Union Station Revitalization
May 10, 2012
Behind-the-scenes areas get a facelift
If you haven't noticed already, nearly all of Union Station is now under construction. A glance from outside will show that restoration work is in full swing on the building's heritage façade. Commuters who pass through the west wing know that this area is being renovated and restored, and as you've probably heard in the news, a massive dig continues under the station for a new, lower retail level and two new transit concourses.
But what's happening behind the scenes — in areas typically out of public sight? A lot! In the following photo story, we give you a tour of four back-of-house areas that are under construction and due for completion this year.
Fourth floor offices (centre block)
Many years ago, the fourth floor of the centre block was the home of Toronto Terminals Railway (TTR) management offices. TTR owned Union Station before the City of Toronto acquired it in 2000. Once spruced up with a fresh coat of paint and new carpeting, this 3,900-square-foot space will become administrative offices for VIA Rail staff.
Meeting room (centre block)
Adjacent to the new VIA offices on the fourth floor is another area earmarked as a meeting room for VIA and City staff. The craftsmanship of the room's skylight, with its copper framing and panel windows, makes it a heritage feature. The skylight, which was hidden behind a drop ceiling for years, was recently repaired and restored using salvaged materials. The meeting room sits immediately above the ramp in the Great Hall where a wrought-iron chandelier hangs from the plaster ceiling.
West wing offices (floors two to four)
Meanwhile, floors two to four of the west wing, formerly occupied by Canadian National and Canadian Pacific Railways, are being renovated and restored for Metrolinx. Metrolix will be relocating its head office here this year.
Food distribution zone / York west teamway
Behind the hoarding along the York west teamway, workers are busy renovating an old cargo unloading zone that was once used by the Canadian National Railway Company. Once up and running, this 10,000-square-foot space will become a food distribution facility for VIA catering, which provides food and beverage services on VIA passenger trains. The new climate-controlled loading area will have three freight elevators, large spaces for food storage and refrigeration and some staff amenities, marking a significant improvement over the previous catering support facilities at the southwest corner of Union Station. Construction in this area also involves rebuilding portions of the teamway wall, which is now covered with hoarding.
Great Hall east ticket offices
Tucked away behind these ticket counters in the Great Hall are more offices earmarked for VIA Rail. New piping, mechanical and electrical upgrades and flooring repairs are all underway. See the hold in the wall? There were stairs leading to tracks 2-3 there once.