Ever since its opening on March 29, 1974, Finch has served as the northern terminus for the Yonge line. It’s one of the busiest stations in the network, servicing nearly 100,000 passengers each day, mostly due to all the connecting bus routes that feed into it and the increasing density in the surrounding area. That’s a lot of people!

Finch station bus platform hall
Finch station’s modernist bus platform: concrete and glass

The station is a twisty and ofttimes barbarous maze, plagued by lengthy corridors and entrances in haphazard styles, leading to the station’s various sections as well as to the abutting office towers, condos, and the Finch GO Bus Terminal. There’s a swirling, shambolic atmosphere to the facility, with a constant, dizzying ebb and flow of people hurrying off in different directions.

Circular underground corridor junction at Finch station
Circle of power

When I first moved to the city many years ago, within my limited, subway-constrained, downtown-centric mental model of Toronto, Finch represented the mysterious outer limits of urban exploration; to venture beyond it was nigh unthinkable (a myopic perspective considering the station’s role as the area transit hub).

To be honest, I’m not sure much has changed for me. I guess the TYSSE extension to Vaughan (and one day, the Yonge North Subway Extension) will expand my horizons.

Krystyna Sadowska sculpture, Rhythm of Exotic Plants
Rhythm of Exotic Plants, by Krystyna Sadowska. A bit of a head-scratcher.

Opposite the main fare entrance gates, on the mezzanine level, hangs the large metal sculpture by Polish artist Krystyna Sadowska, Rhythm of Exotic Plants. Donated by Rio Algom to the TTC, the abstract bas-relief was actually created in 1965.

Personally, I struggle with abstract art such as Sadowska’s. What do you think of it? What meaning do you believe it conveys? Its placement in the context of Finch puzzles me—not that I’m complaining; it would be gratifying if more corporations commissioned and donated art for public display. I’d like to know more about the circumstances of its creation and subsequent donation—why did Rio Algom have it made? Why did they part with it? What led to the Commission mounting it at Finch? If anyone knows, feel free to comment.

[Update: I learned through subsequent research that the donation was Rio Algom’s response to the TTC’s 1977 solicitation for corporate financial contributions in support of art on the Spadina subway, then under construction. Instead of being merely one donor of many for that line, Rio Algom decided to gift us with this sculpture directly, thus taking sole credit.]

Finch station subway platform
Finch subway platform, long view

Elsewhere in the mezzanine, there’s also a pair of commemorative plaques from the opening (thanks Mel Lastman), and at the subway platform level you will find a plaque describing the historical beginnings of the area.

Finch is named for John Finch, the innkeeper whose two-storey hotel operated at the northeast corner of Yonge and Finch until 1873. A parkette immediately east of the station’s bus platform commemorates the site of ‘Finch’s Hotel’.

In 2020 the TTC installed new panelling for the platform walls, but inexplicably chose yellow for the colour, ignoring the station’s existing platform-level scheme, and clashing with the central island tiling. But as I’ve learned on this journey, ever since the 1980’s the TTC has exhibited a perverse predilection for capricious inconsistency, when it comes to station tile colours.

Photo Gallery

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

Finch station photo gallery

Finch station transfer
Finch station transfer

More about Finch

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Finch

Bonus video: Finch station commuter lot time-lapse

My next stop: Scarborough Centre
Previous station: Ellesmere

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