The ongoing restoration and reworking of Toronto's Union Station has already had quite the positive impact on Front Street. The new plaza fronting the station's Great Hall has been animated every weekday for most of the summer, with a food market offering treats from some of the city's best cafes, restaurants, bakeries, and even juice bars.
The plaza, located in front of the country's busiest transportation hub, was officially renamed today in honour of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald. The naming of the plaza stemmed from an earlier, ill-fated attempt by Deputy Mayor and Ward 34 Councillor Denzil Minnan-Wong to have all of Union Station renamed after Sir John, based on his importance to Canada's rail history. This proposal was met with resistance from heritage activists and others on City Council, which inevitably led to the compromise proposal to rename the station's Front Street-facing plaza.
Councillor Minnan-Wong was in attendance for the renaming ceremony this afternoon, and was joined by Yves Desjardins-Siciliano, President and CEO of VIA Rail Canada, and Jane Hilderman of Friends of Sir John A. Macdonald, to officially unveil a new plaque commemorating the space, commissioned by Heritage Toronto.
After brief remarks, the three unveiled the commemorative plaque.
The plaque, which will be permanently installed a few feet to the west of where it was unveiled, can be seen and read below.
For a touch of theatrics, frequent Sir John A. Macdonald impersonator Brian Porter took to the podium in full period costume after the plaque's unveiling to make remarks about the plaza in character as our first Prime Minister. He was joined by his wife Renee Porter, who stood by his side playing the role of Lady Agnes Macdonald.
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