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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

Let’s call it Spadina North

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There are a few stations in the subway system that have a sibling station with a connection to another subway line: St. George, Yonge-Bloor, Kennedy, Sheppard-Yonge, and Spadina. The St. George and Sheppard-Yonge stations are right on top of one another so if there is any confusion you just have to run up or down the stairs to find yourself in the right station. Kennedy’s subway and RT stations are distinctive enough as they use different forms of transit (I hear “Kennedy RT” used by my Scarborough friends), while Yonge and Bloor have different names to make it easy to distinguish one from the other.

But the two Spadina stations are far apart and share very little visual similarities. The distinction between the two stops personally befuddles me whenever folks order our subway buttons and ask for a Spadina button but do not specify which one they prefer.

So here is what I’m proposing: let’s call the Spadina station on the north-south University line, the one with lovely round brown circles, Spadina North. I’m not asking the TTC to officially change the name of the station, because I think the public can produce a new moniker or nickname with popular appeal. But I think a distinction needs to be made. I can imagine all of the missed dates and late meetings people have experienced because someone said, “let’s meet on the platform of Spadina station.”

If there are other suggestions for a “new” name for the station, let’s hear it. Spadina Brown? Spadina Retro?

photo by Rannie Turingan



  1. It is called Lowther Station.

    From the Transit Toronto website :

    “Originally, this station was to be called Lowther and exist separately from Bloor-Danforth’s Spadina station, but the decision was made to add another connection to the Bloor-Danforth subway line. This gave Lowther access to the Spadina subway entrances closer to Bloor and to the Spadina bus platforms and saved the TTC money on personnel by eliminating the need for a staffed entrance at Lowther.”

  2. I did know this, but left it out of the suggestions because I don’t think someone from Etobicoke or northwestern Scarborough would know that small side street and know how to identify that in big-city internal-mapping (Castle Frank is a station with a bad name if only because no one knows WHAT Castle Frank is). People KNOW where Spadina is which is important when naming stations.

    Thanks for the link and info, Darwin.

  3. Or we could be as confusing as the road itself — call the south station “Spadina Ave” and the north station “Spadina Road.”

    I’ve always liked Lowther, since I heard that story. Probably because it evokes the ghosts of a booth attendant that never was.

    I would also suggest this memorable mouthful:

    “Spadina used-to-have-a-moving-sidewalk-now-just-has-mismatched-tiles Station”

  4. I remember reading an argument somewhere that the station should be renamed “Kendal” because the northern entrance is at Kendal Avenue. Seems like as good a reason as any.

  5. I have named it the spadina that i use, and the spadina that i don’t use.

  6. I can imagine all of the missed dates and late meetings people have experienced because someone said, “let’s meet on the platform of Spadina station.”

    Really? Wow. If someone says “Spadina platform,” I think of the Bloor line. Hell, if I’m going south and need to go somewhere around Bloor and Spadina I’m just as likely to go to St. George then hop one stop west. Spadina North is a wasteland.

  7. Smitty^ That’s probably cuz we’re downtowners. Anyone north of Bloor might get confused. I know I did when I was in college (and living at home in North York). I was coming down to U of T and the Annex a fair bit (parking at Downsview or Yorkdale). The only Spadina station I knew well, at the time, was Spadina North.

  8. Living at Dupont and Spadina, Spadina North was a frequent station, and not so wastelandy. I’d rather walk that long hallway than go to st. george to switch and let the TTC be in control of more of my time and life. Small victories.

  9. The entrance is at Kendall, one block north of Lowther and two blocks north of Bloor. Why would they want to call it Lowther – that’s the street right in between both entrances!

    I’ve seen a lot of confused people come out of the Kendall entrance and look for Bloor street.

  10. Well, if it’s Spadina Station on the Spadina line, I’m going to go with Spadina-Squared.
    Or Spadina2.

  11. I always call it faux spadina, the history of it being what it is.

    Elevatorless Spadina also works.

  12. Lowther or Kendall, due to the cross streets. It’s okay that they’re small streets. Bessarion gets a stop, and I can figure out it’s somewhere between Bayview and Leslie. Suburban-ites can figure it out.

    Spadina Road would be okay, too, but it’s a bit of an insider / local thing. Even more of an insider name – spell it Spadina, but say it Spadeena.

  13. Me likes Spadina North or Spadina Road. At least Spadina on Bloor would stay Spadina, but the north one would be Spadina Road.

    On second thought, Spadina North is just so much more simple, and needs no explanation.

  14. I like Spadina North. It’s straightforward.

    It’s really sad they removed the move-avator ….

  15. I dont see any problem with having the two stations share the same name. they are, in effect, one station. the “long” walk between them is rather short when compares with other such walks in subway systems around the world. poorly designed? perhaps, but that does not mean the station should be renamed.

  16. I like the idea of Spadina North. It adds a small distinction to discourage people from using Spadina as an interchange station (due to its long connection corridor).

    However, I should also note that actually “Sheppard-Yonge” is used on both the Sheppard and Yonge-University-Spadina line. There is no “Yonge-Sheppard” station.

  17. Spadina North makes sense to me. I agree that the nearby side streets are poor landmarks for people not familiar with the area (i.e. most transit riders). And while I have never missed a meeting or date due to the possible ambiguity, I acknowledge the tragic potential is high.

