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August 13, 2019updated 20 Jul 2021 1:24pm

Letter: Toronto’s subway station names are a total nightmare

By Alan Jackson

Editor’s note: We haven’t published a good letter in a while, but luckily here’s one now. In the past we’ve often delved into the question of how cities name their metro stations. Last week, our research into this important matter generated this response from Canada.

Dear CityMetric,

I happened across some of your articles on metro station names, and thought you might be interested in, or more likely recoil in horror from, the map of the Toronto subway system.

The Toronto subway lines run predominantly under a single street for most of their length. The Eastern branch of line 1 runs under Yonge Street, while line 2 runs entirely under Bloor Street from Castle Frank westwards and under Danforth Avenue from Broadview to Main Street.  The stations are then almost all named after the cross streets. 

The Toronto Subway map. Click to expand. Image: TTC.

While this was probably fine when the Yonge Street branch of line 1 was the only line, it now means we have horrors like three stations with variations on “Lawrence” despite Lawrence East being 12km from Lawrence and another 4km from Lawrence West. And yes, we have a station named after a numbered highway.

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Even the Toronto Transit Commission seem to be belatedly realising this might be a problem with the new light rail line running under/along Eglinton Avenue. It’s named the stops at Victoria Park Avenue and Warden Road after ther nearby roads – “O’Connor” and “Hakimi Lebovic” respectively. 

Best regards,

Dr Alan Jackson

Centre for Planetary Sciences

University of Toronto


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