Union Station, one of Toronto’s most iconic buildings, and the busiest transit hub in North America, is being restored and revitalized to better serve the 300,000+ visitors that pass through the station every day.
The goal is to shape the way people experience Union Station, preserve a proud part of Toronto’s history, and to make this crown jewel spectacular once again.
When the revitalization is complete, Union Station will have doubled the pedestrian capacity, restored important heritage elements, and transformed into a major destination for shopping, dining and community gathering.
Union Station’s revitalization is an $800-million City initiative supported by investments of $164 million from the Government of Canada, $191.8 million from the Government of Ontario.
Great progress is being made at Union Station as staff and the contractor continue to work aggressively to complete the project as soon as possible.
As of Wednesday, February 19, 2020 a route change between the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) subway station and Union Station will begin.
In order to move forward on the next piece of work in the Front Street Tunnel, there is a need to temporarily close it to allow for the completion of concrete work, underground mechanical work, and the installation of pavers, railings and public art in the tunnel.
To connect from the TTC to Union Station, commuters will now walk straight across the moat between the two stations. This route opened in December 2019 as an alternate route between the two stations and has being widened to accommodate increased pedestrian flow. This route meets accessibility requirements, and includes escalators and an elevator.
This retail area will have a seamless connection to the Union Food Court below the York Concourse on the west side of the station and provides a new access to the TTC subway on the east side of the station.
Significant restoration has been completed in the Great Hall to preserve and maintain the original heritage of the station. This restoration includes masonry work to clean and revitalize the original Zumbro stone, the marble floor tiles and the limestone exterior.
The Tourist Information Centre originally located in the centre of the hall, has been refurbished and relocated to the south wall to make it easier to access for tourists and visitors. Temporary hoarding has been placed along the north entrance on Front Street, but once fully completed in 2019/2020 it will provide additional retail space.
Glass covers have been installed over the station’s pedestrian moats, which run along the Front and York Street sides of the building. The covers consist of steel beams and glass, which create a giant skylight around the perimeter of the station.
The covered moats create a completely enclosed space providing enhanced pedestrian circulation through the station, protection from inclement weather, and an improved experience for pedestrians entering and exiting the station or transferring to the TTC subway.
The excavation or “dig down” was one of the initial and most significant stages of the revitalization as it helped to create an additional level under the station to support the expanding growth in ridership.
This stage involved digging several metres below Union Station’s existing floor level to create space for two new transit concourses and a new, lower-level pedestrian retail concourse.
The underground excavation stretched east to west from Bay Street to York Street and north to south from Front Street to the Air Canada Centre. A large section took place immediately below the tracks while the trains continued to operate above ground.
This stage involved the replacement of 447 concrete columns, 185 of which directly support the train tracks.
Column replacement on this scale is unique. This complex procedure has been employed only in special cases throughout the world and seldom on structures this size that remain fully operational throughout construction.
Nearly 45 truckloads — between 600 and 900 tonnes — of excavated material were removed from the construction site nightly. The excavators and support equipment used were the same kinds as those used in underground mining operations.
Opened in 2015, the new 62,000 square-foot space provides improved commuter amenities and easy connections to the train platforms, TTC transit (subway) and Toronto’s underground PATH system. The concourse is home to Metrolinx service counters, Lost & Found, Corporate Security and retail and food vendors; including the new Union Food Court located in the lower retail level.
Visit Toronto Union for information about retail opportunities, events and programming.
When fully complete and open to the public in 2020, the new Bay Concourse will offer services and amenities similar to the York Concourse to GO Customers. The Bay Concourse will connect to a retail area below the concourse, which will include a fresh market with options to buy fresh produce, prepared foods and grab-and-go offerings, additional retail space and connect to the Union Food Court, the TTC and to Toronto’s PATH system.
The bike stations consists of two secure bicycle parking rooms on the east side of York Street — a newly built facility just south of Front Street, and a smaller room just north of 25 York Street. (at Bremner Blvd.).
The York & Front facility features a 160 bike rack, a washroom, a change room and a shower with complimentary towels, and an office where staff can register new members and renew bike station parking plans.
The smaller facility features at York & Bremner has 80 bike racks, washrooms and change rooms.
Bicycle tools and air pumps are available at both locations for members to perform minor repairs.
The Union Food Court is the first area to open as part of the newly constructed lower retail level, and offers 10 food retailers, a seating capacity for more than 600 people, and 25,000 square feet of space at the station.
Check out the list of food vendors and retailers.