Call for Submissions: Union Station Platform Upgrade

In spite of the proposed cuts demanded of the TTC by the city, they are still some good things in the works. The Toronto Transit Commission is accepting design proposals for a new look on the wall of Union Station's platform.

When Union Station opened in 1954, it was used for train departures only. There was no way to tell how much a hub it would become in the future, centralizing numerous services like the Go Train, buses/streetcars/subways and VIA Rail. Today, Union sees tens of thousands of people everyday, and this competition is designed to integrate more public art into Torontonians daily schlepp through our underground tube system.

Read on for more information regarding submission details and the winning artist's healthy (or so it seems to me) allowance...

Photo by blogTO Flickrite Eyeline-Imagery.

Artists and artist teams have until August 9th at 2pm to enter their submission ideas to the TTC, the first deadline in the two-stage design competition. To submit your ideas, you're asked to pick up Proposal Documents from the TTC's Project Procurement Section at 5160 Yonge Street, on the 6th Floor. These submission packages must be picked up, and are not available online. A resume, 16 recent works and a relevant artist statement will need to be burnt to disc and sent in by the deadline. For more info, contact TTC Senior Contract Administrator Joanne Benedetto, by phone at (416) 393-6884 or by email at joanne.benedetto@ttc.ca.

A jury will select 3-5 proposals, and these will continue onto the second stage of the competition. These lucky artists will receive payment ($1800!) to present their design to the final jury, which will happen this October. The winner of the competition will be required to attend up to 16 meetings with a design and technical team, to develop and present their artwork.

The winner will also have a working budget of $35,000. I thought the TTC was being asked to slash their spending? If the proposed budget cuts go through, will the Union Station improvement plan even take place? I contacted Marilyn Bolton, the Public Affairs Director for the TTC, and she explained that this upgrade is categorized as a "capital project", meaning it's been in the works for a while, and has been factored into the "capital" budget. The cuts would affect the TTC's "operating budget", which is an entirely different pool of money. Unfortunately, funds can't be transferred between the two budgets, Bolton explained.

So, even though the looming budget cuts are deteriorating the Toronto lifestyle left and right, at least there will be some new artwork to look at while waiting for the train.

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