Queens Quay Reconstruction 2014 (Updated August 21, 2014)

This post has been added to track the reconstruction of the streetcar right-of-way on Queens Quay leading to the resumption of 509/510 Harbourfront and Spadina services on August 31, 2014.

Because the construction work on Queens Quay is being done out of geographical sequence as various stretches of the road become available, this post is organized by block from Bay to west of Spadina.

Current construction details are available from Waterfront Toronto.

Updated August 21, 2014: A photo of car 4400 testing at Queens Quay Loop has been added.

Updated August 20, 2014: Work west of Spadina is now well underway with the track in place and the concrete pour scheduled for this week. This will complete the track construction. Meanwhile, testing of the track and overhead at Queens Quay Loop has begun.

Updated July 29, 2014: Work at Queens Quay and Spadina continues. Most track from there east to the portal at Bay is set in concrete. West of Spadina, the new foundation will be poured soon.

Updated July 17, 2014: Construction of the track west from Spadina to Yo-Yo Ma Lane is now underway with excavation of the roadway.

Updated July 8, 2014: Almost all track is in place between Spadina and the portal west of Bay, although a few finishing touches remain. Overhead poles have been installed along the south side of the streetcar right-of-way from York to just east of Rees, and around the Spadina/Queens Quay intersection. As discussed in a separate article, the TTC now plans to reopen service on Queens Quay on Thanksgiving weekend in October rather than at the end of August when Spadina 510 streetcars will operate only to the loop at Queens Quay.

Correction June 4, 2014: Information that I received about possible resumption of streetcar service to Queens Quay on June 22 was incorrect. Streetcar service will not operate south of King until the August 31, 2014 reopening of the entire route.

Bay to York

July 29, 2014

West of the Bay Street portal, traffic is now using the streetcar right-of-way as far west as Rees Street.

Looking east from York toward Bay


July 8, 2014

Track between the portal and York is now complete. The 509 bus is now operating mostly along the north side of the street and crosses the tracks to the south side just east of York. South of the tracks, the roadway is starting to take shape.

June 4, 2014

June 04, 2014/Toronto, ON:  TTC. Queens Quay, West. L/E on Queens Quay at York intersection.

New track installed across the York Street intersection looking east. [Photo by Harold McMann]

June 2, 2014

June 02, 2014/Toronto, ON:  TTC. Queens Quay., West. L/W towards Queens Quay & York intersection

Looking west toward York Street. [Photo by Harold McMann]

June 02, 2014/Toronto, ON:  TTC. Queens Quay., West. L/W at Queens Quay & York intersection

Excavation for utilities at York Street looking west. [Photo by Harold McMann]

May 30, 2014

Track has been installed here in sections between the portal and York Street except for the section of roadway where traffic make its diversion from the north to the south side of Queens Quay. As soon as work is finished at Lower Simcoe, that intersection will reopen, and the York intersection will close to allow track construction and other work (planned for June 2).

May 18, 2014

A short section of track has been installed in this area, and additional excavation is in progress.

May 9, 2014

A small amount of excavation work has been done for the new streetcar roadbed east of York Street, but other works are still in progress here.

May 5, 2014

Work has not started on the surface portion of this section because work still in progress prevents relocation of road traffic to the south side of Queens Quay westward from Bay Street. Road traffic now crosses the future streetcar lanes just east of York.

York to Lower Simcoe

July 8, 2014

Track construction is complete from York to Lower Simcoe, and construction of the new roadway north of the tracks is now underway. TTC overhead poles now line the south side of the tracks from York Street westward to Robertson Crescent (east of Rees).

May 30, 2014

The intersection at Lower Simcoe is still closed, but final paving work is now in progress and plans are for the street to reopen by June 2 in advance of the start of work at York Street.

May 18, 2014


Looking west from York Street toward Lower Simcoe.

May 16, 2014

Track is now in place across Lower Simcoe and proceeding to meet up with the track already in place west of York Street. The intersection is scheduled to reopen to traffic on May 23.

May 9, 2014

Track extends east to York Street, and excavation to continue from the section shown below west to and across Lower Simcoe is now in progress. The intersection at Lower Simcoe is closed until the new track is in place.

