The Spadina Subway is an extension of the Yonge-University Subway line. Originally this transit project was intended to complement the Spadina Expressway. However, the Province of Ontario nixed the expressway plans, while the subway plan survived. Planning for this line started in 1971. There were 18 potential alignments submitted for the Spadina Subway line route; five were studied before an alignment was chosen. Official approval for the Spadina Subway line was granted in 1973.
Construction on the Spadina Subway line began in 1974. During construction, the concept of “Art in the Subway” was proposed. This project saw subway station art installations of designs by Ted Bieler, Claude Breeze, Michael Hayden, Rita Letendre, Louis de Niverville, Gordon Rayner, James Sutherland, Joyce Weiland, and Gerald Zeldin. This project was funded by the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Recreation, with contributions from the Ontario Heritage Foundation and coordinated by the company Arts and Communications Counselors. The stations also featured distinctive architecture, from both well-known Canadian architects, and from TTC staff architects. The Spadina Subway line opened in January 1978, the fifth subway extension in ten years, and representing the end of a program of almost continuous subway construction since the early 1960s.
Wilson Complex consists of a subway car yard, bus garage, and shops for subway train maintenance. The subway yard and shops have been expanded several times since the complex opened in the 1970s.
The overhead walkway allows TTC employees to safely walk between the bus complex and the subway yard.
Downsview Station was built much later than the original Spadina Subway, as part of the Rapid Transit Expansion Program. Construction began in 1992. This project was the first subway extension since extending the Bloor-Danforth Subway line to Kipling Station and Kennedy Station. The construction of this station was seen as an important step in eventually expanding the line to York University. It was further felt that, should the Sheppard Subway line be built to its full length (between Dufferin and the Scarborough Town Centre), this station would be a key station in connecting the Sheppard and Spadina Subways. The recession of the early 1990s resulted in keen pricing on the construction, which helped with the TTC’s budget woes of the time. In March 1996, Downsview Station officially opened.