Union Station's GO Bay Concourse closes this Saturday for two years. When it reopens — after being completely gutted, dug down, and rebuilt — it will look much like the new GO York Concourse on the west side of the huge station which opened earlier this year. The new GO Bay Concourse will also boast a new shopping mall beneath it to serve the thousands of people who course through Union every day… so things are never going to be the same.

Before all the demolition and construction craziness that's about to hit the station again, photographer Vik Pahwa took his camera to the existing concourse at a quiet time to capture the essence of what we have had until now, and are about to say goodbye to. Here is Vik's report.

Although many are bidding good riddance to this 37-year-old regional transit hub — it opened in 1978 — there is still beauty to be found in Union Station's GO Bay Concourse. These images attempt to celebrate the space rather than focus on its yellowy decline. Look closely enough and you may see that this was once a modern, shiny new commuter rail station. Perhaps one day many of us will look back at the old Bay Concourse with nostalgia as we consider the history of Toronto's transit.

The concourse is quite spacious towards the Bay street exits and there are many ways to get up to the platforms.

Towards the Bay Street exits, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationTowards the Bay Street exits, image by Vik Pahwa

There are elements of design throughout the station like this line of fluorescent lighting spanning the concourse perpendicular to the lines underneath the platform gangways.

Fluorescent lights, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationFluorescent light strip, image by Vik Pahwa

The gangways feature exposed ceilings and the lighting disappears into the distance, once again spanning the concourse.

Gangways, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationGangways, image by Vik Pahwa 

The diagonal grid drop ceiling remains impressive. The ceiling has aged and the materials may feel outdated but the design is solid.

Diagonal grid drop ceiling, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationDiagonal grid drop ceiling, image by Vik Pahwa

The old school way-finding signage doesn't feel as aged as its surroundings. The orientation of these large square boxes complement the fancy drop ceilings. Notice the PATH signs on the bottom of these sign boxes.

Old-school way-finding signage, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationOld-school way-finding signage, image by Vik Pahwa

There is a design logic to the stairways. Rather than two sets of stairs converging at one spot, commuters turn to the left and right rather than run into each other and the signs can be seen as one descends.

Stairway design logic, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationStairway design logic, image by Vik Pahwa

These elevated vestibules where stairs go up to the platforms are appealing. They are reminiscent of other city architecture constructed in the same era, like at the Eaton Centre and Ontario Place.

Elevated vestibules, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationElevated vestibules, image by Vik Pahwa

The colour scheme of the stairwells is bright and there is plenty of room, although the tiling on both the walls and floors are similar to older buildings.

Stairwell tiling, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationStairwell tiling, image by Vik Pahwa

In many areas the ceilings are well-crafted with reflective paneling that offer a sense of motion in a place all about movement.

Design that's about movement, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationDesign that's about movement, image by Vik Pahwa

Not unlike the concourse whose time has gone, a circular bank of payphones surround a pillar. We may not see such a bank of telephones again.

Payphone bank, GO Bay Concourse at Toronto's Union StationPayphone bank, image by Vik Pahwa

Come bid the concourse farewell and be a part of Toronto history in the making!

Vik Pahwa is a Toronto-based urban photographer. View more of his work here.