Sherbourne

Sherrr-bourrrrne! For no reason at all, I always pronounce it with an exaggerated French accent, even though its derivation is English — Samuel Ridout named the corresponding street in 1845 after Sherborne, his birthplace in Dorset, England (no one knows why the spelling changed).

Sherbourne station Glen Road exit
Sherbourne station’s Glen Road exit features a pleasant mural (since vandalised)

The station opened in 1966 to serve the St. James Town neighbourhood as well as southern Rosedale. It recently underwent a couple of notable changes that alter its character and how the station 'feels', compared to when I first toured the space.

Up until August 2020, Sherbourne housed the TTC’s Photo I.D. Centre, a processing facility whose usage waned in the last decade. It used to be that if you were a student, a visit to Sherbourne was the primary way to obtain a photo ID or purchase the next month’s pass. And prior to August 2005, regular Metropass users also had to present a photo-ID, obtained from this centre. Policy and operational changes have reduced the demand for this service. The Photo I.D. Centre has since been moved to Bathurst.

Photo ID facility at Sherbourne station
Line up here.


In October 2018, Rebecca Bayer’s playful community mosaic, The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum of Its Parts was installed, immediately prior to the start of construction for new elevators.

Colourful ceramic tile panels welcome commuters

Conceptually, the piece is “inspired by the vibrant communities that merge together every day at Sherbourne station”, and involves 39 vertical mosaic panels that incorporate geometric patterns created by local members of the surrounding multicultural neighbourhoods — reaffirming the station as a shared space.

Look for the spiral!


Over 14,000 triangular hand-made, hand-laid, recycled glass tiles were needed to create the piece. 

I love it. The community input distinguishes this work from most TTC public art, and the name of The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts accurately captures its aesthetic intent. 

Full disclosure: I attended some of the public workshops, and engaged in the collaborative pattern creation process myself — so I have a personal connection to the piece. It was a fantastic, fun experience that was shared by the hundreds of participants. 

Whimsy and delight!
 

The panels quietly lighten up the atmosphere (without being overwhelming) with their mix of colours that reference the palette of Tom Thomson — the renowned Canadian landscape painter who had a studio nearby in the Rosedale Ravine.

[My enthusiasm for The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts is such that I’ve had to grudgingly reassess my previously dour appraisal of another TTC art installation, Ampersand, at Leslie station, which also incorporated public input.]

See the photo galleries at the end of this post — I’m excited to include a special bonus gallery on the massive amount of work that went on behind the scenes to make The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts.

Meanwhile, a pair of photographs hang at the main entrance that provide a 'then and now' contrast for the corner of Bloor and Sherbourne.


Bloor and Sherbourne looking east in 1920
Bloor and Sherbourne, looking east, 1920. Note the Dominion Bank building on the left, still standing today. Courtesy City of Toronto Archives.

At the eastern end of the platform, the exposed mass of piping and wiring in the ceiling gives testament to the hidden organization of the subway. There’s a lot going on, that isn’t necessarily apparent at first glance.

Electrical piping at Sherbourne station
Tidy lines.

Local charms

Several points of interest lie close to Sherbourne station (see gallery for photos):
  • If you’re a Torontonian of a certain age, the primary reason you head to Sherbourne is to stumble over to the venerable Phoenix Concert theatre down the street to take in some music.
  • The station’s unmanned Glen Road entrance used to feel quite sketchy in the evening. This was due to the impressive but forlorn row of abandoned townhouses on Glen Road, but that’s changing as those houses are finally being redeveloped.
  • The Glen Road exit also leads to a wonderful footbridge across the Rosedale Valley (don’t get mugged in the tunnel!). 
  • The Dominion Bank building on the north west corner of Bloor and Sherbourne was designed by John Lyle, and constructed in 1911.

Photo Galleries

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

Sherbourne station photo gallery

Special Bonus Photo Gallery—Creating The Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its PartsThe Whole Is Greater Than The Sum Of Its Parts photo gallery

 

Transfer:

Sherbourne station transfer
Sherbourne station transfer

More about Sherbourne

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Sherbourne

My next stop: Bathurst
Previous station: Chester

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