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Prince Edward snipped the ribbon at Toronto’s Union Station on Aug. 6, 1927, opening both a travel hub and a new era in transportation. It wasn't the first to be built at the foot of the city - in fact, Toronto's first-ever railway station was a shed on Front Street, built in 1853 where the current station is now. ‘First Union Station’ was built five years later on York Street, with ‘Second Union Station,’ also known as the 'old' Union Station, opening in 1873 at Simcoe Street and The Esplanade. But it was a blaze in 1904 that created the opportunity to merge various train stations at one larger site, right where Toronto’s railway history began. Razed land was transformed into a central hub and in the decades since, travellers not only venture from coast to coast but ride the rocket uptown or take the GO train. “You build your stations like we build our cathedrals,” the Prince of Wales said during Union Station’s opening ceremony, and Toronto continues to build on that architectural beauty today, propelling the landmark into the future.

Old Union Station in Toronto, circa the 1880s before the Front Street addition was added in 1892.

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The [Old] Union Station (1873-1927) platform, looking west, July 15, 1927. This is one of the last photos taken of the old station before the opening of the new Union Station the following month.

City of Toronto Archives

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The site for the new Union Station looking north, with Queen's Hotel on Front Street near York Street, October 21, 1915. Railway cars sit in the foreground.

City of Toronto Archives

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Union Station under construction, seen from the intersection of Front and York Streets, May 31, 1916.

City of Toronto Archives

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The new Union Station is pictured after its completion in 1927. The camera is facing west; a modern shot would show the CN Tower in the background.

City of Toronto Archives

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A image of Union Station taken in May, 2013, showing Front Street West and the ongoing construction on the station.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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Toronto's ‘New’ Union Station opens for business Aug. 11, 1927, as passengers buy their tickets on the first day of operations at the Canadian National Railways ticket counter. Officially opened Aug. 6, 1927, by Prince Edward, Union Station cost more than $6,000,000 to build.

Canadian National Railways

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Passengers buy rail tickets at Union Station May 9, 2013.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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The Great Hall with provincial flags hanging above the ticket counters in spacious main floor of the station, Aug. 19, 1971. A sign for GO Transit, the TTC Subway and the Royal York Hotel is visible on the left.

Franz Maier/The Globe and Mail

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The Great Hall with provincial flags hanging above the ticket counters in spacious main floor of the station, May 9, 2013.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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The Great Hall of Union Station is packed with people in the lead-up to Christmas, Dec. 23, 1943. Above the heads of the densely packed crowd is the Clock Tower and a notice for "Accommodation, Entertainment, Hospitality." A reminder that the nation is at war are the signs for the Canadian Armed Forces and a patriotic display of flags.

The Globe and Mail

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Dutch immigrants at Union Station look at an Ontario road map, Sept. 18, 1948.

Alexandra Studio/City of Toronto Archives

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When Union Station opened in 1927, the Panorama Lounge area was a public lunchroom, equipped with a long serving counter typical of that period. The room's original shape, marble-covered walls and plaster ceiling were all kept in the new design. After several iterations, the lunchroom was turned into a bar and grill, which closed in 2006.

City of Toronto

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Ontario Premier Leslie M. Frost gestures from a subway car at the official opening of Yonge Street subway line, March 30, 1954. The original line ran to Eglinton Station.

City of Toronto Archives

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A view of a train platform at Union Station in Toronto with baggage carts filled with sacks and packages, December, 1963.

John McNeill/The Globe and Mail

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Diagrams for boat and train reservations were made up months in advance using giant banks of wheel files. In this Dec. 30, 1958 photo, attendants revolve each section as needed for information.

Jack Dobson/The Globe

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An exterior view of Union Station and Front Street in Toronto, circa 1929.

Toronto Public Library

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A row of taxis wait for customers outside Union Station, September, 1962.


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Interior view of Union Station showing passengers walking through the Great Hall on the main floor of the station, June, 1964.

Harry McLorinan/The Globe and Mail

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Crowds wait for late GO Trains at Union Station in Toronto on Jan. 10, 1977.

Erik Christensen/The Globe and Mail

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Renovations are under way at Toronto's Union Station, with boarding and ropes in place near the entrance on Front Street in this Sept. 10, 1984 photo.

Edward Regan/The Globe and Mail

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Thirty years later, renovations are again underway at Toronto's Union Station on May 9, 2013.

Moe Doiron/The Globe and Mail

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