May 5, 2014

Work on this section has begun, but is only half complete because of conflicting utility work near Lower Simcoe.


Looking west from York Street with the Queens Quay Terminal building on the left.

The intersection at Lower Simcoe will be closed from May 7 to 22 for track installation.

Lower Simcoe to Rees

July 29, 2014

Construction of the new roadway is progressing west from York to Rees, and Waterfront Toronto expects this to be paved within the next two weeks.

July 8, 2014

Track is completed in this section, and overhead poles have been installed along the south side of the right-of-way to just east of Rees at Robertson Cr. Road construction north of the tracks is now underway west of Lower Simcoe.

June 6, 2014

The section just east of Rees between the two arms of Robertson Crescent (which encircles the Radisson Hotel) was late to start because of utility work here. Track construction is now underway here.


Looking east from Rees Street

May 30, 2014

Foundation work is in progress for the section west from Robertson Crescent to Rees (in front of the Radisson Hotel). Plans are for the Rees intersection to close mid-week (about June 4, subject to other streets nearby reopening) and for the track construction to proceed across Rees.

May 5, 2014


Looking east from Robertson Crescent (east side of the Radisson Hotel)

April 7, 2014

Track construction has begun on Queens Quay between Lower Simcoe and Robertson Crescent (the east side of the Radisson Hotel at Rees Street).


Looking west toward Rees Street.


Looking east toward Lower Simcoe Street.

Rees Street to Peter Slip Bridge

July 8, 2014

Most track construction is complete in this section except at the “Beer Store” intersection where track has been placed but not yet welded together or set in concrete.

Work continues on the bridge to complete the expansion joints.

June 6, 2014

Work on the eastern section of track between Rees and the bridge is now underway.


Looking west from Rees.

May 30, 2014

Work continues to progress on track west toward the bridge.

May 18, 2014


Preparation of the new foundation looking west from Rees.

May 16, 2014

A short section of excavation for the track foundation west of Ress has begun, but as-yet unfinished utility work in the area will prevent more substantial work on the track for some time.

May 9, 2014

The section west from Rees to the Peter Slip bridge awaits completion of utility work in the area.

Track on Peter Slip Bridge was installed in June 2013.

Peter Slip Bridge to Spadina Avenue

August 20, 2014

Car 4400 testing at Queens Quay Loop. Photo courtesy of Harold McMann.


August 19, 2014

Looking north on Spadina at Queens Quay with a test car. Photo courtesy of Harold McMann.


July 29, 2014

Overhead construction at Spadina & Queens Quay continues


July 8, 2014

Track construction in this area is complete, and poles for the new overhead system were recently installed around the intersection. Overhead construction has begun at the entrance to Queens Quay Loop.

June 6, 2014

Work on the loop entrance continues together with track heading east to the bridge.


June 1, 2014

Installation of the track at the loop entrance continues.


Looking east on Queens Quay across the eastbound entrance curve.


Looking north at the loop entrance with the panel for the trailing switch which has not yet been positioned to mate with the loop track beyond.

May 30, 2014

Work is now in progress on the loop entrance from Queens Quay east of Spadina.


Looking east on Queens Quay. For those unfamiliar with the area, the loop entrance is between the buildings at the Shopper’s Drug Mart on the north (left) side of the street.

Beyond this view, excavation is in progress for the track linking to the west side of the Peter Slip Bridge.

May 16, 2014

The intersection assembly is complete and concrete is being poured around the new track.


May 9, 2014

Installation of the special work for the Spadina & Queens Quay junction is now in progress.


Looking west to Spadina along Queens Quay.


Looking south to Queens Quay from Spadina at Lake Shore. This is a telephoto shot which makes the Island, not to mention the Empire Sandy, look a lot closer to the street than they actually are.

May 5, 2014

Utility work continues on the north side of Queens Quay just east of the streetcar loop where Toronto Hydro is installing a new splicing chamber.

At Spadina, excavation is nearly complete for the installation of the special work in “Section D” of the loop, the intersection itself.


Looking northwest across the intersection of Spadina & Queens Quay.


Looking north on Spadina across Queens Quay.


Looking back toward Spadina from the east end of the Music Garden. The special work panels for the intersection have already been delivered, and they will be installed once the foundation slab is in place.

