Renovating Union Station
Photo: "ED5141" by blogTO Flickr pooler omiala.
They've been talking about improving Union Station for years now. In 2003 Union Pearson Group group had a deal in place to renovate the station, but that deal eventually fell through. Since then $2.75 million has been spent on Union Station improvements. They've repaired and refurbished the west window in the main hall and installed a new skylight in the building. Reportedly plans call for at least $8.9 million in additional repairs and improvements.
In addition there are plans to see new restaurants and shops eventually move into the station. Could Harvey's eventually see some competition for commuters' money?
Hopefully new plans call for more than fast food restaurants, dilapidated arcades, and dreary lighting. Apparently they've been looking toward major North American rail stations for inspiration. The building itself is beautiful and historic, but Union Station could be so much more. Again it seems that lack of funding and a complete absence of creativity are causing a major Toronto landmark to be less than it could be. Cleaning the building and showing off its beauty is a great start.
How about some public art? The white horses that hung from the ceiling during LuminaTO were wonderful. Perhaps we could see more of that. Maybe the station could have some sit down restaurants, indoor patios, or a market of some sort. Commuters spend plenty of time in the station so give them something to do other than scarf down burgers and pick up some liquor on the way home. While you're at it, do something with the SkyWalk as well. An area that was once filled with restaurants and sports-oriented shops is now mostly empty, filled only with a gym and the Porter Airlines shuttle pick up.
Union Station is the first thing that many people see when they enter our city. It should be an inspiring place that is representative of Toronto and the people who live here. It should have culture, it should have variety, it should be a place that Torontonians are proud of, rather than a place we rush through on the way out of the city.
Or at least add a Tim Horton's.
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