Why Doesn’t Mississauga Have a Subway?
After years and years of snail-like movement on the transit file, all levels of government are finally moving—and rather quickly, to be fair—to bring better transit to the fast-growing 416 and 905 areas in Ontario.
Over the next few years, we’ll see the implementation of Regional Express Rail (RER—otherwise known as all way, two day GO train services) in and around Mississauga and the construction of the monumental Hurontario LRT.
But despite the Hurontario LRT proceeding as scheduled and the plans to turn the existing GO train lines into ‘surface subways’ by converting them into RER, the idea of the Mississauga subway is going to continue to resonate in the minds of people in Canada’s sixth largest city well into the coming decades.
Insauga has published numerous articles on this subject, from a former candidate running for city council’s take on why it’s time to build a subway, to our own unique take on why Mississauga doesn’t have a subway by now.
On April Fools Day we even took the opportunity to pull a fast one on all of you (complete with the map seen above showing the ‘route’ of the subway). We got some angry feedback, but also comments that continued lamenting Mississauga’s lack of a subway.
So, what’s preventing a subway from being built?
Some might argue it has to do with political will.
As anyone who remembers Rob Ford knows, subways can be very contentious—especially when considering the fact that they are quite expensive to build.
If a city or province spends billions on a subway that never gets used, the optics are not favourable.
There are also alternatives to subways and with more viable options (RER, LRT) in front of them, why would Mississauga councillors risk it all by backing an idea without a credible plan or money behind it?
However, people might not realize that a subway was once a possibility. In fact, almost two decades ago, Mississauga was in the running for one.
When Toronto was planning to extend the existing TTC subway network by the year 2011, it mentioned Mississauga specifically. That plan included extending the Bloor Danforth west bound line into the Dixie GO station (as cited in this 2001 report), with possible further expansion all the way to City Centre (making that map we have up top not that far fetched).
Ultimately, extending the Bloor Danforth subway into Mississauga was dead on arrival when the City Centre option was screened from further consideration because the Region of Peel didn’t support the project as part of their official plan, preferring instead a dedicated bus rapid transit corridor and an extension of the then-proposed Eglinton subway line. The Eglinton subway line was subsequently reburied by the Mike Harris Conservatives, and only now has rapid transit been revived for Eglinton with the construction of the Eglinton Crosstown LRT, slated to open in 2021.
The idea of a subway/transit line extending from a large metropolitan city into an adjacent suburb/edge city is not a figment of imagination. Surrey BC has that connection when it comes to Skytrain stations from downtown Vancouver, and Laval in Quebec is home to three Montreal Metro subway stops.
Sure, there may be one day when a Mississauga subway from Toronto will grace our presence, but we can’t guarantee you it’ll be in any of our lifetimes.
So there you have it, the subway dream failed to manifest because it never quite made sense to all the right people at the right time.
We’ll see how the subway conversations continue as RER and the LRT take shape in the city.