These days, Woodbine’s role as the original eastern terminus of the Bloor-Danforth subway line is mostly forgotten. Nevertheless, a few vestigial traces remain for the keen-eyed observer to pore over.

Streetcar tracks on Strathmore AVenue just north east of Woodbine station
Abandoned tracks on Strathmore allude to the former
streetcar loop connected to Woodbine station

Similar to Keele at the other end of the line, Woodbine sported a temporary integrated streetcar platform that connected directly with the station; this enabled a revised Danforth surface route out to Luttrell Loop. Half-buried tracks on Strathmore Blvd. physically hint at the setup.

The transfer passageway (that linked the streetcar platform to the station’s concourse level) still partially exists, but has long been walled over.

Mezzanine corridor at Woodbine station.
These doors conceal a storage room.

Since it was known that the Danforth line would continue to be extended east in a short time-frame, Woodbine was built with conventional side-loading platforms at the subway level—unlike, for example, Eglinton, with its central island configuration.

Subway train at the platform at Woodbine station
Westbound train about to depart

Woodbine station north west elevation.
Woodbine’s modest exterior

Accounts differ somewhat on the precise origin of the Woodbine name. A fuzzy approximation is that it comes from the first Woodbine Race Course at the foot of Woodbine and Queen, later called the Greenwood Raceway. The track may have been named for landowner Joseph Duggan’s Hotel, or, perhaps, his residence on the site—Duggan went on to found the Ontario Jockey Club—but some argue that the name was actually taken from the Woodbine Saloon on Yonge St., owned by William Howell, who briefly bought Duggan’s park land with a partner in 1874, to initially build the track. East-end historians, feel free to chime in and bicker.

Woodbine station opened its doors on February 25, 1966. It served as the east end of the Bloor-Danforth line until May 10, 1968, when Toronto mayor William Denison stood on the platform and closed a symbolic switch, marking the official opening of the extension east to Warden. The streetcar platform, no longer needed, was subsequently dismantled, gradually disappearing into fading memory, and the conversion of Woodbine into a humble neighbourhood way station was complete.

Update: As part of its Easier Access and 2nd Exit program, the TTC selected Woodbine for some new artwork. In the spring of 2019, Directions Connections Intersections by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins made its appearance, enlivening what was previously a drab bus platform with a series of metallic panels referencing “the covering of distance depicted as time and transport.”

A partial view of Directions Connections Intersections

Colourful vertical slats create a transitional rainbow effect when the work is viewed at acute angles—a nice touch. Is the piece too innocuous for the site? Maybe. But real credit has to be given for the yeoman’s effort of sprucing up what by definition is a place that people usually want to leave as soon as possible. 

Photo Gallery

Tour the station, and view captioned historical images from its past (including some nice images of the streetcar platform):

Woodbine station photo gallery

Transfer for Woodbine station in Toronto
Woodbine station transfer

More about Woodbine

TTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Woodbine

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