Union (TTC)

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This article is about the subway station. For the adjacent railway station, see Union Station (Toronto).
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg
Union TTC subway station second platform 6.jpg
Second platform opens with work still ongoing to upgrade the original and construct a new wall
Location 55 Front Street West,
Toronto, Ontario
Coordinates 43°38′44″N 79°22′50″W / 43.64556°N 79.38056°W / 43.64556; -79.38056Coordinates: 43°38′44″N 79°22′50″W / 43.64556°N 79.38056°W / 43.64556; -79.38056
Platforms 2 side platforms
Connections GO Transit logo.svg UP Express logo.svg VIA Rail Canada simplified.svg Railway Station
GO Transit logo.svg Bus Terminal
Structure type underground
Disabled access Yes
Opened 30 March 1954 (1954-03-30)
Rebuilt 2011-2015
Passengers (2012-13[1]) 99,960
Preceding station   TTC   Following station
toward Downsview
TTC - Line 1 - Yonge-University-Spadina line.svg Yonge–University
toward Finch
toward Exhibition
509 Harbourfront Terminus
toward Spadina
510 Spadina
TTC Union Station streetcar platform, prior to renovations
Excavation of the Union Station subway station circa 1949

Union Station is a subway station on the Yonge–University line in Toronto, Canada and is one of the 12 original stations on the city's first section of subway, which opened in 1954. It is also the underground terminus of the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina streetcar routes.

Union Station is located on Front Street between the Yonge Street and University Avenue sections of the line. It is situated between Bay Street and York Street, immediately north of the railway station and regional bus terminal of the same name. In Toronto's observed compass of street directions, Union is the southernmost station; however, using the standard global compass directions, Kipling and Islington Stations are further south.

Union connects the subway with GO Transit trains and buses, Via Rail, Ontario Northland Railway, and Amtrak. It serves approximately 100,000 people a day, ranking it as the fourth-busiest station in the system, after Bloor-Yonge, St. George & Sheppard–Yonge and the system's busiest station served by only one line. Wi-fi service is available at this station.[2]


North side entrances:

South side entrances:


The station opened as the southern terminus of the original Yonge subway line on March 30, 1954.

On February 28, 1963, Union became a through station with the opening of the University section of the Yonge–University line.

On June 22, 1990, Union became the underground terminus of the former 604 Harbourfront LRT, now served by the 509 Harbourfront and 510 Spadina routes. Both Spadina and St. Clair West stations were designed with an underground streetcar connection in mind. Retrofitting Union Station required building a pedestrian tunnel approximately 30 metres long, with a flight of stairs in the middle leading from the station's mezzanine level.[3]

In 1996, elevators became operational and it was one of the first accessible subway stations.[4] There was even an elevator added in the streetcar access corridor from the mezzanine level even through accessible streetcars were still years away.[3]

By 2011, often no transfer was required to transfer to or from a streetcar in the underground loop to the main subway system. However, some summers tourists were allowed to board streetcars along Queens Quay without paying a fare. During these times passengers alighting at Union Station were asked to either pay a fare or show a valid transfer.[5] The introduction of proof-of-payment on the 509 and 510 routes eliminates this practice.

On August 18, 2014, the TTC opened the second platform for Yonge-bound trains.[6]

Flexity Outlook streetcars started to serve Union from route 510 Spadina on October 12, 2014,[7] and from route 509 Harbourfront on March 29, 2015.[8] This introduced the requirement for Proof-of-payment (POP) for riders arriving or departing Union via streetcar.[9]

Station expansion[edit]

Union’s status as a transport hub has resulted in overcrowding on its narrow centre platform, often requiring TTC personnel to regulate the number of passengers allowed to wait on the platform at a given time. This results in overcrowding in the concourse level and significant commuter delays.

