Current Developments Surrounding Roundhouse - Part 2 of 4
Click on each image for a closer look!
Here, we continue with part 2 of our 4 part exploration of developments around the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre. The projects are numbered and can be located on the modified Google map. Many of the links below the name of each project will bring you to the UrbanToronto.ca website, which is an excellent database of ongoing construction projects in the city.
UNION STATION TRAIN SHED
IMAGE #6 - An aerial view showing the new atrium with the original train shed sporting a green roof.
This is a $196 million project by GO Transit and has been under construction since 2010. The atrium will replace the 250-foot centre section of the train shed and rise 42 feet above the existing roof. The remaining 475-foot sections of the original train shed on each side of the atrium will be restored. The Union Station trainshed has always been a dark and gloomy place. The original design for the Bush-style shed called for skylights over each platform. By the time the shed was completed in 1930, these were never installed as a cost-saving measure so the new atrium should brighten the platforms considerably.
UNION STATION DIG DOWN
IMAGE #7 - This diagram shows the innovative technique being used to realize the dig down.
Much of what will be new at Union Station, including the shopping mall that will extend from Bay to York Street, is being built underneath the train shed. Since the entire structure is supported on columns extending down to bedrock, this requires an innovative construction technique that is explained at the link. The city hopes that the income from the new retail mall will pay for its share of the revitalization costs. The retail level/mall will service the thousands of condo dwellers who now live within walking distance of Union Station, as well as the 200,000 people who pass through the station every weekday.
IMAGE #8 - A rendering of Union Station at Front and Bay streets showing the new glass roofs over the moat.
This $640 million "revitalization" may be the most expensive building renovation in Canadian history. Approximately half of this sum is being provided by the federal and provincial governments while the city is on the hook for the rest. The link will take you to a series of architectural renderings that give an impression of what's in store. This project involves far more than can be explained in this space and is scheduled for completion in 2016. Much has been written about this project and four members of the TRHA board, including this author, were members of the Union Station Revitalization Public Advisory Group before it was unceremoniously and prematurely disbanded by city apparatchiks. The architectural and historical elements that we all value at Union Station are reportedly well protected by fairly strict heritage easements.
UNION SUBWAY STATION
IMAGE #9 - This diagram presents a before and after rendering of the Union subway station.
A new subway platform is being built south of the tracks underneath Union Station to relieve dangerous overcrowding at this location. This will be used by passengers heading north on Yonge Street, while the current centre platform will be used by northbound passengers on the University/Spadina portion of the line. These subway platforms have been integrated into the new platform numbering system at Union Station, representing Nos. 1 & 2, while what used to be the Track One platform is now #3. When the Yonge subway was opened in 1954, the centre platform at Union made it difficult to expand when Union became the fourth busiest station in the TTC subway system. This project has been considerably complicated by a hive of service tunnels, the Union Station moat, and electrical, sewage and communications conduits.
CHANGES TO FRONT STREET AT UNION STATION
IMAGE #10 - Looking east along Front Street.
This project is intended to improve the pedestrian experience at the main entrance to Union Station. The roads are being narrowed to one lane each way directly in front of the columned centre block of the station. The magnificent Union Station plaza (which is actually a bridge over the moat and was recently completely rebuilt by the city) has long been plagued by aggressive cabbies, obnoxious drivers, braying ticket scalpers and unsightly hot dog stands. The city hopes to gentrify this area somewhat and divert some of the vehicular traffic to Bremner Blvd.
Click here to read Part 3 of this 4 part series of postings.
Click here to return to the first posting in this series.
Article and postings by Derek Boles, TRHA Historian