Friday, June 26, 2015

Downtown Toronto then and now: Union Station

Along with the Royal York, Union Station once constituted the heart of the city, dominating the waterfront skyline. Dwarfed over time by huge new skyscrapers, the venerable building fell gradually into a genteel shabbiness.

It remains the centre of Toronto's transit systems. From here buses, streetcars, subway trains and GO commuter trains arrive and depart. A short streetcar ride from Union is the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Boats from here go to the Toronto Islands, a green oasis a few minutes ride and a world away from downtown noise and bustle.

Today Union Station is undergoing an enormous upgrade. Now that the new UP Union-Pearson express trains have begun to run, the airport is only a 25-minute ride from downtown, regardless of traffic conditions.

Old meets new where the route to the UP Train from the subway stop crosses the station concourse. The stone legend beneath the Skywalk sign reads Canadian National Railways.

The view below shows the building as it was in 1927, newly open to serve the CNR and the Grand Trunk Railway.

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