Articles, photos, and anything else that involves trains or railways in our neighbourhood.

Then and Now: West Toronto Railpath

Here is the latest in the series of "Then and Now" photos. Do you have any old photos of this neighbourhood? Please feel free to get in touch if you're willing to share them!

These photos compare the view south from the Wallace Ave. footbridge. The first photo was taken in July 1985, when the Old Bruce Service Track (formerly Toronto, Grey & Bruce railway) was still being used by local industries. The building on the left was the old Nacan Products (National Adhesives) factory, and on the top-right you can see GO Transit's Bloor Station platform. The tracks also serviced Solways scrap metals.

In the current view, taken on May 9 2010, the GO train station is still there, but the Old Bruce Service Track has been ripped up and replaced by the West Toronto Railpath. The Nacan factory has been converted into residential loft condos (Wallace Station Lofts), and there are no longer any railway tracks leading into Solways. However, if you walk down the Railpath past Solways, take a close look at the fence betwen Solways and the Brownstones on Bloor: You'll see remnants of that old track poking through the trees. Update: As of 2013, Solways and the track remnant are gone.

Speaking of trees: The massive tree of heaven next to the Wallace Ave. footbridge partially obscures this view now. I'm glad I took the "now" photo early enough in the spring before the leaves completely obscured it.

Much has changed in the last 15 years. For more history about the Toronto Grey & Bruce railway, please visit Old Time Trains (trainweb.org). Many thanks to Gord Billinghurst and Old Time Trains for the historical writeup, and allowing me to use this photo here.

Old Bruce Service Track, from Wallace Bridge: Photo by Gord Billinghurst, July 1985Old Bruce Service Track, from Wallace Bridge: Photo by Gord Billinghurst, July 1985

Old Bruce Service Track, from Wallace Bridge, 1985

Old Bruce Service Track, from Wallace Bridge, 1985

Photo of the Old Bruce Service track, looking south from the Wallace Ave. pedestrian bridge, July 1985.

Photo by Gord Billinghurst, courtesy Old Time Trains (trainweb.org).

This track is now the home of the West Toronto Railpath, and the former Nacan (National Adhesives) factory on the left side is now a residential loft condo called Wallace Station Lofts. You can see an updated version of this photo from May 2010 here.

The Globe: City to complete West Toronto Railpath extension

West Toronto Railpath: The bridge over Bloor Street, Jane's Walk 2010West Toronto Railpath: The bridge over Bloor Street, Jane's Walk 2010

Today's Globe & Mail has an article about the possible future extension of the West Toronto Railpath.

A few quotes from the article:

A completed trail “would be amazing,” said Daniel Egan, manager of the city’s cycling infrastructure and programs. “What’s in place now doesn’t really go anywhere, but you can get a sense of what’s possible. ... You don’t need much imagination to understand how important it could be.”

But the completion of the trail into downtown is likely several years off, and still faces significant design and construction hurdles.

But if it is to become more than just a recreational trail, and open up a new commuting route for cyclists, the southern portion of the trail down to King and Strachan needs to be completed. That depends on whether room can be carved out alongside the rail corridor that is being expanded to provide more frequent GO train service and a rail link to the airport.

Metrolinx, the government agency planning the GO expansion, says it will try to make room for the railpath alongside its tracks. The city is willing to pick up the tab for construction costs, and will accommodate the trail on adjacent land or streets in the sections where it can’t be accommodated on rail land. And the grassroots group Friends of West Toronto Railpath, which pushed for years to get the path under way, is lobbying hard and helping with the design of the extended path.

Jane's Walk - Wallace Crossing

Jane's Walk - Wallace Crossing

Photo by Vic Gedris, 2010-05-02

Wallace Bridge: Looking into the Junction Triangle

Wallace Ave. Bridge: Photo by Vic Gedris, 2010-04-16Wallace Ave. Bridge: Photo by Vic Gedris, 2010-04-16

They say "a picture is worth a thousand words".

I was walking home from the Dundas West subway station on Friday evening and decided to take this photo from the Dundas St. side of the Wallace Ave. pedestrian bridge. I always enjoy the view from here, especially since it contains two of our neighbourhood's most iconic sights: The bridge itself, and the old G.E. Water Tower near Lansdowne Ave.

When I came home and took a closer look at the photo, it struck me that there are many things going on within the frame of this picture. Little bits of history, neighbourhood icons, and changes that are happening rapidly. Here's what I spotted. Maybe there are some things I missed?

