Union Station Revitalization
June 13, 2011
Fact Sheet: The ‘Dig Down’
Construction and engineering components
- One of the initial and most significant stages of the Revitalization is the “dig down,” which involves making major structural changes to the station and excavating approximately four metres below the existing floor level to create space for a new lower-level pedestrian retail concourse and two new GO Transit concourses.
- Nearly 45 truckloads - between 600 and 900 tonnes - of excavated materials are removed from the site nightly. The excavators and support equipment being used are the same kinds as those used in underground mining operations.
- The dig down involves the replacement or reinforcement of 447 concrete columns, 185 of which are directly supporting the train tracks. The column replacements are taking place in stages and in sections. Stage one began last year and will continue through November 2011.
- Preparation for the column work involved a prototype column replacement in October 2010, which helped establish the preferred construction methodology to be used for the remaining columns.
- The dig down runs from Bay Street to York Street and north to south from Front Street to the Air Canada Centre. Excavation is taking place completely behind the scenes while the trains located immediately above continue their normal operations.
- Column replacement on this scale is unique. This complex procedure has only been employed in special cases and seldom on structures of this size that are fully operational throughout construction.
- Two new GO concourses (York St. and Bay St.) are scheduled to open in 2013 and 2014, respectively.
- Excavation will be followed by further construction on the York concourse. Once complete, GO Transit will relocate to the new York concourse and construction on the Bay side will continue.
Key aspects of the revitalization
- Restoration and preservation of many of Union Station’s heritage elements.
- Creation of a new pedestrian retail level below the station, which is expected to generate revenue for the City and contribute towards the Revitalization’s financing.
- Expansion of the GO concourses by threefold to accommodate the expected doubling of passengers at Union Station by 2030 (GO carries nearly 44 million passengers annually in an extensive network of train and bus services that spans over 10,000 square kilometres).
- Restoration of the VIA Rail passenger concourse.
- Creation of a new PATH system connecting the northwest corner of Union Station to Wellington Street.
- Expansion and increase in the number of station entrances, including the addition of a new PATH connection and tunnel to Union Plaza, Air Canada Centre and Maple Leaf Square.
- Space in the west wing is being renovated for Metrolinx head office.
- Incorporation of advanced environmental designs, such as deep-lake water cooling, district heating and energy-efficient technology.
Concurrent projects at Union Station
- GO Transit will replace the central train shed roof with a large glass atrium to provide a cleaner, brighter waiting area at track level and restoration of the east and west portions. Expected for completion in 2014, GO's project will provide additional vertical access points to and from platforms, along with an overhaul of the look and feel of the station platforms and concourses.
- TTC is building a second subway platform at Union subway station and expanding the concourse to include a single, TTC-fare paid area and pedestrian by-pass routes. The TTC project, which is also expected for completion in 2014, is intended to improve passenger circulation.
About the Revitalization
- The total cost for the Revitalization is approximately $640 million. The Government of Canada is contributing up to $164 million (up to a maximum of $133 million from the Building Canada Fund, $25 million from VIA Rail and $6 million from the Transit-Secure Fund) toward the project. The Government of Ontario (through GO Transit) is contributing up to $172 million to the revitalization, while the City of Toronto is contributing the remaining $304 million.
- The Revitalization is being carried out in stages and completion is expected in 2015/2016.
- The City is leading the Revitalization with three objectives: to promote Union Station as Canada’s premier, multi-modal, passenger-transportation hub with improvements in the quality and capacity of pedestrian movement; to restore the station's heritage elements and aging infrastructure; and to transform the station into a major destination.
- Union Station’s redevelopment includes the creation of nearly 160,000 sq. ft. of retail space.
- Osmington Inc. is the approved head lessee that will develop the new retail space, including the new pedestrian retail level.
- The City has selected Carillion Construction Ltd. to provide construction management services and activity for the Revitalization.
- The City has selected NORR Limited Architects Engineers Planners as prime consultant responsible for architectural and engineering component design. Fournier Gersovitz Moss Drolet Architects is the heritage sub-consultant on the project.
- For more information, visit www.toronto.ca/getonboard, find us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter @unionstationTO.
About Union Station
- Since acquiring Union Station in 2000, the City continues to own, maintain and improve the station.
- Union Station is a proud part of Toronto’s history and identity. In 1975, Union Station was designated a National Historic Site for being Canada's finest example of a railway station made in the classical beaux-arts style and the largest of the great urban stations built during the early 20th century in an era when railways were expanding and Toronto was becoming a modern metropolis.
- Union Station is the premier gateway to the city and the busiest, most important multi-modal transportation hub in the country, serving nearly a quarter-million passengers daily — twice as many as Pearson International Airport.
- Construction on Union Station began in 1913 amidst a materials shortage in World War I. The station officially opened in 1927, and since then, it has welcomed waves of immigrants to the city, survived one major fire, and endured more than 80 years of wear and tear.
Nancy Kuyumcu, Communications Coordinator, City of Toronto, 416-397-4221, firstname.lastname@example.org.