The Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP), the City of Toronto’s multi-year revitalization at Union Station, aims to promote transit-oriented growth, improve the quality and capacity of pedestrian movement, restore heritage elements and transform Union Station into a major destination.
In 2008, City Council approved the implementation of the USRP and the first phase of construction began in 2010. The project was one of the most complicated construction projects in the country, wedged into one of the most congested parts of Toronto, and taking place while maintaining operation of one of the busiest commuter hubs in North America.
The project entailed significant work. Overall key features resulting from the USRP are:
The excavation or “dig down” was one the most significant stages of the revitalization. It involved digging several metres below Union Station’s existing floor level to create space for two new transit concourses and a new, lower-level retail concourse. The food court was the first part of this level to become available to the public.
In 2009, Osmington (Union Station) Inc., a subsidiary of Osmington Inc., entered into an agreement with the City of Toronto to become the retail developer at Union Station. With a 75-year lease, Osmington has and will continue to, develop and manage the retail mix at the station. Through its curation of retail and culinary tenants, cultural programming and partnership activations, Union Station strives to be one of the world’s most engaging civic experiences. More information about Union Station programming and retailers is available on the Toronto Union website.
The USRP is an $824 million initiative supported by investments of $465.3 million from the City of Toronto, $139.5 million from the Government of Canada, $191.8 million from the Government of Ontario and $24.9 million from VIA Rail. Throughout its lifecycle, the project has created thousands of jobs.
About Union Station
As Canada’s busiest and most important multimodal passenger transportation hub, Union Station served more than 300,000 visitors per day pre-pandemic. As a primary point of arrival and departure for the downtown Toronto area and a vital link to the waterfront, Union Station is the lifeblood of the region and a critical piece of transportation infrastructure. As one of the city’s grandest historic and civic landmarks, the station is a symbol of civic pride and beauty.
The current Union Station building is the third iteration of the station. The first Union Station was located just west of the current station and the second at the foot of Simcoe Street.
Construction of the current building began over a century ago — on September 26, 1914 — at a time of a materials shortage during the First World War, when railways were considered the gateway to the city. The station didn’t officially open until August 6, 1927. His Royal Highness Prince Edward, (then Prince of Wales and later King Edward VII), used a pair of golden scissors to cut the ceremonial ribbon. He was accompanied by his brother, Prince George (later the Duke Kent), British Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin and Mrs. Baldwin, and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King. The Prince of Wales purchased the first ticket ever issued at the station — to Alberta for $71.20. Five days later, on August 11, the station opened for public use.
In 1975, Parks Canada designated Union Station a National Historic Site because it was, and still is, the country’s finest example of a classical beaux-arts-style railway station.
The City of Toronto purchased Union Station from Toronto Terminals Railway in June 2000 and has since performed many upgrades to meet the demands of patrons for years to come.
Toronto is home to more than 2.9 million people whose diversity and experiences make this great city Canada’s leading economic engine and one of the world’s most diverse and livable cities. As the fourth largest city in North America, Toronto is a global leader in technology, finance, film, music, culture and innovation, and consistently places at the top of international rankings due to investments championed by its government, residents and businesses. For more information visit the City’s website or follow us on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.