Chester epitomizes my internalized concept of a neighbourhood TTC subway stop: functional, unassuming, and perhaps even austere. It doesn’t aspire to handle the pell-mell rush of heavy crowds; instead it embodies the quieter rhythms of the Greektown community to which it is central.

Chester station entrance
Chester station entrance hall

Opened in 1966, Chester is the least-used subway node along the Danforth segment of the line. Not being connected to any bus or streetcar routes—somewhat uniquely—it really only comes alive once a year, during the Taste of the Danforth street festival.

Chester station terrazzo floors
The untrammelled floors are buffed to a mirror finish

When I visited, every inch of the 50 year old station was spotless, albeit careworn and faded, and occasionally rust-damaged. Whoever the crew is that maintains Chester, they have pride.

The station doesn’t exhibit any artwork [see update], but a memorial plaque for Jimmy Trajceski hangs near the entrance. Trajceski often worked at Chester station, but was shot and killed while covering for another employee, at Victoria Park station in 1995. It was the first on-duty TTC slaying in Toronto’s history.

Commemorative plaque for Jimmy Trajceski
The plaque honouring Jimmy Trajceski

Chester, named for the former Village of Chester—annexed in 1909 to the City of Toronto—is a bland shell compared to many other TTC stations (it doesn’t even have a mezzanine level), but you get the feeling it is quietly appreciated by those who use it.

Chester station exterior
Chester station - exterior 

Update: In the fall of 2020, the TTC installed (along with long-awaited elevators) the murals for Katharine Harvey’s meditative ceramic tile mosaic art installation, Florae

One of two soothing views: Inviting peaceful contemplation.

Appearing at the top of each stairwell, Harvey’s murals depict native plants and flowers from the surrounding neighbourhoods and ravines. The play of light and colour imbues Florae with a sense of delicate movement within the stillness—as if you were within the scene, and a slight breeze was blowing...

In April 2021 (accompanying the opening of a sub-optimally located 2nd station exit) the work was completed with the addition of an integrated art glass above the main entrance doors. The time of day influences where this section is best viewed from; in the dark of evening, step outside for a treat; during daylight hours, enjoy the stained glass effect permeating the entrance lobby.

A soothing splash of colour in the darkness

Is it thematically anodyne? Yes—but the work suits Chester perfectly. I felt calm just being there. And you will, too.  

Photo Gallery

Tour the station, and view captioned historical images from its past:

Chester station photo gallery

Chester station transfer
Chester station transfer

More about Chester

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Chester

My next stop: Sherbourne
Previous station: Leslie

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