Updated Aug. 22, 2019 at 8:05 pm: The TTC has advised that temporary stops for the diversions are still to be finalized. Also, there will be Paid Duty Officers to manage traffic at Spadina, York and Church Streets. Thanks to Stuart Green for the update.
The City of Toronto and TTC have announced various road closures and service diversions associated with the 2019 edition of the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
As in past years, King Street will be completely closed to traffic including transit operations from University Avenue to Spadina Avenue. This will begin at 5 am on Thursday, September 5 and continue through to 5 am on Monday, September 9.
Additional ad hoc diversions might occur on both Monday and Tuesday, September 9-10, for “red carpet events” from 3:30 pm onward.
Service arrangements this year are somewhat different from 2018 because there is now the split 504A/504B King service and the soon-to-be-restored 508 Lake Shore.
The primary diversion for almost all services will be:
- From King to Queen on Spadina, both ways
- From King to Queen on York, northbound/westbound
- From Queen to King on Church, southbound/eastbound
Riders wishing to transfer from the subway to an eastbound King car to Broadview Station or to the Distillery should do so at Queen, not at King, or they will have to walk from Yonge to Church from King Station. There will be no eastbound King cars at Osgoode Station. It is not yet confirmed whether the TTC will establish a stop at Queen and York for a walking transfer.
Riders wishing to transfer from the subway to a westbound King car must do so at King or Osgoode Stations. There will be no streetcar service at St. Andrew Station, although there will be plenty of King cars nearby at York Street. Whether a temporary stop will be created at King and York is still to be confirmed.
This service design will see ALL of the King Street services, both ways, operating northbound on York Street giving an extremely frequent service, not to mention the potential for a total bottleneck making the turns east and west at Queen Street.
504A Dundas West to Distillery Service
This service will be broken into two segments:
- From the west, 504A cars to/from Dundas West will loop downtown via Spadina and Queen east to Church, then south to King, then return westbound via King, York, Queen and Spadina.
- From the east, 504A cars to/from the Distillery will loop downtown via King, York, Queen and Church.
504B Broadview Station Service
The Broadview Station service will use the same loop downtown as the 504A Distillery cars:
- Westbound on King to York, then north to Queen, east to Church and south to King.
There will be no replacement bus service parallel to King as has been attempted in some past years. Anyone destined for the area between University and Spadina on King will have to walk in from the bounds of the closed area or south from Queen Street. This is of particular concern for anyone going to screenings at TIFF Bell Lightbox which will have no transit service during the diversions.
508 Lake Shore Service
The new 508 Lake Shore trippers will loop downtown via:
- Eastbound via Spadina, Queen and Church
- Returning westbound via Richmond and Victoria to Queen, then west to Spadina
304 Night Service
The 304 night cars will divert via Spadina, Queen, Church/York both ways.
A shuttle night bus will operate between Wolseley Loop and Parliament/King bypassing the TIFF district via Adelaide and Richmond Streets.
503 Kingston Road Bus
Not mentioned in the TTC’s announcement is the 503 bus service which consolidates the 502/503 Kingston Road services in September. These buses are supposed to loop via York, Richmond, and University to King including a layover point on York north of King. That area will be thick with streetcar service. It is ironic that the only service that will stop eastbound at St. Andrew Station will be the 503 bus on what is sure to be a “now and then” schedule.
I am a TIFF supporter as a member and donor, and have attended the festival for over three decades. That said, I am disgusted by the gorilla-like behaviour of TIFF in elbowing aside vital transit services on weekdays in Toronto.
These diversions produce severe effects on service not just downtown, but on parts of the King and Queen routes far from the TIFF district. Riders across the city suffer so that TIFF can have its street fair.
Every year we hear that “next year will be different”, but nothing happens.
From the TTC’s diversion announcement:
We encourage you to plan your trip in advance. We thank you for your patience during this important event benefitting Toronto’s economy and international reputation as a world-class city.
A “world class city” would figure out how to integrate its transit service into a major cultural festival.