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Off the Rails

An abandoned monorail station at the Toronto Zoo
For people of a certain age, memories of the Toronto Zoo begin with riding the old monorail. Only it wasn’t the old monorail back then—it was the super-futuristic monorail. After a 1994 accident that injured about 30 people, the train’s track was pulled up and some of the guideway removed. But if you know where to look, most of the route remains visible as it snakes through the grounds of the zoo.
The monorail disappears into the woodsThe abandoned station above is in the Canadian Domain, midway between the grizzlies and the enormous bison enclosure. The guideway remains intact under all that foliage at the edge of the platform, even though the vegetation gains ground every year. Other sections are still in pristine condition, almost as if the next train is only minutes away. Watching the monorail be consumed by nature is a small preview of what the world would be like without us.
Take a Google Maps tour of the monorail starting here. The train ran on the track in the center of the map curving down to the right. You can trace the remnants of the route three-quarters of the way around the zoo before it finally peters out, passing by two abandoned but still-standing stations along the way. A third remains in service near the main entrance, used for the monorail’s rather pedestrian replacement, the Zoomobile.
In addition to visiting the Canadian Domain station in person, you can catch a glimpse of the other lost station if you take the Zoomobile ride: look down and to the right as you cross over a bridge after the Americas Zoomobile stop. Pay attention transit fans—this is what the Sheppard subway could look like after sitting unused for a few years.
Oh, and of course, an abandoned monorail isn’t the only thing to see at the zoo; the animals are worth a trip too.

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