I don’t frequent Wellesley very much. Nearby Bloor is more useful to me, and my home stop is College, so unless the weather is truly lousy, it rarely seems worth it to enter and only travel one stop, either way.

Wellesley station bus platform interior
Wellesley’s circular bus platform waiting area

Consequently, I’ve never paid much attention to the station’s Modern graces, which have been engulfed and obscured by the hulking apartment parking structure later constructed on top of the station.

Consider the elegant circular bus platform at the north end, with its floor to high-ceiling glass panels. As originally built, this area was constantly blessed with natural light. But with the parking garage looming above, the windows now look out into an oppressive, dingy cavern whose suffocating accumulated bus fumes are evacuated by means of periodic blasts from large fans mounted at the sides of the platform.

Wellesley station front entrance
The swooping canopy at the station’s entrance

Or take a look at the indignities suffered by the canopy at the front of the station: re-clad with an anonymous brown siding, it has had its stylish end corners physically clipped off for no apparent reason.

Wellesley station platform
Wellesley station platform view

The station is named for Arthur Wellesley (1769-1852), perhaps better known as the (first) Duke of Wellington — aka the dashing fellow who defeated Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. He also served as a greatly unpopular English Prime Minister from 1828 to 1830.

In recent years, the Iron Duke’s namesake station has often featured advertisements targeted towards the LGBTQ demographic, as well as a rather cheap-looking WorldPride commemorative plaque installed in 2014. This is due to the station’s proximity to the Church and Wellesley gay and lesbian community.

Commemorative plaque at the TTC's Wellesley subway station.
What a disappointingly bland plaque.

Wellesley station was declared a heritage property by the City of Toronto in 1984. It opened March 30, 1954 as part of the original Yonge line. The facility holds the distinction of being the initial above-ground station design template presented to the TTC by John Parkin, featuring many key visual themes and decisions that have shaped how Toronto’s subway stations look and feel to the present day.

The TTC’s then-General Manager of Subway Construction and Engineering (and later Chief Engineer) W. H. Paterson briefly recalls the presentation and its outcome in his unpublished memoirs, Canada’s First Subway:
“The Commission enthusiastically approved the station design. We were given approval for glass faced masonry for the stations, in three different colours to designate the stations by colour. The name of each station would appear in large letters on the station wall, and a coloured band of glass-faced masonry trim just below the ceiling would carry the station name in smaller letters. This was most important in the minds of our senior officials, who recognized that in a crowded station the station names on the walls might not be visible to passengers on a train. By selecting four different, appropriate trim colours, and combining them with the three wall colours, a different colour combination was provided for each of the twelve stations on the route. 
[...] It was intended that the Wellesley Station would set a pattern to be followed in the design of other above ground stations—which it did... this meeting with the Commissioners, who were pleased with what they saw, gave us the necessary guidance to get on with the design of all the stations.”
A secondary entrance on Dundonald Street is slated to be built by 2017 [Update: the additional stairs and mezzanine were structurally complete by then, but the the building above with the incorporated entrance still had to be constructed. That happened in 2020]. Meanwhile the central support column in the bus platform waiting area will see the installation of an art piece (see the gallery for details).

Photo Gallery

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

Wellesley station photo gallery

Wellesley station transfer
Wellesley station transfer

More about Wellesley

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Wellesley

My next stop: Donlands
Previous station: Lawrence West

Alphabetical Station Selector