Local residents including Maureen Coram (left), James Alcock, Denis Lanoue and Karl Haab protest a planned light rail transit line along Sheppard Avenue in September 2010. Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford is pledging to replace the LRT with a Sheppard Subway extension to Scarborough Town Centre. – Metroland file photo
The expensive dream of a Sheppard subway extension looping through north Scarborough was all but dead by 2010.
Work on a light-rail-transit line, the Sheppard East, was starting. Toronto transit planners thought extending the little-used subway down to Scarborough Town Centre was a horrible idea.
“The train, so to speak, has left the station,” Adam Giambrone, TTC chair of the day, declared.
But a Sheppard extension remained a cause for a small number of Scarborough activists — some of them connected to the Liberal party — who kept fighting the LRT and demanding a subway.
Municipal and provincial politicians, including former Toronto mayor Rob Ford, listened then. A stalemate ensued.
The Sheppard loop isn’t officially a project the city wants to build, but Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Doug Ford, brother of the late mayor, is pledging to build it anyway.
And while a PC victory on June 7 is far from assured — thanks to a New Democratic surge — Ford’s promise seems calculated to win seats in Liberal Scarborough.
Scarborough-Agincourt has stayed Liberal since its creation in 1987, but the riding is shifting in an “amazingly unexpected” way, and “the subway issue is playing a major role,” said PC candidate Aris Babikian.
Babikian has made a Sheppard extension “my first priority,” and said he’s met community association leaders who support it, adding, “some of them are very strong Liberals.”
Jim Karygiannis, a former Liberal MP for Agincourt, thinks if the riding turns blue the promised Sheppard subway “will have a lot to do with it.”