Original Union Station (Toronto)

Original Union Station (Toronto)

Original Union Station (Toronto)

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Toronto’s first Union Station was built by the Grand Trunk Railway in 1858 at a location just west of the present Union Station trainshed. Union Station consisted of three wooden structures and was initially shared with the Northern Railway of Canada and the Great Western Railway, although both railways soon built their own stations along the Toronto waterfront.

By the 1870s, Toronto’s economy and population were booming and the old station was no longer adequate. The Grand Trunk built a new Union Station on the same site that opened on July 1, 1873. At the time it was the largest and most opulent railway station in Canada and was designed in the Italianate/2nd Empire style by architect Thomas Seaton Scott, who later designed Grand Trunk’s Bonaventure Station in Montreal. The builder was John Shedden & Co. and the Chief Engineer was the GTR’s E. P. Hannaford. The main entrance and façade faced the harbour rather than the city, underscoring the continued importance of boat travel on Lake Ontario. As the Grand Trunk absorbed several smaller railways serving Toronto, passenger trains were increasingly consolidated at Union Station. The arrival of the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1884 soon strained the facility beyond its limits, with its 3-track trainshed handling over sixty trains a day.

In 1892, the railways agreed to expand the station through an extensive rebuilding program and Edmund Wragge was appointed the project’s Chief Engineer. A new three-track train...
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