Serving approximately 250,000 passengers each day, Union Station is the busiest transportation facility in Canada. It has been going through a major revitalization project over the past few years that will totally change the face of both the station and its surroundings. Below Front Street, an expanded subway station is being built to provide more space to the ever growing crowds of TTC users. While the south platform was opened to the public last summer—marking a major step forward in the modernization of the 60-year-old subway station—work on turning the old centre platform into the north platform continues. As part of that, the artwork called Zones of Immersion designed by Toronto artist Stuart Reid that will eventually separate the two platforms has begun to be installed.

Union station revitalization, union subway platform, Stuart Reid, art, TorontoSamples of Zones of Immersion, image courtesy of Stuart Reid

The 500 feet long, 7 foot high glass mural made of 166 panels, 48 of which are already in place, will span all the way along the platform and provide riders with an unprecedented experience by featuring portraits drawn by Reid himself and inspired by TTC patrons, poetic texts, and areas of pure colour whose flow into each other references the rhythm of the subway trains.

Many more details about the process the artist went through while working on the installation are for you to (re)discover in our earlier story about the project, published last August after an interview with Stuart Reid at his Annex studio. 

Union station revitalization, union subway platform, Stuart Reid, art, TorontoView of the panels featuring portraits, image be Craig White

In the image above, we see that some white, translucent panels featuring the riders' portraits have partially been put in place on the west end of the platform, and are mixed with a few blue panels. Further along, a series of red panels brings a welcome splash of colour to the predominantly white and grey-toned station. As shown in the image below, it is hard to clearly discern the details and writings on the 3.5 feet wide panels as the lighting is not yet in place. However, even with less than a quarter of the artwork installed so far, it has quite an impact in the confined space and brings us closer to the final look of the station.

Union station revitalization, union subway platform, Stuart Reid, art, TorontoView of the red translucent panels towards the centre of the platform, image be Craig White

Much work is still has to be done for us to see the fully installed piece of art, and this weekend will see another shutdown of the line between Union and St. Andrew stations to allow for more progress. As shown in the image below, installation of the frames that will hold the 200 pound glass panels is still incomplete on the east side of the platform.

Union station revitalization, union subway platform, Stuart Reid, art, TorontoA lot of work needs to be done further on the platform, image be Craig White

The official launch for Zones of Immersion is scheduled some time in June this year, prior to the Pan Am Games but after the subway platform is fully complete. Until then, a gallery exhibit of Stuart Reid's full-scale drawings for this project, named In Transit, will run April 4-30 at Gallery Gevik, 12 Hazelton Avenue, Toronto.

Additional information and renderings of the project can be found by visiting our dataBase file linked below. If you want to get involved in the discussion, visit our associated Forum thread, or leave a comment using the space provided at the bottom of this page.