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1954: Toronto’s subway opens

The Story

With station walls decorated in such "restful colours" as "pearl grey," "English eggshell" (green), and "primrose" (yellow), Toronto's subway system is finally open to the public. This CBC special report -- which airs several days after the opening -- celebrates the event with a quick look back at how it all came together, followed by a lesson for viewers on how the subway works. To conclude the report, the announcer proudly declares, "Toronto got itself a subway... really!"

Medium: Television
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: April 4, 1954
Duration: 6:23

Did You know?

• Ontario Premier Leslie Frost and Toronto Mayor Allan Lamport presided over the opening on March 30, 1954, with hundreds of citizens showing up to enjoy the ceremony.

• This first subway line, stretching 7.4 kilometres along Yonge Street (from Eglinton to Union Station), cost approximately $59 million to build — quite a bit more than the originally estimated $28 million.

• In its inaugural run, the train completed the entire journey of the subway line in just 12 minutes.

• Torontonians would have to wait almost a decade before seeing any new additions to the subway network. The TTC opened the University Avenue section of the Yonge/University line (which ran parallel to the original Yonge line along University Avenue, from Union Station to St. George) on Feb. 28, 1963; the long-awaited east-west Bloor line (initially running from Keele Station to Woodbine Station) opened on Feb. 25, 1966.


Going Underground: Toronto's Subway and Montreal's Metro more