It's My Way or the Subway
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It’s My Way or the Subway

The movie mayor on how to make transit work.

Bert Xanadu is Toronto’s not-so-serious, fictional movie mayor.

When man first rose, millennia ago, to carve out primitive images on the walls of his homey and homely cave, he unwittingly hit upon all of the seminal elements of Toronto subway planning:

  • things that are in a kind of cave
  • crude lines on a wall, indicating no discernible routes
  • memories of going somewhere the hell away from here
  • impractical notions, unfunded, because money has not yet been invented

But we, the civilized and the partially-erect, must advance our thinking with regards to the measly subway offerings our citizens put up with, and, if there’s time, explain Chester station.

Planning is all well and good but has been known to lead to the inevitable. We must BUILD! We must dig, we must tunnel, we must hide the dirt, and we must build new subway lines—lines with names, with stations, with escalators, and with beautiful soundproof ticket booths that could easily house 15 to 20 people but hold only one.

This City Council, and those that have come before it, have sat on their duffs, affectionately rubbing their tokens and fingering their transfers all these years, while civilians wept seeing Joe or Johnny Bus Driver limp out in the unforgiving rain to re-affix the Dr. Victor Frankenstein electric poles to the shaky wires overhead. Undignified and, surely, electrically inadvisable.

Enough is enough, and sometimes it’s not even enough.

I have 63 durable men, each with their own shovel, sitting downstairs here at City Hall in an unused anteroom next to the Toilet Permit Appeals Committee Shoeshine Stand. These men, on my command, could be digging the next TTC subway tunnel within hours.

For God’s sake, just what I’m spending to feed them corned beef sandwiches and Tahiti Treat each day would fund a diamond-encrusted transfer machine!

But where to dig, you ask? Let’s not ask the politicians, the planners, the bureaucrats, and certainly not the people. Look where that got us: the Casa Loma manure-powered funicular railway and the unused Lower Bay subway station, and its inert cousins, Lowest Bay and Purgatorio West.

We should ask, of course, the somber geologists, who despite their almost complete lack of social skills, know precisely where we CAN dig, not where we SHOULD dig, and they have the brain savvy to avoid underground pools of socially unacceptable sewage or controversial buried treasure.

Indeed, I have already assembled these bespectacled rock-lovers, and with their nerdy help, have woven together a shovel-friendly planned network of new subway lines, guaranteed to open by 1980 or by 1992, one or the other.

These include:

  • Sherbourne-Summerhill High-Speed Ultra-Link Parabola
  • Islington-Ossington-Eglinton Trifecta Line
  • Coxwell-Almost to the Airport Milk Run
  • Rosedale to Eaton’s College Street Sales Only Line
  • Garbage Train Line to Pile Behind Fort York
  • Osgoode Hall to Hanlan’s Point Judge’s Nude Sunbathing Express

These many subway projects, and the wildly diggable ones to follow, will create thousands of jobs in this city—jobs that will then require even more transit, in an eternal cycle of construction and TTC service delays that will enrich this city, or at least distract it, for years to come.