Toronto: USRP Complete, USEP Under Way

Written by William C. Vantuono, Editor-in-Chief
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After ten years and C$824 million, Toronto’s Union Station Revitalization Project (USRP) is complete, including the historic facility’s main passenger area, Bay Concourse, which was completely remodeled and expanded. Next up: Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP), which will improve the train platform space.

USRP included more than tripling the original size of the GO Concourse space for commuter rail passengers; adding approximately 14,900 square meters (160,000 square feet) of new retail space; a new food court under the York Concourse; a revitalized VIA Concourse and Panorama Lounge; installation of Front Street, York Street and Bay Street glass moat covers; expanded PATH (the downtown core’s underground pedestrian corridor) access; two new bike parking stations; and restored and preserved heritage elements throughout the station.

At approximately 5,600 square meters (60,000 square feet), the new and transformed Bay Concourse is more than 50% larger compared to the original. In addition to providing more space, it offers services and amenities similar to the York Concourse for GO customers, including more PRESTO (smartcard) and ticket vending machines and more departure boards. Further, it provides expanded access to all GO train platforms.

The Bay Concourse connects to the Bay retail area, which offers more than 3,300 square meters (36,000 square feet) of additional retail space, and seamlessly connects to the TTC (Toronto Transit Commission) rapid transit and streetcar network, the Union Food Court and the future Fresh Market. Osmington, lead lessee at Union Station, will open the remaining retail units in the station on a rolling basis throughout 2022, including the Fresh Market and TD Bank retail branch.

Union Station, which opened to public in 1927, features Beaux-Art style architecture and is a federally designated National Historic Site protected under a Heritage Easement Agreement. The City of Toronto purchased Union Station in 2000 from the Toronto Terminals Railway Company Limited and has since performed many upgrades. The USRP is a City of Toronto initiative supported by investments from the Government of Canada, the Government of Ontario and VIA Rail.

“Union Station is now enhanced as a landmark destination of the highest design quality,” Metrolinx, which administers the GTHA (Greater Toronto Hamilton Area) transit network, said. “Not only is the station the [region’s] transit nucleus, it is also a cherished community space and a budding retail hub featuring a diverse mix of vendors. It is a place where commuters and tourists can choose to hang out, admire grand architecture, shop at best-in-class retail and dine at a wide selection of food establishments. Visitors can also enjoy unique programming throughout the year, including an annual summer market, and many art and culture installations and performances, making Union Station an experience unlike any other.”

“We know our customers have been waiting for this day, and we’re excited to announce the re-opening of Union Station’s Bay Concourse,” remarked Metrolinx CEO Phil Verster. “The revitalized Bay Concourse will provide more connections and waiting space for GO customers, enhancing the experience inside Canada’s largest transit hub while supporting the future needs of our growing region. ”

With USRP complete, Metrolinx moves on to the Union Station Enhancement Project (USEP). To be completed in stages, it includes rebuilding the GO Transit and VIA Rail Canada train platforms and associated improvements:

  • Construction of new platforms with canopies and vertical access elements, such as stairs and elevators, and improved passenger communications systems.
  • Construction of two new tracks designed to allow for future passenger train speed up to 72 kph (45 mph) with associated signal works
  • Construction of a new concourse area below the new platforms that will connect the York, Bay and Via Concourses, Union Square, Scotiabank Galleria, and both York and Bay Streets.
  • Development of stormwater management system and other building systems.

Owners Metrolinx and Infrastructure Ontario selected ONTrack Alliance, consisting of WSP Canada Inc. (Prime Team Member and Lead Designer), Kiewit & Alberici Joint Venture (Constructors) and Mass. Electric Construction Canada Co. (Signaling) to advance project design. ONTrack Alliance will soon enter a poly-party agreement with the owners to deliver enhancements that will increase Union Station’s capacity by 2025. USEP is part of the GO Expansion program.

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