TTC Spadina Station Entrance That’s An Old House!: Exploring Toronto Part V
This is the fifth post in my continuing Exploring Toronto series (here are the links for Part I, Part II, Part III, and Part IV). I was having a discussion about cool things from the ‘olden days’ with my friends Katie (@kathrynboland) and Jason (@videojey) that are still around in Toronto only disguised as run of the mill every day things and I mentioned the TTC subway entrance/exit to Spadina Station at Kendal Avenue which used to be an old house. Since Jason and Katie were not the first people I have mentioned this to who had no idea of its existence I thought it would be a good addition to the Exploring Toronto series.
That house, as I learned from the plaque they have up on the building is the “Norman B. Gash House.” Norman Gash was a lawyer who had the house built in 1899 and the house remained a home for one family until the 1950s. It was then acquired by the city for the Spadina Expressway which ended up not getting built but it was decided in the 1970s to turn it into an exit/entrance to the new TTC Spadina Station. When you are walking inside of it, even the ground floor, you have absolutely zero idea of what it once was as there is no visible/immediate evidence to show you its origins (as you can see in the picture below). Sort of makes me wonder what the inside once looked like, or even where the different rooms were. I also wonder what is going on upstairs these days – if anything.
The entrance to the station is an unmanned one which meant when I tried to enter the subway after taking all these pictures I was out of luck because I only had currency on me no tokens or Metropass. It does, however, have booths for toll collectors should they ever decide to begin manning it. They completely changed the back of the house, I suppose to make room for those skylights and prevent anyone from trying to go into the backyard. I took a picture of the back of the station from the outside from the little parking lot behind #83 Spadina Rd just to the south of it.
Even just looking at the house, you can see how amazingly well it blends in with its surroundings and many of you have probably passed it on a regular basis without even noticing its true/current raison d’etre. Obviously, once you look at it through the eyes of someone actually analyzing it, it immediately becomes VERY clear what it is but either way I love this method of re-tasking regular buildings for other purposes. That was one heck of a good job by the TTC and the City of Toronto in my mind. Think how weird and ugly it would look to have your standard TTC subway station structure in the middle of this otherwise residential looking street. Granted, a lot of the houses on the street aren’t used as houses anymore but the look and feel of the neighborhood is still preserved which I think is absolutely awesome.
One of the things Jason told me about my city which I didn’t know about in our discussion mentioned above was The BlogTO’s article on “Toronto Hydro’s Not-So-Hidden Residential Substations” from October 2010. I totally have to check those out at some point just to see what they look like ‘in real life.’ I also wonder if there are any other TTC subway stations that have re-tasked a building like the Norman B. Gash House. Do you know of any?
In case you were wondering, the ‘address’ for this entrance to Spadina Subway Station aka the Norman B. Gash House is 85 Spadina Road but you’re better off Google Mapping it to Spadina Rd & Kendal Ave because the 85 Spadina Road search brings you a few houses south of the actual location in Google Maps.