Section “C” of the loop (the entrance from Queens Quay) is planned to begin on May 13.

Spadina Avenue to Yo-Yo Ma Lane

August 18, 2014

Looking west from Spadina with new track in place. The Music Garden is on the left (south) side of Queens Quay, and the new granite sidewalk is partly complete. The space between the park and the tracks will hold both the pedestrian walkway and the Martin Goodman cycling trail.


Looking east from Yo-Yo Ma Lane. This is the west end of construction, and track in the foreground will be joined with the existing rails leading west to Bathurst Street.

At this location, the eastbound road lanes will cross the tracks to merge with the new consolidated Queens Quay roadway on the north side, while the cycling path will continue east on the south side of the track.


July 29, 2014

The new trackbed west from Spadina awaits its concrete foundation layer


July 17, 2014

Construction is now underway west from Spadina with the excavation for the trackbed largely completed. In the photo below, the overhead crew is working on the Spadina/Queens Quay intersection in the background.


July 8, 2014

After a considerable delay for utility work west of Spadina, work now begins on the last section of the track installation with excavation and grading for the new right-of-way. This will be the transition area to the original layout of Queens Quay west to Bathurst Street.

West of Yo-Yo Ma Lane, eastbound traffic will remain south of the streetcar right-of-way, but will shift over to the north side at a signalled crossing west of Spadina. The shift provides room south of the tracks for the Martin Goodman cycling trail and widened sidewalks through the central Queens Quay area.

May 5, 2014

Utility work is still in progress here although it has been suspended during the intersection installation at Spadina.

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62 Responses to Queens Quay Reconstruction 2014 (Updated August 21, 2014)

  1. Elizabeth says:

    The construction of TTC track on Queens Quay between Spadina Avenue and Yo Yo Ma Lane is under way, to connect with existing streetcar tracks between Yo Yo Ma Lane and the intersection of Bathurst and Fleet Streets. First comes the removal of asphalt and the preparation of rail bed in the middle lanes of the road. The next step is laying down the rails, then pouring the concrete between them. The TTC will continue to run shuttle buses on the “509 Harbourfront” route until this work and the rest of Queens Quay West. Streetcars are scheduled to return to this route on October 12th, during Thanksgiving weekend.

    Steve: Yup, that’s the status, already reported here.

  2. ADifferentMichaelS says:

    Not to belabour and bemoan the point too much (last time, I promise), but there are 37 TTC poles in total in and around the Spadina loop. 37! I sure hope there wasn’t a less visually appalling way to set up the loop, that they cheaper out on for cost.

    The previous loop didn’t have so many poles, did it?

    Steve: No it did not. I am baffled by the complexity of the installation myself considering how few poles are needed for grand unions like King & Spadina. That said, the “loop” is really three intersections, although two are fairly simple.

  3. Robert Wightman says:


    No it did not. I am baffled by the complexity of the installation myself considering how few poles are needed for grand unions like King & Spadina. That said, the “loop” is really three intersections, although two are fairly simple.

    I think that the overhead crew saw that art at Weston and Eglinton with all the street lights on the corner and decided to have one of their own at Queens Quay Loop. Now if they could only get one example of every type of pole ever used for overhead. My favourite was at Lansdowne and Bloor, NE corner if I remember correctly. Perhaps they could also use a different manhole cover for each installation in the area.

    I won’t go into making Union Station a urinal museum.

  4. Geo Swan says:

    I am planning to ride a new light rail vehicle on August 31st, if this deadline doesn’t slip. Am I likely to run into any of the rest of you?

    Steve, from the comments above am I correct that the new Union Station loop(s) are supposed to be finished by August 31? You wrote about the need to modify Spadina, so it could hold two of the longer vehicles. Is that loop also scheduled to be finished?

    I wonder how much more it would have cost to extend the line up Bay so the streetcar platforms terminated a level below the subway platform? Maybe the pilings the subways rest on would have been in the way?

    Steve: Union Loop is not needed until October when service to Queens Quay resumes. Spadina Loop is needed at the end of August, and so that one must be finished (ideally it should be done early for testing). As for extending the Harbourfront route up Bay, you have your geometry all wrong. The streetcar loop is at the same level as the subway track — there will be a direct transfer from the new northbound-to-Yonge platform into the existing loop. Going under the subway is not only extremely expensive (and you still need a loop for the single-ended cars) but physically impossible.

