The decade-long renovation of Toronto's Union Station continues to progress. With renovations to its west side virtually complete, the east side is soon to see spaces delivered that were promised almost 10 years ago. Looking at the first UrbanToronto article about the changes coming to Union Station it was reported that work would be completed in 2015. Complications faced over the period include general contractors that dealt with financial issues, surprises encountered when taking the ageing building back to its bare bones, and the challenges of keeping Canada's busiest transit hub humming all while the work was done. Five years from its originally targeted completion date, we nearly have the last of the plan's key elements open to the public; at least we can now steal glimpses of much of what is still to come.

Beginning south of Front Street, the exoskeleton of the Bay Street Moat skylight is being constructed, with the structure in place to receive glass covering to allow for a convenient weather-sheltered transfer between the TTC station and the Teamway on the west side of Bay Street.

Steel moat covering construction, image by Ryan Debergh

The upper level of the Front Street Moat where it bridges over the entrance to Union Station's Bay Retail area was briefly open last week. It will eventually connect the grade-level eastern moat area with the Front Street Promenade, a retail corridor on the level of the station directly below and west of the Great Hall.

Balcony overlooking the moat, image by Forum contributor urbanyimby

Recent photos posted by UT Forum contributor urbanyimby taken from the balcony show new elements soon to open in the east end of the Front Street Moat. Seen in the image below, temporary stairs, which were in use for months, have been stripped and are now being prepared for their final treatment, and three entrances to the TTC subway station will soon reopen, following the completion of the Moat's paving.

New entrances expected to alleviate congestion in the moat, image by Forum contributor urbanyimby

Heading southward, some of the future Bay Street retail area are now accessible. Although most of it is blocked off for completion, the north end of the space acts as a new passageway with a new staircase and escalators that connect with the Front Street Promenade retail area above to the west. It in turns leads to the VIA and GO York concourses currently in use by passengers. Above, a skylight has opened up, and lighting in the ceiling provides a modern touch.

Staircases and escalators connecting the TTC Moat and the Leather Shop-bypass, image by Ryan Debergh

In the Front Street Promenade retail area, a few new retailers have opened up shop, with the Cocktail Emporium and Dresden Vision as the first two to open on the east side, joining several tenants like Peace Collective and Cali Love that have operated on the west side for some time.

Retail spaces in the Front Street Promenade, image by Forum contributor urbanyimby

Continuing up to the Great Hall, from its east end we can peer into the skylight area. The East Wing is seeing finishings come into place for a retail/restaurant space that has yet to be named. 

East Wing construction, image by Ryan Debergh

As this work and more wraps up—heading toward a projected Q3 2020 close—Metrolinx is ramping up the Request for Proposals (RFP) process for a second set of station improvements; this time making changes to the actual train platforms to accommodate GO service expansions on the agenda for the next several years.

Additional information and images can be found in our Database file for the project, linked below. Want to get involved in the discussion? Check out the associated Forum thread, or leave a comment below.

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