Finch Avenue is a major east-west principal arterial road in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is also referred to as Durham Regional Road 37 east of Toronto, and as Peel Regional Road 2 west of Toronto. Like many other Toronto roads that bisect Yonge Street, Finch Avenue is divided into western and eastern halves.
The street is named after hotel owner John Finch, who operated a hotel at the northeast corner of Finch Avenue and Yonge Street in Toronto. The road allowance was a concession road, and at one time, there were a number of older churches, schoolhouses, and cemeteries on each side of the road. In the 1950s, Ontario Hydro constructed a series of transmission lines around Toronto, and paralleled Finch from Highway 400 eastward into Pickering. This routing is also a compressed natural gas pipeline.
West of Islington Avenue, Finch ended at the Humber River. Traffic proceeding west had to travel on Islington, northwards towards Steeles Avenue, or south across the Humber to Albion Road. As urban development came to the Toronto area, a Finch Avenue alignment was developed in this area, and was completed in the 1980s within Toronto (at Islington), and then briefly into Mississauga with the construction of Highway 427, and Brampton, turning northwestward onto the Gorewood Road concession (formerly Toronto Gore Township Concession 3). The road now ends at Steeles Avenue, where Gorewood Road is cut off by Highway 407. The concession is then called MacVean Drive in northeastern Brampton, north of Queen Street, the former Highway 7. It then continues into Caledon as Centerville Creek Road.
On August 19, 2005 a freak rainstorm in Toronto caused the Black Creek water level to rise, which caused a section of Finch Avenue West near Sentinel Road (due south of York University between Keele and Jane Streets) to collapse, leaving a deep pit that prevented any pedestrian or vehicular traffic from passing through. The crater left where a 4 lane roadway once was is approximately 20–25 feet (7 metres) deep. Two lanes reopened in late 2005, and the remaining lanes opened in April 2006. On July 24, 2009 two sink holes appeared on Finch Avenue West between Dufferin Street and Bathurst Street.
At the intersection of Finch Avenue and Yonge Street is the northernmost station of the TTC subway network and GO Transit Finch Terminal; formerly York Region Bus Terminal. TTC bus service on Finch runs 24 hours, on the 36 Finch West (309 Blue Night), and 39 Finch East (308 Blue Night). There is also a peak hours 139 Finch-Don Mills Express bus that serves the Don Mills Station on the Sheppard Subway line.
Preliminary planning is currently underway for the Etobicoke-Finch West LRT, a light rail line that is intended run in a private right-of-way along Finch Avenue West as part of the TTC's Transit City light rail plan.
Other sites and neighbourhoods along Finch:
Despite its length (one of the longest streets in the Greater Toronto Area), few major landmarks are located on Finch; it runs primarily through business and residential areas. When it intersects Yonge in Uptown, there are located office high-rises and condominiums.
Most of Finch Avenue west of Morningside Avenue is a four to six-lane principal arterial, with a speed limit of 60 km/h (35–40 mph) in most sections. East of Morningside, Finch is a discontinuous collector or minor arterial road (as Old Finch Avenue to Meadowvale) and detours via Meadowvale Road, Plug Hat Road and Beare Road. The road was broken up by residential development and Rouge Park. The street continues briefly east of Beare Road, and enters into the Town of Pickering in Durham Region after Scarborough-Pickering Townline.
In Pickering, Finch Avenue is also Durham Road # 37 and continues east to Brock Road (Durham Regional Road 1). It ends at a cul-de-sac at Kingston Road (Durham Regional Road # 2 and formerly Highway 2), and the highway follows this concession line to the eastern boundary of Oshawa.
Pawnee Avenue and Old Finch Avenue are both former alignments of Finch Avenue. Pawnee Avenue runs along the former North York Township road alignment between Highway 404 and Victoria Park Avenue. Old Finch Avenue runs in northeastern Scarborough, and includes a section of the original road alignment east of Morningside Avenue to Meadowvale Avenue, including the routing through the Rouge Park, and the northern edge of the Toronto Zoo.