How can you discuss this station, without mentioning the Keele (Midas) Wall? A surprise visual treat for subway travellers, the landmark wall is renowned for the colourful, large-scale, highly-skilled graffiti works visible to passengers looking south from the train on the eastern approach/departure. 

Full view of the Keele graffiti wall
The Keele Wall, with its changing graffiti under the sodium lights

Keele wall graffiti example
Wall detail: a chrome fantasy, above a cubist explosion

[March 2022 update: the Wall is coming down! The old garage is making way for a condo development. It’s an odd sensation to watch a long-familiar feature disappear. What will replace the view, I wonder?]

It’s like when you cross the Viaduct over the Don Valley, en route to Broadview: the urge to glance outside is nigh irresistible.

The best conditions under which to inspect the wall up-close, are around midnight, preferably in the summer months. Bereft of cars during that stretch of day, the Keele parking lot (onto which the wall faces) is blanketed with an eerie, desert stillness, broken only by the infrequent rumbling passage of the trains overhead.

The somnolent quietude fosters a meditative contemplation of the energetic artistry on display. Don’t worry, you won’t get mugged—you’ll hear anyone approaching from a mile away.

Keele station as viewed from the south-east parking lot
Eastbound train hurtling towards the core, from Keele’s elevated platform, above a nighttime urban desert

The showcase visibility of the wall is an accidental consequence of Keele’s elevated construction. A valley along the subway route west of Dundas West meant that it was more practical to erect Keele high above the ground, rather than try to bury beneath it. As a result, the station looms over the neighbourhood, like a bulky, concrete, beached whale gasping for its last breath.

Keele subway station platform
The column-free platform surprises with its open, spare minimalism

Yet this unwieldy shell conceals a treasure within: Keele’s interior platform is a crystalline expression of model simplicity. The lack of columns and a welcome paucity of advertisements appeal strongly to my prejudice towards reductive order.

Keele station platform view of old speed ramp opening
The cutout for the moving ramp from the station’s former streetcar loop can still be seen on the eastbound (south) wall.

Keele was named for William Conway Keele, a Junction-area landowner who built the Carlton Park Race Course, where the first Queen’s Plate was run in 1860.

Keele station opened for service as the western terminus of the Bloor line on February 25, 1966. A temporary streetcar loop provided surface service westwards to the Jane Loop, until the extension of the subway to Islington in 1968.

Photo Gallery

Tour the station, and view captioned historical images from its past. Transit history fans will enjoy the archival glimpses of the station’s (long-abandoned) moving ramp and the streetcar area, in the gallery:

Photo gallery for Keele subway station

Keele station transfer
Keele station transfer

More about Keele

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Keele
Bonus: Keele Wall painting (video)

My next stop: Warden
Previous station: Eglinton

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