The Sheppard line of Toronto – More than just empty subway cars

Adam McDowell files from North York in a story to be published in tomorrow’s Toronto Magazine:

That was pretty scary when David Miller threatened to shut down the Sheppard subway line, wasn’t it? At any rate, the gesture was meant to shock, even if some people’s reaction to the news was, “Oh yeah. I forgot there was a subway on Sheppard.” Opened in 2002 and derided ever since as a subway to nowhere, the Sheppard line represents, depending on whom you ask, a waste of taxpayer money, an example of poor transit planning or a testament to Mel Lastman’s ability to see his will fulfilled.

While a decision on the proposal to shut down the line has been postponed until September and City Hall watchers are 99% sure Miller and his allies are bluffing, just the threat of its demise made us appreciate it more — or at least want to appreciate it more. Here’s what transit riders could miss if the Sheppard line were to close its doors.

Yonge/Sheppard Station Where would you like to go for lunch? Boston Pizza? The Keg? McDonald’s? Or how about Joons for Korean or Deli Viet for Thai and Vietnamese? With its dozens of affordable, unchallenging lunch options, it seems as though this area’s entire purpose is to feed civil servants who work in the imposing federal government building at 4900 Yonge St. Bon appétit, bureaucrats!

Bayview Station Upscale shopping centre Bayview Village seems to get bigger every year, inflated by the influx of ugly condo dwellers into the area. I mean the condos are ugly, not their residents. They’re just overdressed.

Bessarion Station Suburban Bessarion Road has to be the quietest street to have a subway station named after it, but that will change as the massive Concord Park Place condo development takes shape over the next decade. Burger Hut at 804 Sheppard Ave. E. serves up great peameal bacon sandwiches as well as boerewors sausages, a nod to the area’s South African community. Its strip plaza neighbour Baxter’s sells biltong, chutneys and other South African treats.

Leslie Station They may as well have called it Ikea station, and yet a mess of bridges, train tracks and dead ends makes it all but impossible to walk from the station to the Swedish furniture retailer. Thankfully, there’s a shuttle to zip you to the store (details at ikea.com). Still, good luck lugging your new Extorp home on the TTC.

Don Mills Station Even in the midst of a major renovation, the relative calm of Fairview Mall could leave you wondering why you ever elbow your way through Yorkdale or the Eaton Centre. Fairview’s tranquility is why you have to come here to get the last one of that shirt in medium.

— Photo of Bessarion Station from David Topping’s TTC series.

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