A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[URBAN NOTE] “The demise of the first “air rights” project in Toronto”

Spacing Toronto’s Chris Bateman looks at the Davisville Centre, a failed effort at a shopping mall to be built above the Davisville subway yard in the 1960s.

When Toronto’s first subway line opened in 1954, much of track north of Bloor Street was located in a shallow, open trench.

The money-saving open cut construction technique was an old one: The Metropolitan Railway, which became the Metropolitan line of the London Underground, used the same method to cut through the centre of London in the 1860s.

While it saved money versus conventional tunnelling, the result for Toronto was a large scar on the east side of Yonge Street from Church Street to Eglinton Avenue.

The most conspicuous outdoor area was in the Yonge and Davisville area, where the TTC built its service yard and train storage area. There, a tangle of tracks radiated out from the subway line, covering an area of approximately 10 acres.

Starting in the 1960s, the TTC began covering up some of the trenches due to safety concerns and noise complaints from neighbours. Between St. Clair and Summerhill stations, the line was hidden beneath a grass-covered deck (look out the window of the train and you can still see the sloped sides of the original cutting.)

Also in 1960, a Montreal-based development firm proposed the first major “air rights” development in Toronto. The Davisville Shopping Centre was to be built on stilts over the Davisville subway yard, covering almost all of the TTC tracks and buildings.

Advertisements

Written by Randy McDonald

January 22, 2017 at 9:15 pm

%d bloggers like this: