What you don't know about Toronto
Toronto is over 180 years old. That’s older than the entire country. With its history comes some pretty cool hidden secrets. Read on to find out some stuff no one has ever told you about the 6ix.
1) Secret subway areas
The TTC subway system has been around since 1954, and is always evolving. Most recently, additions to the Yonge-University line reached completion. But sometimes, projects don’t make the final cut. What happens to the areas that get abandoned? Let’s find out!
Canadian music star the Weekend is but one person to have visited the secret subway system. Underneath the subway we know and use today, there is a second. This subway was created in 1966 and opened for 6 months publicly before closing. It would take passengers from Eglington down and around the Union bend, then back up bypassing St. George and heading east. Now this station is used to transfer materials, test out new subway signs, and as a set for many movies and tv shows.
Now while the second subway under bay may not come as a surprise, surely you didn’t know about the elusive queen west , or Allen station. This station was supposed to be a part of the queen st subway line but the station was left abandoned shortly after the project was scrapped. It is located just near the city hall. Interestingly enough, the queen st line was in talks even before bloor danforth. What’s even more interesting is that the station wasn’t designed for subways, it was actually designed for streetcars. While this project was scrapped in the 40s, it was on the table all the way up to the 70s!
Your third surprise subway is Allen station. Before the Harris government cancelled the Eglington subway line in 1995, work had already begun on what was to be Allen station. The work on this particular station was much less substantial than that of lower Queen or lower Bay, but after being cancelled, it still needed to be filled in. This area isn’t accessible anymore but is a cool part of TTC history.
The final Subway hiding spot is also located on the Yonge-University line, more specifically at Lawrence station. Not open to the media, there is a hidden attic which at one point was an exit to Bedford park. This area now lays dormant and inaccessible to any TTC customers, or media. However, the idea that there is a secret section above a station the size of a soccer field laying empty is simultaneously alluring and unsettling.
2) Buried bridge at Trinity Bellwoods
Speaking of secret buried places, bet you didn’t know why Crawford st becomes so narrow at Dundas. After reading this section, you’ll never be able to drive over it the same. Well, under trinity bellwoods park, there is a buried bridge that you definitely didn’t know about. So where did this bridge come from? In 1914 construction began on a bridge that allowed cars to cross over a ravine. The entire area was filled in with dirt from digging out the Bloor-Danforth subway line. Areas of the park still flood where the ravine once was. In particular, this can be seen from the “dog bowl” located in the middle of the park.
The bridge isn’t the only distant memory Trinity bellwoods provides though. This park once used to have dozens of rides making up a mini amusement park, and was once even considered to be the home of a baseball diamond.
3) Half sawed house
This next Toronto hidden gem is straight out of an indie movie or even a Dr. Suess book. 54 ½ St. Patrick st is only half a house. Yes, half a house, sawed directly in half with extreme precision. While it looks, and definitely is a little bit odd, the story behind it might allow it to make a little more sense in your head. This now vacant home was once a part of a 6 home housing unit built between 1890-1893. Two of these semi detached homes shared one roof, so when the owner of 54 ½ St. Patrick refused to sell to a developer in the late 50s, they just built around it. Shockingly, the house was split quite precisely, with construction teams disturbing not even a hair of the original wood framing. Additionally, you may think it’s odd that the number of the house is 54 and a half , but really, each of the housing units was numbered in an odd way; there was 52 ½, 54, 54 ½, 56, 58, and 60. Since 2018 the home has gone under some major cosmetic changes, but structurally is the same as it was right after the split.
4) Toronto has 7 major league sports teams
While this isn’t a secret so to speak, it is something not a lot of people take the time to think about. Toronto has a major league team in just about every sport, from basketball to lacrosse, we have it all.
In terms of basketball, it’s hard to forget about our 2019 champions the Toronto Raptors. Fun fact, the team was given their name by fans after the electric buzz surrounding the Jurassic park movies. This NBA team is the only Canadian team in the league, after the Vancouver Grizzlies relocated to Tennessee. Many Canadian celebrities have shown their support for the team, most notable is the Toronto rapper Drake. The raptors play at Scotiabank Arena on Bay st. But what do you know about the one season wonder the Toronto Huskies. This NBA team only played one season from 1946-1947, but is a unique part of Toronto’s basketball history.
While our basketball team has only been around for 25 years, our Canadian football team has been around for nearly 6 times that long. The Toronto Argonauts have the most CFL Grey Cups in history. They won the first ever grey cup in 1912, and their latest win came in 2017. Through the years, they have had many noteworthy owners including famous actor John Candy. The Argos used to play at the Rogers center but have since moved to their new home at BMO field, on exhibition grounds.
The next Toronto team is one that Torontonians, and Canadians alike have been waiting to witness a league championship since 1967. Despite not having a win in over 50 years, hope is not lost as year after year millions gather to watch games on tv or live at Scotiabank Arena. Who knows, maybe 2021 is our year! Toronto also has the AHL Marlies who play at Coca Cola Coliseum and travel playing teams in the USA and Canada.
Toronto’s next team is a smash hit. Going to see the Toronto Blue Jays play in the summer is a Toronto tradition for residents and visitors. The Blue Jays are once again a lone canadian team after the Montreal Expos dissolved in 2004. 2015 was a big year for the team after winning the eastern division for the first time in 22 years. Toronto is still waiting for a 2000s MLB win, but we aren’t done waiting yet! Maybe you can catch a winning game at the ROgers Centre located between Front and Bremner st.
Toronto is also home to a fairly recent MLS team. The Toronto FC was created in 2005 and won their first title in 2017. The team plays on the same field as 2017s other Toronto champion sports team (the Argos). The team has Gained popularity since their win, and frequently sells out the stadium.
What would Toronto be without a professional lacrosse team? Canada’s national sport has 13 teams in Canada and the United States. The Toronto ROck is one of them. The team plays at Coca Cola Colosseum, and was founded in 1998, 8 years after the NLL birth. The Rock’s most recent win was in 2011, but overall the team has 6 Championships.
Just in case you forgot, Toronto is home to the world’s first transatlantic Rugby team. The Toronto Wolfpack play in the Betfred super league against teams from Europe. The team was founded in 2016, but has already made a name for themselves making it to the final playoff spot in 2019. This team plays at Lamport stadium in Liberty Village. While they have withdrawn from the 2020 season amidst the Coronavirus, expect to see them back soon!
Yep you read that right! The Toronto Defiant is an Overwatch esports team playing in the professional Overwatch league. The league has 20 teams, Toronto included and the league and the Toronto team plays at Roy thompson hall.
Just recently in April of 2020, the NWHL board granted Toronto their very own women’s hockey team. It’s unclear when their inaugural game will be played, or even where they will play; however, this is the first Canadian team in league history.
5) The PATH
The underground Toronto tunnels connect thousands of stores and businesses together. While mainly underground, this 30km Stretch of walkway includes very few outdoor portions, and a few elevated pathways. The Path connects St Andrews station, Union Station, King Station, Queen Station, the Eaton Centre, Brookfield Place, the Toronto Dominion Centre, and so many more. PATH was built in 1900 and was expanded in 1960. Currently, the PATH is a part of thousands of GTA citizens commutes. It is a great way to get where you’re going fast and comfortably (especially in icy winters).
While the PATH connects over 50 offices and 20 parking garages, it is easy to get lost. Good thing you are about to get a critical navigation tip! The PATH is made up of 4 different colours: red, orange, blue, and yellow. Each colour represents a different direction. A red “P” marks south, orange “A” is west, blue “T” is south, and a yellow “H” is east. Keep this in mind and it might be hard to get lost! Evidently, Toronto is full of surprises and richer than average history. Which one of our secrets surprised you the most? Which ones did you already know? Is there anything we missed?