In 2003, public consultations and planning meetings were held to examine options to reduce crowding in the station. The resulting plan calls for the current platform to be re-purposed to serve only the University line trains, while a new platform would be built on the south side of the existing tracks to serve the Yonge line trains. Preparatory construction for the expansion (mainly re-locating utilities buried in the area to be excavated for the new platform) began in 2006. The project went to public tender in April 2010 and construction commenced in February 2011.[6] The second platform opened on August 18, 2014.[10] A new level access corridor was built between the new subway platform (for Yonge-bound trains) and the streetcar loop eliminating the stairs and elevator of the old corridor.[3]

Station decor[edit]

Panel from Zones of Immersion by Stuart Reid opposite the new platform

When the subway opened in 1954, this station had glossy Vitrolite tiles, using yellow background tiles and red lettering and trim. The station name on the walls was the TTC’s unique Gill Sans-inspired subway font. During renovations in the 1980s, the yellow vitrolite tiles were replaced with brown ceramic tiles and vinyl siding and the station font became Univers. With the second platform renovation, grey tiles were used and the UNION station name returned to its original subway font.[3]

As part of the second platform project, a glass wall has been built to block off the southern side of the old platform since it now only serves the University line. On this wall, Stuart Reid has created the art work "Zones of Immersion".[11] The work comprises 166 large glass panels, each measuring more than one by two metres, extending 170-metre (560 ft) along the length of the platform. Mostly transparent, it is visible from both the Yonge and University platforms. Each panel contains images or words, many based on sketches that Reid drew while riding the subway. Reid is a professor at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and a stained-glass artist.[12]

Subway infrastructure[edit]

Interlocking signal at east end of University line platform.

Leaving the station eastbound, the Yonge leg of the line runs briefly under Front Street and turns 90 degrees north to run under Yonge Street; leaving westbound, the University leg also runs under Front Street, and eventually turns 90 degrees north to run under University Avenue.

This station is one of the only stations that has a curved platform (the other one being St Clair station).

The station is also noted as being one of only three stations on the TTC where a signal light is publicly accessible (the others being Davisville and Islington Station). The signal is located on the east (trailing) end of the University line platform. It is an interlocking signal that protects the crossover to the northbound Yonge Line and is only occasionally used to reverse Yonge Line trains at Union.[3]

Nearby landmarks[edit]

Nearby landmarks include Union Station, the Royal York Hotel, the Air Canada Centre, Rogers Centre, the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the CN Tower, the Royal Bank Plaza, Brookfield Place, the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the Sony Centre for the Performing Arts.

Surface connections[edit]

A transfer is required to connect between the subway or streetcars and these bus routes at curbside stops:

  • 6A Bay northbound to Dupont Street
6B northbound to Davenport Road at Yonge Street
6+ southbound to Queens Quay and Lower Sherbourne
97B southbound to Queens Quay
320A northbound to York Mills Station
320E northbound to Eglinton Station
320 southbound to Queens Quay


  1. ^ "Subway ridership, 2012-2013" (PDF). Toronto Transit Commission. This table shows the typical number of customer-trips made on each subway on an average weekday and the typical number of customers travelling to and from each station platform on an average weekday. Five stations serve two subways, and so are listed twice, once for each subway 
  2. ^ "Wi-fi Now Available At". TCONNECT. Retrieved January 2015. Each of the 65 underground stations will have wireless and Wi-Fi service by 2017 
  3. ^ a b c d e James Bow. "Union". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 2015-05-15. 
  4. ^ "Milestones". About the TTC. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved December 2014. 1996: Downsview Station, Bloor-Yonge Station, and Union Station become the first accessible subway stations. 
  5. ^ Robert Mackenzie (May 6, 2011). "You can get on Queens Quay streetcars for free". Transit Toronto. Retrieved 28 December 2011. 
  6. ^ a b Robert Mackenzie. "TTC opening second subway platform at Union Station, August 18". Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2015-05-17. 
  7. ^ Munro, Steve (2014-10-12). "Streetcars Return to Queens Quay". Steve Munro. Retrieved 2015-06-16. 
  8. ^ Steve Munro (2015-02-06). "TTC Service Changes Effective March 29, 2015". Steve Munro. Retrieved 2015-05-17. 
  9. ^ "Proof-of-Payment (POP)". Fares & Passes. Toronto Transit Commission. Retrieved 2015-05-17. 
  10. ^ http://transit.toronto.on.ca/archives/weblog/2014/08/15-ttc_openin.shtml
  11. ^ Nick Westoll (August 17, 2014). "TTC opens Union Subway Station second platform". Retrieved August 2014. The TTC will also be installing a 500-foot glass art wall to block off the southern side of the University line platform. Stuart Reid won an international public art competition for his piece, “Zones of Immersion,” in 2012. 
  12. ^ Christopher Hume (2015-03-31). "Union Station artwork an exercise in artistic transparency". The Toronto Star. Retrieved May 2015. 

External links[edit]