GO Bay concourse opens at Union Station – .

GO Bay concourse opens at Union Station – .

Reading the media coverage in Toronto today, one would think that the Union Station revitalization project, which began in 2009, is now complete. This is wrong, it is not. The claim that the project is complete is made in a press release from Mayor John Tory’s office, so there may be reasons for the unconditional media coverage, but a lot of work, however, remains to be completed compared to. within the original scope of the project. At the same time, another project at the station, the Union Station Improvement Project, this time carried out by Infrastructure Ontario and Metrolinx, to rework many GO platforms to increase capacity, has only just begun. Union Station will therefore continue to be a construction site for years to come. Nonetheless, what happened today is quite significant: the new GO Bay Concourse opened and many dignitaries were on hand to cut the ribbon with Mayor Tory, including James Maloney, MP for Etobicoke-Lakeshore. , Government of Canada; The Honorable Stan Cho, Associate Minister of Transportation for Ontario (Transit-Oriented Communities); and Phil Verster, President and CEO of Metrolinx.

The new entrance to the Great Hall of the GO Bay Concourse at Union Station, image by UT Forum contributor mburrrrr

Mayor Tory’s remarks included thanks to the public for their patience as the very complicated work continued. Originally slated to be completed in 2015 in time for the Pan Am Games and with a budget of $ 640 million, the project dragged on as surprises were found when the nearly century-old building was gutted in some areas, its foundations dug for a deeper basement, all while maintaining service to GO commuter trains and VIA and Amtrak intercity trains above. (More people pass through Union Station than any other transportation hub in Canada; about 300,000 per day before the pandemic.) Further slowdowns occurred when the original general contractor had to be replaced, and the pandemic itself. even slowed down the work.

To be lined with shops: looking south across the Bay Promenade Hall, image by UT Forum contributor mburrrrr

The cost of the revitalization project was $ 824 million, with the federal government contributing $ 139.5 million, the province contributing $ 191.8 million, VIA Rail contributing $ 24.9 million and the city spending 465.3 M. For this, the station now has …

  • three times the space dedicated to the GO ticketing and waiting area in the York and Bay halls. (York was the first to open in 2016, replacing the original Bay Concourse. Once opened, the original Bay Concourse was demolished.) With the 5,600m² GO Bay Concourse now open (over 50% taller), more stairs to platforms are available, there are more PRESTO machines and more departure boards.
  • a renovated and improved VIA hall for intercity train passengers
  • Panorama lounge for business and first class VIA Rail customers
  • architectural heritage elements restored, preserved and enhanced throughout the station
  • approximately 14,900 m² of new retail space in several areas of the station, including the already open food court under the GO York Concourse, the York Street Promenade area, the Front Street Promenade area and areas still waiting merchants such as the Bay Promenade Hall and the Fresh Market
  • two new bicycle parking stations
  • improved pedestrian access along York and Bay streets with protective skylights
  • a fully enclosed ditch on Front Street for air-conditioned access from the north, including step-free access to Union subway station and the PATH system to the north and west
  • a temperature-controlled PATH extension in the new and expanded Union GO bus terminal in the South Tower of CIBC SQUARE

The GO Bay Concourse above, the Bay Promenade Hall below, image by UT Forum contributor mburrrrr

Under the GO Bay Concourse, the Bay Promenade Hall shopping area will offer more than 3,300 m² of new retail space. It connects to the TTC subway station to the north (and the rest of downtown via the PATH system) and the Scotiabank Arena to the south (and the rest of the growing South Core area via two relatively new extensions of the PATH system). It will soon be connected to the Fresh Market in the west, then to the Union Food Court. Osmington, the main tenant of Union Station, plans to open the remaining retail units throughout 2022. So far, only one retail branch of TD Bank has been appointed in addition to the existing retail tenants. in the trainstation.

Looking at the Bay Promenade Hall at Union Station from the GO Bay Concourse, Image by UT Forum contributor mburrrrr

Although the press release from the Mayor’s Office does not mention when retailers and restaurateurs can open the Great Lobby or the East Wing at ground level, it does include that “minor updates and cosmetic work will continue until ‘at the end of July 2021, when the project will end. This minor work will not impact customers and customers visiting Union Station. If the end of July was possible, that would mean the four-day completion of the ceiling painting of the Front Street Promenade shopping area (after removing the peeling paint, apparently delayed by a lawsuit against the bankrupt entrepreneur of original, Carillon), while new lighting is expected to be installed in the Great Hall, along with other unspecified work. Public art also remains de-installed in the Front Street Moat area, as artists based in Germany have not yet been able to travel here, which hopefully can be addressed in the coming months with some easing of restrictions. of travel.

The Great Hall with its yellow lighting, image by UT Forum contributor Allandale25

The station was inaugurated in 1927. Its architecture is mainly in the Beaux-Art style. NORR and EVOQ oversaw the expansion and modernization of the building, while restoring aging facilities and features. The building is a federally designated national historic site protected under a heritage easement agreement. Osmington hired PARTISANS to oversee much of the layout of the retail space. The new signage and orientation in the building is done by entro. Many more photographic examples of the completed work can be seen in the UT MAC Forum contributor posts on this page in our Union Station Revitalization thread.

You can read more about our database file for the project, linked below. If you wish, you can join the conversation in the associated Transport Forum thread or leave a comment in the space provided on this page.

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