We have been closely and patiently following the large-scale revitalization of Union Station over the past few years, as almost every aspect of the station is being modernized or restored for the 21st century. For much of that time, the main 1927 Beaux-Arts style building has been sheathed in white plastic tarpaulins designed to keep workers sheltered from the elements and the public sheltered from debris from the cleaning.

Union Station Revitalization, TorontoUnion Station as it appeared before removal of the weather protection material, image by Jimmy Wu

The protective sheath is an important part of restoring the exterior of a historic structure, the downside being that one of Toronto's most beautiful and impressive structures has remained hidden from view for far too long… that is until just a few days ago when the scaffold over the main entrance was disassembled to reveal the cleaning that has taken place under the wraps.

Union Station Revitalization, TorontoThe newly revealed facade of Union Station, image by Forum contributor scamander24

The beautifully cleaned Indiana and Queenston limestone facade of the building looks as good as the day that the station opened almost 90 years ago. A comparison below of the Google Street View shot from 2011 with the 2015 image shows just how much has been accomplished.

2011:

Union Station Revitalization, TorontoUnion Station as it appeared in 2011, image from Google Street View

2015:

Union Station Revitalization, TorontoThe newly revealed facade of Union Station, image by Forum contributor scamander24

The comparison above shows that almost nine decades of grime have been removed from the limestone facade, revealing its true tone as it was originally intended to be viewed.

Detail of work on Union Station's limestone work, TorontoDetail of work on Union Station's limestone work, image by UrbanToronto Forum contributor Scamander

The detail shot above and the look behind the building's large Front Street colonnade below gives us an up-close view of the masonry details, which were obscured for years by soot and pigeon droppings before being brought back to their original form as part of the revitalization effort.

Union Station Revitalization, TorontoThe newly revealed facade of Union Station, image by Forum contributor scamander24

There is still plenty of work to be done in and around Union Station. Work on the moat around the property as well as the installation of interlocking pavers on Front Street both contribute to the many detours pedestrians and drivers still face on Front Street outside the structure. Construction work on these elements is expected to be wrapped up before the Pan Am Games this summer, while work on several other elements of the revitalization plan will continue for another two years inside the building.

Additional information and renderings of the Union Station Revitalization and Union Subway Station second platform expansion and the can be found in our project dataBase files, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum threads, or leave a comment in the space provided at the bottom of this page.