Scenario: You work at a soulless job in the Financial District in downtown Toronto. Every day at 8:15 AM you and a thousand white-collar workers shuffle off the train at King station, and slowly file toward the exits. It’s a modern version of that scene from Metropolis. Time for the rat race. At the end of every long day, you return to King and try and hop on a train before the crush begins.

Every day you wonder, “Why did they build this station so small?!”

King station concourse level
The main concourse level at King station. We’ve outgrown the original design.

In the early 1950s when the Yonge line was constructed, cut and cover was the construction method of choice, because it was cheaper than tunnel boring. This placed constraints on the size (and location) of stations. King station—oddly undersized to begin with—is an example of how we’ve adapted the initial design with additions such as the Commerce Court entrance in 1972. The subsequent years of downtown growth have only served to accentuate the feeling of close quarters.

Colourful Commerce Court corridor
Tile pattern in the humid Commerce Court entrance corridor

The southbound platform of King features a fun ‘exit only’ escalator. Occasionally you’ll see someone walk into it and then sheepishly realize it wasn’t the exit they wanted. Too late!

King station sidewalk exit
The ‘exit only’ sidewalk staircase from the southbound platform

King station opened on March 30, 1954 as part of the original Yonge line. It serves as a primary connection to the underground PATH system linking many buildings in the downtown core. And in case you were wondering exactly which monarch is the King: it’s King George III (1738-1820). Yes, we named one of the first streets in York after ‘mad King George’.

God save the King!

Photo Gallery

Tour the station, and view captioned historical images from its past (including glimpses of the original mint-green Vitrolite tiling, uncovered while the TTC updated its platform advertising brackets, in the spring of 2016):

King photo gallery

King station transfer
King station transfer

More about King

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: King

My next stop: McCowan
Previous station: Coxwell

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