In the early days of TCL (late 2008 — that site was just awful), I was focusing my efforts unscrupulously advertising on the popular blogTO site. At that time, they were looking for people to write for them and I got it in my head that I could split my time between that and this blog. Hey, I was younger and naiver.
As part of the application, they wanted me to present a number of topics I’d be willing to cover for them. I recall pitching a multi-part expose on local cannabis shops, something about Steve Mann, and the imminent Union Station Revitalization project. I say imminent because, at the time, I had this notion that City Hall operated quickly and that the project would be underway by summer. Like I said, naiver. (I know, “more naive”, but “naiver” is more correct.)
Luckily, I quickly wised up and this little outside endeavour came to a splattering halt. Then I forgot about it.
Today I got an official Toronto Council tweet that a vote had been taken on the project and that it was almost unanimously approved. Hang on, I thought, hadn’t they done that last year? Well, no, they approved the commissioning of a report.
Because today’s vote was to “adopt” a part of that report. Is that Councilese for, “Thanks, just leave it in the cylindrical filing bin on your way out”?
So, let’s see what they “adopted”:
“Approve the Head Lessee named in Confiden…”
*yawn* I can already feel sweet sweet slumber caressing my eyelids. From the sentence or so that I managed, I think they voted to let the head business guy do his job. Or something. No mention of ground-breaking or anything.
You’d think they’d have a little urgency about it. I mean, Union Station is the transportation hub of Toronto:
I still have a little trouble picturing what they’re planning to do, but it sounds like they want to dig one level deeper under most of the station to create a shopping level and a separate pedestrian level:
Here’s the way it currently looks when viewed from about ten meters (thirty-two feet) to the left of the above picture:
It’s a bit of a shame, if you ask me. I mean, I know it’s a little dark and cave-y, but it’s got some character. Though I’ll grant that it’s not like the hall above it:
The only work done here will be restoration.
There’s also the highly-trafficked GO concourse, which will also get more headroom and a new splash of colour:
I’m neither here nor there about the current getup:
It gets busy, but it gets the job done. It’s practical. I couldn’t imagine any more from the current government. Any Canadian government, for that matter.
Artist’s renditions always look much better than the real world structure they represent. For example, have you seen those condo ads where the artist took the liberty of introducing casual pedestrian traffic and gentle greenery around the building? Except that when you see the area in person, you notice that the concept would actually be impossible without knocking down a few of the surrounding buildings. And they’re young and cocky and not about to be pushed around.
So my point is, if these visions of Union Station are already over-idealized, and I’m not really that jazzed about them, I probably shouldn’t be building up my expectations. Does that make me a cynic? Does it mean I’ll be pleasantly surprised when the renovations aren’t as bad as I thought they’d be? I like to think both, with a touch of mirthful glee thrown in because, no matter what, I’ll be right.
These are early days yet and who knows how many times the plans may change between now and 2011, when the work actually begins. Well, I say that like I know it for a fact. I don’t, but the current pace of progress would seem to suggest that date very strongly.
And then the following year it’ll be destroyed. All my hard-earned taxpayer money down the drain. Hahaha! I kid. It’s not hard-earned.