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The new pedestrian plaza and entry at the Victoria Park subway station in east-end Toronto. Where there were once blank concrete walls, a new pedestrian plaza and automobile pick-up/drop-off area has been created, featuring rainwater-fed planters, benches, and a colourful glazed entryway. “The idea was to try to make this a little nicer,” explains architect James Brown, “something that would contrast against that grey concrete, something with reflective qualities.”

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The bus bay canopy with the circular cut-outs. “We got away with some beautiful things: the scale of this is just fantastic,” says Mr. Brown of the new bus area. He’s pleased, in particular, with the circular cut-outs on the roof, complete with ornate screens, which he says “was almost too much to ask for [the money] to do that.”

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“This is really quite spectacular,” says Mr. Brown of the station’s new green roof. “The problem with green roofs is you never get to see them because they’re up top, but here your normal everyday walk-through shows these things off quite nicely.” They’re also a new part of the landscape for the hundreds of high rise dwellers who look down upon the station.

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“Generally speaking, in subway stations you haven’t a clue where you are,” offers Mr. Brown. With the redesign, commuters can immediately orient themselves when they see the bus area or the golf course.

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“You can be adjacent to something but completely separated,” says architect James Brown - seen here walking along one of the pathways - about the disparate areas the surround Victoria Park Station. “You have to work to make those links.”

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The removal of sections of wall to accommodate the large windows has made for some interesting new names for the station, such as “RIA PARK” or “CTORIA PARK.” Mr. Brown says that had the budget permitted, he’d have pushed to have the missing letters etched into the glass.

Dave LeBlanc/The Globe and Mail

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