Archives for posts with tag: transportation

The Bloor-Danforth line is almost completely underground east of Landsdowne Station, all-the-way to Kennedy Station in Scarborough.

Looking out the subway windows between these stations, the view is limited to moving darkness, punctuated by quickly passing light and glimpses of tracks travelling off main routes to unknown service stations and emergency loops.

This is the case for most of the line. A repetitive scene that eases one’s transition from tired to sleeping.

But between Castle Frank and Broadview stations the subway is catapulted out of the darkness, and over the Don Valley, travelling under and along the spectacular Bloor Street Viaduct.

I love this moment. And recently travelling often to the east end for Art of the Danforth has given me the opportunity to enjoy it regularly.

As the sound of train moving along  tracks supported by solid ground beneath drops, I anticipate the expansive views of the city in the moments after leaving Castle Frank Station. I relish the effect of the skyline slowly emerging from the western banks of the Don Valley. I take pleasure in feeling myself hovering above the valley.

But what I enjoy most is the effect this portion of the subway route has on fellow passengers.

Awakened from their subterranean somnambulism, the expansive valley views cause a stir in fellow riders. Heads are lifted from their slumber, and curious passengers turn their gaze outward, investigating the presence of a bona fide beautiful view from the subway car.  It’s a moment when the subway’s passengers are unified in alertness toward the sudden awareness of their surroundings. It lasts for more than a moment but less than a minute — and quickly the subway tunnels itself back into the underground before Broadview Station.

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Last night, I rode the subway from Bayview station on the Sheppard line to Bathurst station on the Bloor-Danforth line, which requires to transfers and thus three subways in total.

The experience was wonderful. At 1am, the subways were packed full of festive Torontonians, some quiet, some more rowdy shouting “Happy New Year!” to the passers-by, and chatting up their fellow subway riders. Social conventions of riding public transit with as little interaction with others as possible was thrown out the window. Unlikely groups of riders were sharing laughs together and taking pictures and enjoying themselves.

All I could think while riding the subway last night was how important this was for the city. The ttc was free from midnight to 4am to celebrate and curb impaired driving, and as a result, thousands of Torontonians shared a New Year’s Eve experience together. It is these critical moments where the collective unconsciousness, and the collective experiences of the urban manifest themselves. Living in a city and describing it’s feeling is often an abstract phenonmenon that we can’t quite put our finger on. But at a moment when people from all walks of life are riding together in metal trains underground at an unlikely hour, this is when the city presents itself to us, and we all feel excited to participate in it.