Eglinton West (Cedarvale)

I considered writing a simple one-word post for Eglinton West:

Wow.

View looking south towards the Eglinton West entrance doors
The massive coffered atrium ceiling: transformative and breathtaking

But that conflicts mightily with my ultracrepidarian instincts—I can’t help but rave about this station. Like Yorkdale, its sister stop farther up the Spadina line, Eglinton West was designed by Arthur Erickson to visually impress. And it worked.

Eglinton West station, main entrance
Eglinton West’s impeccably civilized entranceway

Eglinton West subway platform
Sci-fi platform. The western windows are frosted; the eastern ones are clear.

Everywhere you look, the station seduces you with soul and spirit. This is a place in its own right. On arrival, I instantly fell in love with the coffered ceilings, the repeating patterns of light and shadow, the soft brown tiling and the sandblasted concrete. Someone cared deeply about the interplay between the building spaces and the passengers moving within it.

The station features a pair of giant, opposing, 2-storey enamel murals by Gerald Zeldin, together entitled Summertime Streetcar. The murals punctuate a superb ‘hall’ midway along the subway platform.

Summertime Streetcar by Gerald Zeldin at Eglinton West
Half of Summertime Streetcar by Gerald Zeldin

Wandering around during multiple visits, I felt like a tourist on an architectural sight-seeing jaunt. It’s an environment that needs to be experienced physically, in person. And what a plethora of transitional staircases! I found angles and moments of grace everywhere.

(The strange exception being the execrable metal shed covering the electrical substation in the core of the station—view the gallery to understand what I mean.)

Eglinton West's green roof
Looking north over the station’s pioneering $850,000 green roof

The station’s green roof was a 2009 pilot project, which led the way to similar installations at Victoria Park and Dufferin. It is seeded with hardy low-maintenance sedums, and should double the lifespan of the previously leaky surface. My (unreasonable) beef is that it isn’t accessible to the public.

Strikingly individual, Eglinton West is a far cry from the anonymous boxes of the Bloor-Danforth line. But it leads one to ask, is it legitimate to expend so much energy on a lofty stand-alone architectural statement (as opposed to an integrated transit development where the station is part of a larger project)? That’s a valid question, which I’m ambivalent on answering. I want to both appreciate the building for what it is, and yet maintain a critical eye on its transit utility and drawbacks. When the TYSSE stations open for service, will I delight in their fanciful appeal, or decry their insalubrious locations (York University excepted)?

Probably both.

Another skylight view at Eglinton West subway station
Lovely and ominous.

Eglinton West will be renamed Cedarvale when the Crosstown line opens. I have a stubbornly regressive opinion here. Yes, a passenger riding the Crosstown along Eglinton might somehow be confused by arriving at a station called Eglinton West. And Cedarvale is certainly more mellifluous. But I dislike renaming anything—to heck with consistency or logic. ‘Eglinton West’ has been perfectly fine since 1978 for everybody on the 32 Bus—and it should stay that way.

Eglinton West station and the Allen Expressway exit
My recreation of a famous Spadina Subway opening day photo

The Network 2011 plan (circa 1985) once proposed that Eglinton West would serve as the interchange hub for an Eglinton West subway line. The project was eventually cancelled in 1995, after the election of Ontario Premier Mike Harris—and then we refilled the small section of tunnel that had been started under the station.

As a closing point to that sorry chapter in Toronto’s rapid transit history, the station will be connected to the Crosstown LRT as a transfer point, and will gain a pair of new entrances on the south side of Eglinton—a belated acknowledgment of the clotted traffic around the station that isolates it and hampers pedestrian access.

Eglinton West opened January 28, 1978 as part of the Spadina line. It’s undeniably among my favourites.

Photo Gallery

Tour the station, and view historical images from its past:
(hint: turn on the captions)

Photo gallery of Eglinton West subway station

Transfer:
Transfer for the TTC's Eglinton West subway station
Eglinton West station transfer

More about Eglinton West

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Eglinton West

Special Bonus Gallery: Crosstown TBM extraction - April 18, 2015

My next stop: St Clair
Previous station: Woodbine

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