  5. A Different Michael S says:

    Some fun to be had with Google Maps – streetview is out of synch. When travelling along QQ between Jarvis and Spadina, you’ll see images dating from April 2009-June 2013, depending on your location and direction of travel. Satellite view/Google Earth seem to have landed after completion of the wave decks and prior to major reconstruction.

    Fortunately for anyone actually hoping to use Google to find directions, it has correctly identified the MGT as merely “planned” and that QQ itself is one-way westbound.

    The juxtaposition of images and information really makes you realize just how huge a project this has been.

  6. Max C says:

    Just passed by the west end of construction and in two places they have severed the westbound track (still attached to the ties) and placed it on top of the eastbound track. One of those sections was the westernmost piece, and I think the other was the easternmost piece. Not sure what they were doing as it was nighttime and didn’t get a good look. I hope they haven’t encountered another issue in that area that will cause further delay.

  7. Any photos of the mysterious poles mentioned earlier in the comments thread?

    Cheers, Moaz

    Steve: This requires some work and explanation. Some poles hold span wires while others are the end-points for pull-offs where the wire for a curve “ends” at a frog, but continues for structural reasons to a pole diagonally in line with the approach to the frog. Now that the intersection isn’t always full of overhead trucks, I can go back there to photograph the details.

  8. Mikey says:

    I don’t think the new streetcars have ever been tested on Union Loop trackage. There’s no way they could have, but correct me if I’m wrong. But hope all goes well when it reopens.

  9. DavidC says:

    I was on QQ today and it seems that virtually all the TTC poles are up between Spadina and Bay and they have started working on the ‘hangers” at the Spadina end. I was pleased to see that, after the ‘pole forest’ at Spadina Loop, the overhead will be suspended from single poles, on the Martin Goodman Trail side of the ROW.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    It won’t be long before streetcars return to the “509 Harbourfront” route (Thanksgiving weekend). By that time, these shuttle buses, which served the route for 26 months will be gone. However, there’s more work to be done over the next year. The north side of Queens Quay between Bay Street and Spadina Avenue (or is it Yo Yo Ma Lane). The TTC tracks are almost ready for streetcars, which make their return during Labour Day long weekend (“510 Spadina” route). The north side of Queens Quay will become roadway for motor vehicles, and is being asphalted. On both sides of Queens Quay, the remains of the concrete sidewalks will be broken up with machinery, and gradually be replaced with a walkway made with little red granite tiles replacing the remaining concrete sidewalks.

    Steve: Actually, much of the sidewalk on both sides of Queens Quay has already been replaced with the granite pavers. Work is now underway on building the new Martin Goodman Trail along the south side as well as the infrastructure for the rows of trees that will be planted next year.

  11. Thomas says:

    I’ve been riding the 509 bus fairly frequently now that the 510 is running down to Queen’s Quay – as a quick update, the track west from Spadina to Yo Yo Ma appears to be complete and the concrete has been poured and cured. Track is now continuous from the Bay/York Portal to the CNE loop – they’ve connected the old and new segments at Yo Yo Ma.

    Steve, I heard a report one of these days that 509/510 service along Queen’s Quay from Union to Spadina will reopen on October 12th, but that for some reason the segment from Spadina to Bathurst will not open until November. That doesn’t sound right given that the track is complete … have you heard anything about this, or should it all open on the 12th?

    Steve: According to the schedule change notice for October, the 509 route returns all the way from Union to the CNE.

  12. Elizabeth says:

    The TTC track work on Queens Quay West is nearly ready for streetcars when they return Thanksgiving weekend. Most of the poles are up – there’s a few more to go – on the sides of the stretch of track between the foot of Spadina Avenue westward to Yo Yo Ma Lane. The next step is the installation of overhead wires which supply the electricity for operating the streetcars when they return. In the mean time, people travelling to the central waterfront will continue to be riding the shuttle buses on the “509 Harbourfront” route.

    To the north of the new streetcar tracks, asphalting of the road continues. To the south side of the tracks, a new trail for bicycle riding and inline skating is being built.

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