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Happy 50th Anniversary, University Line!

A look back at a half-century of serving Toronto commuters.

20130306 firsttrain

The TTC quietly marked a historical milestone last week: the University subway line (that’s the part between St. George and Union stations) turned 50. Though it failed in its early goal of providing smooth, interlined service between the Yonge and Bloor-Danforth lines, the University line aided the commutes of government workers and financial district employees, and also provided a base for linking the Spadina line (which marked its 35th anniversary in January) to downtown. It has witnessed champagne toasts and fatal collisions. Now, construction is extending the University-Spadina line into York Region, a move that would have satisfied early proponent Frederick Gardiner, who saw a “U”-shaped subway system as the logical way to serve commuters.

Our gallery toasts the line’s birthday by taking a ride along its history. Click through for more details about its development over time.

Additional material from the November 1994 edition of Coupler; the July 17, 1957, July 18, 1957, November 17, 1959, March 17, 1962, February 7, 1973, and January 30, 1978 editions of the Globe and Mail; the December 27, 1957, November 16, 1959, March 7, 1962, February 27, 1963, February 28, 1963, January 27, 1978, January 28, 1978, and January 29, 1978 editions of the Toronto Star; and the February 28, 1963 edition of the Telegram.


  • Sean Marshall

    Great article. Interestingly, the University line didn’t have Sunday or late evening service until the Spadina Subway was opened in 1978 – so it was curious to read the service notice in the slideshow that the subway orginally operated at all times when first opened. Transit Toronto reports that the cutback in the subway’s operation was made in 1969, four years after it opened.

    The Avenue Road bus was extended to Union Station when the University Subway didn’t operate.

  • Hah

    The University line: another Toronto mistake. Too bad it wasn’t built under Spadina.

  • treptower

    Yay puny subway ‘system’! The 50th anniversary of the PROPOSAL of the DRL will be next!

  • sean pratt

    wonder when we’ll get sunday service before 9am or weekend service till 4am. 50 years from now?

  • Hunky69

    Oh yeah, after 50 yrs we got stuck with that one – in the meantime Moscow subway system grew to about 100 stations…go figure out them commies!