  18. Yep, Spadina North — pace Eglinton West, etc.

  19. I have no problem with it. Graphically on the map they’ve got it right – with the connecting piece between the two nodes. Besides the walk in the station with the same name is still minor or average compared to others around the world who do the same.

    For example – Canal Street in NYC connecting the IRT and BMT services is a huge hike, and King’s Cross/St. Pancras in London has a very long walk.

  20. Whatever name they use, I just want them to put it on the wall, like every other station, so it’s viewable from the train. How many people have missed the name of the station because it’s not easily viewable or where you’d expect to look for it?

  21. How many people know that for a day or two after the Spadina Line opened, the signs in “Spadina North” directed people to “Buses and Streetcars”?

    The streetcar line was only a proposal at the time the station was built, but the original signage included a reference to it. Also, the original loop was going to be on the surface north of the the existing station and the connection to it would have “T”d off of the connecting passageway to “Spadina South”.

    Meanwhile over at Kennedy, the original sign at the base of the escalator up to “Kennedy Upper” had the pictogram of a streetcar, NOT an RT car, because when the signs were designed, the line was going to be LRT. You can see the original low-platform edge markings beside the RT tracks.

  22. Funny… I was just talking about this with a friend yesterday.

    I’ve been calling it Spadina North lately, too. I live nearby and people always get confused when I give them directions for taking the subway. Apparently quite a few people have no idea that the Spadina/Kendal station exists, or at least have never actually gotten off there.

  23. i don’t think calling it spadina north is very good because of the way the ttc wants to name stations on the sheppard line if its ever extended using the “north” suffix. this makes it confusing by using north when it’s not in the northern part of the city

  24. I’d rather see the station renamed “Kendal” because that’s where the only direct entrance to this station is without having to walk along the sad movingsidewalkless corridor. This being the only station without the name written in large type on the wall, it would be less trouble to change the name than for others. BTW, the station is about 400 m north of Bloor and about 500 m south of Dupont, so nearly halfway to Dupont from the Spadina station on the green line.

    This is a bit off topic, but it’s always bothered me that Bessarion station was not named Burbank. I don’t know what they were thinking. Bessarion is a tiny dead-end street while Burbank intersects Sheppard at exactly the same location and is a much more important street, going for about 2 km north to Bayview & Finch.

    Chester Avenue is also a mere one-block street while Logan Avenue, which is right at Chester Station is a much more important street, running for about 5 km. The fact that Chester station was not named Logan doesn’t seem to bother me so much, though, probably since it is much older and has had the same name for much longer.

  25. I like Shawn’s idea of Spadina Annex. Yay double meaning!

  26. You might as well name the station for Jane Jacobs, except that she’d frown on it.

    Personally, I can live with it remaining “Spadina”, partly for the aforementioned Canal-St-precedent reasons, and partly because the 1978 Spadina line stations seem strangely sacrosanct…

  27. I’ve always thought the Spadina Station on the Spadina line was mis-named.

    My long-time alternate choice?

    Annex Station!

  28. Though there is something neat about calling that zone “Beautiful Downtown Burbank” as it condo-izes–maybe they can add giant Rowan & Martin statues while they’re at it…

  29. A correction from a reader:

    Stations at Yonge-Bloor and Yonge-Sheppard/Sheppard-Yonge have different names to make it easy to distinguish one from the other.

    Nonsense. At Bloor-Yonge, the north-south platforms show the name Bloor so you can tell that the cross street is Bloor, and the east-west platforms show the name Yonge so you can tell that the cross street is Yonge. This is the usual system of naming in New York, but it was not adopted for any other stations in Toronto. As is usual in most other cities, elsewhere there is one name for each station. There is no such station name as “Yonge-Sheppard”.

    The TTC should have adopted one consistent system, but it’s too late for that now.

    So here is what I’m proposing: let’s call the Spadina station on the north-south University line, the one with lovely round brown circles, “Spadina North.”

    That’s just loony. A majority of interchange stations use the one-name system, so any movement needs to be in that direction. I think the TTC should consider adding “-YONGE” in small print below the big BLOOR signs and “BLOOR-” in small print above the big YONGE signs.

  30. With that kind of logic James, why not name Spadina on the Uni line Bloor West? Or remame both stations Spadina-Bloor?

  31. I can’t see any more logical name than Spadina. Technically it is one station anyway. Theres a set of North/Southbound platforms and a set of East/Westbound platforms. Better signage might be need though, directing people to the proper areas of the station. They could adopt a Bay like naming system, with a secondary name listed after the main title. So we’d have Spadina – Lowther and say Spadina – Madison?

  32. the last thing needed on the TTC are more multi-name mouthful destinations. i’ll be disappointed if they start chiselling hyphens into the tiles at yonge and bloor. i could make an exception for “Spadina North”, sans hyphen, as there are no other “North stations” … geographical confusion from this seems doubtful at best.
    but i would gladly join a Kendal or Lowther movement. when my girlfriend and i met 4 years ago, she was living in the apartment building directly upstairs from the kendal exit, which was damn convenient i must say. it felt a lot classier than the bloor spadina, with it’s lower profile signage, and yes, lovely round tiles – it doesn’t look like a bathroom. so as another proposal, we could always name it after her, and call it “Heidi”. it’s at least better than “Castle Frank”.

  33. ^The Simcoe kid would be disappointed you don’t like Castle Frank, if he was still around.

    Heidi Station sounds ok though.