Downtown section of Queen Street to be closed for years starting next week

Drivers and transit users will be facing a major detour in downtown Toronto starting next week — and it’s going to last for years.

Queen Street will be fully closed to traffic between Bay and Victoria streets starting Monday, May 1, to accommodate work on a new station for the Ontario Line subway.

The stretch of Queen is scheduled to remain off limits to vehicles for at least four and-a-half years, until sometime in 2027. Pedestrians will still be able to walk along Queen and north/south vehicle traffic on Yonge Street will be unaffected.

The city says the extended closure will help “expedite construction” of the Ontario Line by about a year.

“If we did it in a partial closure here, partial closure there, it would take us another year to get this station completed,” says Metrolinx spokesperson James Wattie. “The way we’re doing it now provides a bit more predictability.”

Ontario Line construction

Source: Metrolinx

The closure will also mean a major change for transit riders.

The 501 streetcar will divert onto Dundas at McCaul Street in the west and Broadview Avenue in the east, until some time in 2024. That’s when the TTC hopes to complete permanent relief tracks on Richmond and Adelaide between York and Church streets.

Additional buses will also be running along Richmond and Adelaide until the relief tracks are complete. The buses will run between Bay and Church streets,


Once the work is completed, transit riders will be able to transfer from TTC Line 1 to the Ontario Line underground at Queen Station.

“We are building a new station underground,” says Wattie. “We don’t want to impact the Line 1 service, so that’s why we’re closing down the road.”

To prepare for the traffic chaos that will inevitably follow the closure of a major downtown thoroughfare, the City announced Priority Travel Routes that will be “kept clear of as many road restrictions as possible.”

The first priority route will be on Dundas Street from Jarvis to Bathurst, starting on May 1, to coincide with the start of construction on Queen. The stretch of Dundas will be designated as a priority route until summer 2024, the city says.

The City will announce more Priority Travel Routes as construction on the new subway line progresses.

The almost 16-kilometre, 15-stop Ontario Line was first unveiled by the PC government back in 2019, expanding on the city’s initial Relief Line proposal.

When completed, the line will connect with 40 other transit routes, including GO train lines, TTC subway and streetcar stops and a new east-west light rail line that is currently being built.

With files from Michael Talbot and Kyle Hocking

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