Relief Line Subway

Since the 1980’s, a relief line running in a U-shape through downtown has been proposed for Toronto. The line would greatly increase transit capacity between the downtown core and other neighbourhoods of Toronto. At present, the relief line is listed as the TTC’s first priority and has been included in Metrolinx’s “Big Move” as a second phase project.

The Toronto Financial District BIA has identified the Relief Line Subway as a transit priority that will better connect the downtown core with the rest of Toronto and relieve transit congestion. The BIA is involved with the City of Toronto’s EA process as a member of the stakeholder advisory group.

The following principles have been developed by the Toronto Financial District BIA to assess any proposals coming forward.


The key objectives of a Relief Line option must support the following principles:

Improving Access

1) A Relief Line must increase access to existing and already planned concentrations of high-density employment.

2) Subways should be built where they can better serve proven existing demand, which in this case means relieving congestion and over-dependence on the critical Yonge Line.

3) The placement of additional transit hubs and the creation of new stations must be evaluated in order to relieve pedestrian congestion in the downtown core.

Economic Competitiveness

4) A high-level business case must be developed and endorsed quickly, including proof of need, agreement on its relative priority and identification of a secured source of funding.

5) Evaluated options must leverage existing transit infrastructure to promote affordability.

6) Alternative options to improve access to high-density employment areas must be evaluated.

Collaborative Planning and Investment

7) Any solution must be complementary towards a system-wide transit network enhancing the existing local and regional transit infrastructure (GO Transit, TTC system, roads and highways).

8) Intermodal connectivity and linkages to Union Station must be evaluated.

9) Construction work needs to be well-coordinated with other major capital projects, and planned to minimize economic disruption.

10) Any chosen option must have an infrastructure resiliency component presented that ensures extreme weather possibilities are accounted for in planning.