Why one Toronto family travelled more than 130 km on the TTC in 9 hours
The family are predicting that TTC transfers will be decommissioned one day, and wanted to snag a copy from each subway station as part of their collections.
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For the Athanasopoulos siblings, collecting TTC transfers from every subway station in one day was all about strategy.
“Me and Matthew ran extremely fast up all the steps,” said 8-year-old Sophia Athanasopoulos, describing the race to climb flights upon flights of stairs on their journey to each of the TTC’s 69 subway stations (including the Scarborough RT).
She and her eldest brother Matthew drew up a game plan on their TTC map one night prior to their August 31 trip, after middle-child Lukas casually suggested the idea.
It’s something their mother Lydia said she may have subliminally planted in her kids’ minds through stories from her childhood, and memories of collecting TTC transfers back when they were multicoloured.
“It’s like collecting trading cards, they think it’s rare,” Lydia said, her family’s dining room table covered in arts supplies as the siblings worked away at showcasing their TTC treasures.
“We went to the (Canadian National) Exhibition the day before, and this was far more entertaining. They had so much fun the whole day,” Lydia said.
“I think that’s why they got extras,” she said, noting her kids usually picked up more than one transfer from each station, “because they think it’s going to be worth something down the road.”
With the encouragement of their mother, the Athanasopoulos kids kicked off their journey at 3 p.m., starting at Jane Station. They travelled east on the Bloor-Danforth line up to McCowan station, the last stop on the Scarborough RT line.
The family made their way back to conquer the northbound section of the Yonge-Univeristy Line and then travelled east on the Sheppard Line. Sheppard, or the purple line, was the favourite stretch of TTC track for the kids, who stopped to take a minute and enjoy the artwork displayed at each station platform.
Fuelled by carrot sticks, burritos, cookies, chocolate milk, and Bathurst station’s beef patties — the finest patties the TTC has to offer, according to the siblings — they went back down Yonge-University to seize the west side of the U-shaped line. Then they hopped back onto Bloor-Danforth to complete their trip, ultimately travelling more than 130 km on the TTC.
“It’s cool to just have them all,” said 13-year-old Matthew, who wants to keep his collection displayed beneath a Plexiglas sheet on his desk. “It’s a hundred per cent complete.”
Despite gentle nudging from their mother Lydia to call it a day as the hours wore on, the siblings raced to snag the last transfer just as the clock struck midnight.
Transfer time stamps show some trips were made in under a minute, but stops north of Yorkdale Station took up to 17 minutes to get to.
“At Wilson, it was really hard to get to Sheppard-West because the trains were all messed up and people wouldn’t get off,” said Lukas.
The children turned into animated transit critics as they described the subway shortfalls that got in the way of their efficiency, like signal delays, aging subway cars, and the inconvenient positioning of some transfer machines.
While Lydia was impressed with the boost in maintenance of some TTC washrooms since her youth, she said accessibility at the stations hasn’t improved as much as she expected.
“The accessibility factor . . . that should be a priority. I would say nothing’s changed really, from when I was a kid on the yellow and green line,” she said.
The kids say they’re relieved to now have a copy of all the transfers, but would make the trip again to include new stations.