bennett
Toronto CentreSuze MorrisonBill Morneau
Toronto—DanforthPeter TabunsJulie Dabrusin
University- RosedaleJessica BellChrystia Freeland
WillowdaleStan ChoAli Ehassi
York CentreRoman BaberMichael Levitt
York South—WestonFaisal HassanAhmed Hussen

The Mayor and your local Toronto City Councillor need to hear from you about the importance of the Relief Subway Line too.

MayorJohn Tory
Ward 1 Etobicoke NorthVincent Crisanti
Ward 2 Etobicoke NorthMichael Ford
Ward 3 Etobicoke CentreStephen Holyday
Ward 4 Etobicoke CentreJohn Campbell
Ward 5 Etobicoke-LakeshoreJustin Di Ciano
Ward 6 Etobicoke-LakeshoreMark Grimes
Ward 7 York WestGiorgio Mammoliti
Ward 8 York WestAnthony Perruzza
Ward 9 York CentreMaria Augimeri
Ward 10 York CentreJames Pasternak
Ward 11 York South-WestonFrances Nunziata
Ward 12 York South-WestonFrank Di Giorgio
Ward 13 Parkdale-High ParkSarah Doucette
Ward 14 Parkdale-High ParkGord Perks
Ward 15 Eglinton-LawrenceJosh Colle
Ward 16 Eglinton-LawrenceChristin Carmichael-Greb
Ward 17 DavenportCesar Palacio
Ward 18 DavenportAna Bailão
Ward 19 Trinity-SpadinaMike Layton
Ward 20 Trinity-SpadinaJoe Cressy
Ward 21 St. Paul’sJoe Mihevc
Ward 22 St. Paul’sJosh Matlow
Ward 23 WillowdaleJohn Filion
Ward 24 WillowdaleDavid Shiner
Ward 25 Don Valley WestJaye Robinson
Ward 26 Don Valley WestJon Burnside
Ward 27 Toronto Centre-RosedaleKristyn Wong-Tam
Ward 28 Toronto Centre-RosedaleLucy Troisi
Ward 29 Toronto-DanforthMary Fragedakis
Ward 30 Toronto-DanforthPaula Fletcher
Ward 31 Beaches-East YorkJanet Davis
Ward 32 Beaches-East YorkMary-Margaret McMahon
Ward 33 Don Valley EastJonathan Tsao
Ward 34 Don Valley EastDenzil Minnan-Wong
Ward 35 Scarborough SouthwestMichelle Holland
Ward 36 Scarborough SouthwestGary Crawford
Ward 37 Scarborough CentreMichael Thompson
Ward 38 Scarborough CentreGlenn De Baeremaeker
Ward 39 Scarborough-AgincourtJim Karygiannis
Ward 40 Scarborough AgincourtNorm Kelly
Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge RiverMigan Megardichian
Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge RiverNeethan Shan
Ward 43 Scarborough EastPaul Ainslie
Ward 44 Scarborough EastJim Hart

If you don’t know the name of your electoral district you can search by postal code here and if you don’t know the name of your municipal ward you can search by street address here. You are also very welcome to write or call me at (416 392 7906) for assistance contacting your local representatives.

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