"Rail of Light" at Scotiabank Nuit Blanche

The Junction Triangle will be hosting an art exhibit titled "Rail of Light" during the annual all-night Scotiabank Nuit Blanche art festival, on the night of October 2 2010. Here's a brief description from the Rail of Light website:

Metrolinx drops West Diamond appeal

The Toronto Star is reporting:

In a major victory for Toronto’s Junction community, Metrolinx has agreed to drop its appeal of a decision that limits the amount of noise it can make in the west-end neighbourhood.

The decision not to appeal ends months of tension around the nerve-jangling noise and vibration of pile-driving on the rail crossing known as the Toronto West Diamond near Dundas St. W. and Dupont.

In December, the CTA ordered GO to limit work hours and use quieter methods at the rail crossing. GO had already implemented quieter technology and shrouds over the pile drivers to try to reduce the noise.

Although this will delay the West Toronto Diamond grade separation project a little, it will provide the residents of the area around the diamond with some much-needed peace and quiet after the many months of pile-driving they have had to put up with.

Read the complete article over at The Star's website.

Get on board with the Junction Triangle Rail Committee

A new residents’ group has formed in the neighbourhood. The Junction Triangle Rail Committee will focus on the merits of electrification - what increased diesel traffic means for our community - and the construction of the Davenport Diamond overpass/separation on the Eastern side of the neighbourhood. As a group, we are all for more trains – but we strongly feel electrification is long overdue and Metrolinx must consider the impact of their expansion plans on residents in this neighbourhood. GO Transit and the Government of Ontario have been talking about electrifying the lines since the 1960s, but each decade the plan gets dismissed for being too costly. And each decade, the costs increase. But what about the long-term costs of diesel exhaust? Surrounded by rails, the Junction Triangle stands right at the centre of this controversy and deserves a voice. If you’re interested in joining the push for electrification right here in your own neighbourhood and want Metrolinx to practise responsible construction methods that won't drive people from their homes, please contact us by emailing rail@junctiontriangle.ca or through the online contact form.

Irmina Ayuyao
Bruce Gavin Ward
Scott Dobson
Vic Gedris
Kristen den Hartog
Kevin Putnam
Jeff Winch

The Junction Triangle Rail Committee is on the web at: www.junctiontriangle.ca/rail

Then and Now: Wallace Ave.

Here is the latest in the series of "Then and Now" photos. Do you have any old photos of this neighbourhood? Please feel free to get in touch if you're willing to share them!

These photos compare the view looking westbound on Wallace Ave., over the CN/GO tracks between Campbell Ave. and Ward St. The first photo is from May 25 1923, and the second photo was taken on March 28 2009. The building on the north side of the street hasn't changed too much, but the south side was re-born as D&M Building Supplies at some point, but even that is now vacant and waiting to be developed. Even more recently (last week!), that building was demolished to make way for the "Junction Triangle Lofts".

It's also interesting to see the old railway watchtower on the south side of the street, and the "new" townhomes on Rankin Cres. The fire hydrant is still there too, but it has changed in style, and probably colour.

Wallace Ave., May 25 1923: City of Toronto Archives. Fonds 1231, Item 1301Wallace Ave., May 25 1923: City of Toronto Archives. Fonds 1231, Item 1301

Public Forum: Diesel vs. Electric Rail Expansion

Please take note of this upcoming meeting at City Hall regarding the expansion of diesel train traffic in the Georgetown rail corridor on the western side of our neighbourhood.

Public Forum

All Aboard? Diesel, electric and clean air: Which way forward?

This forum is an opportunity for public discussion of the proposed Metrolinx expansion of the Georgetown South transit line and the rail link from Union Station to Pearson.

The Board of Health supports expanded public transit as a way to reduce vehicle traffic, but remains concerned about health risks and air quality impacts predicted with the proposed diesel rail expansion.

Forum Date: Monday, March 22, 2010
Time: 6:30 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Place: Council Chambers, Toronto City Hall, 100 Queen Street W.
Public Transit: Subway to either Queen (Yonge line) or Osgoode (University line) and walk over to Bay St. Alternatively, take the Bay bus #6 or #6A northbound from Union Station or southbound from the Bay subway station (transfer required). Disembark at Albert Street.

There will be a panel discussion, followed by a question period. Everyone is welcome to attend. Registration is not required.

Flyer for Public Forum on Metrolinx Expansion (PDF)

Background information on the proposed expansion.

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