Councillor Josh Matlow

Build The Relief Subway Line Now!

The Relief Line is seen on the map in red.




April 2017: The City has announced a new preferred alignment for the Relief Line that will continue along Eastern Avenue and turn north on Carlaw Avenue, instead of Pape. The new recommended alignment will be going to Executive Committee on May 16th and City Council on May 24th.



Original alignment in red, new proposed alignment in blue.


April 2016Council has asked Chief Planner Jennifer Keesmaat to continue studying a coordinated, network-approach transit plan that includes the the Relief Line subway. A preferred corridor from Pape Avenue to downtown via Queen Street or Richmond Street was also approved, with preferred alignment and stations to be brought to the June 28, 2016 Executive Committee meeting.


While the pressure and overcrowding at Yonge-Bloor must be addressed in the initial phase, the immediate next phase should be extending the line north to Eglinton.

March 2015: Please click here to watch a new video from Toronto’s City Planning Department about the need for a relief line and further information about the current public consultation process.



It’s time to stop the endless debates. Toronto City Council has a responsibility to use honest, evidence-based and fiscally responsible transit planning rather than rhetorical political posturing. We can’t keep waiting to improve transit and fight gridlock. Toronto needs the Relief Subway Line now.


printPDF Click here to download this information as a brochure to print and share.


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/Richmond Streets, and then west to Spadina Avenue. 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 Metrolinx CEO Bruce McCuaig, TTC CEO Andy ByfordToronto’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 1944, 1973, 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!


Hon. Steven Del Duca, Minister of Transportation

3rd Floor, Ferguson Block

77 Wellesley Street West

Toronto, Ontario M7A 1Z8


Hon. Kathleen Wynne, 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 22 MPs who represent us in Ottawa and 22 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 District MP (Canada) MPP (Ontario)
Beaches—East York Nathaniel Erskine-Smith Arthur Potts
Davenport Julie Dzerowicz Cristina Martins
Don Valley East Yasmin Ratansi Michael Coteau
Don Valley West Rob Oliphant

Kathleen Wynne

Eglinton—Lawrence Marco Mendicino Mike Colle
Etobicoke Centre Borys Wrzesnewskyj Yvan Baker
Etobicoke North Kirsty Duncan Shafiq Qaadri
Etobicoke—Lakeshore James Maloney Peter Milczyn
Parkdale—High Park Arif Varani Cheri DiNovo
Pickering—Scarborough East Corneliu Chisu Tracy MacCharles
Scarborough Centre Salma Zahid Brad Duguid
Scarborough Southwest Bill Blair Lorenzo Berardinetti
Scarborough—Agincourt Arnold Chan Soo Wong
Scarborough—Guildwood Hon. John Mckay Mitzie Hunter
Scarborough—Rouge River Gary Anandasangaree Raymond Cho
St. Paul’s Hon. Carolyn Bennett Eric Hoskins
Toronto Centre Hon. Bill Morneau Glen Murray
Toronto—Danforth Julie Dabrusin Peter Tabuns
Trinity—Spadina Adam Vaughan Han Dong
Willowdale Ali Ehsassi David Zimmer
York Centre Michael Levitt Monte Kwinter
York South—Weston Ahmed Hussen Laura Albanese
York West Judy Sgro Mario Sergio


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


Mayor John Tory
Ward 1 Etobicoke North Vincent Crisanti
Ward 2 Etobicoke North Rob Ford
Ward 3 Etobicoke Centre Stephen Holyday
Ward 4 Etobicoke Centre John Campbell
Ward 5 Etobicoke-Lakeshore Justin Di Ciano
Ward 6 Etobicoke-Lakeshore Mark Grimes
Ward 7 York West Giorgio Mammoliti
Ward 8 York West Anthony Perruzza
Ward 9 York Centre Maria Augimeri
Ward 10 York Centre James Pasternak
Ward 11 York South-Weston Frances Nunziata
Ward 12 York South-Weston Frank Di Giorgio
Ward 13 Parkdale-High Park Sarah Doucette
Ward 14 Parkdale-High Park Gord Perks
Ward 15 Eglinton-Lawrence Josh Colle
Ward 16 Eglinton-Lawrence Christin Carmichael-Greb
Ward 17 Davenport Cesar Palacio
Ward 18 Davenport Ana Bailão
Ward 19 Trinity-Spadina Mike Layton
Ward 20 Trinity-Spadina Joe Cressy
Ward 21 St. Paul’s Joe Mihevc
Ward 22 St. Paul’s Josh Matlow
Ward 23 Willowdale John Filion
Ward 24 Willowdale David Shiner
Ward 25 Don Valley West Jaye Robinson
Ward 26 Don Valley West Jon Burnside
Ward 27 Toronto Centre-Rosedale Kristyn Wong-Tam
Ward 28 Toronto Centre-Rosedale Pam McConnell
Ward 29 Toronto-Danforth Mary Fragedakis
Ward 30 Toronto-Danforth Paula Fletcher
Ward 31 Beaches-East York Janet Davis
Ward 32 Beaches-East York Mary-Margaret McMahon
Ward 33 Don Valley East Shelley Carroll
Ward 34 Don Valley East Denzil Minnan-Wong
Ward 35 Scarborough Southwest Michelle Berardinetti
Ward 36 Scarborough Southwest Gary Crawford
Ward 37 Scarborough Centre Michael Thompson
Ward 38 Scarborough Centre Glenn De Baeremaeker
Ward 39 Scarborough-Agincourt Jim Karygiannis
Ward 40 Scarborough Agincourt Norm Kelly
Ward 41 Scarborough-Rouge River Chin Lee
Ward 42 Scarborough-Rouge River Neethan Shan
Ward 43 Scarborough East Paul Ainslie
Ward 44 Scarborough East Ron Moeser


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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