In 1927, Union Station at Front and Bay street opened to much fanfare after the ribbon on the project was cut with golden scissors by royalty. Thanks to its railway connections and proximity to the lake, this corner of the city has always been something of a busy spot for travellers. Later connections to the subway line in the 1950s further solidified its status as a major transit hub while the streets out front now regularly see some of the heaviest foot traffic in the country.

Currently undergoing a major renovation, the iconic Beaux-Arts structure had its renovated front plaza open in time for crowds of visitors coming to the Pan Am/Parapan Am Games.

Here’s a look back at the historic structure and its neighbours. All modern photos by James Bombales. Black and white photos courtesy of the Toronto Public Library unless otherwise specified.

Front Street West, looking east from York Street, 1927

Union Station, 1932


Photo: City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 9358

Front Street West, south side, between Bay and York Street, 1920s

Subway construction on Front Street, West of Bay Street, 1950

Photo: City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, Item 49294

5 Front Street Street West during subway construction, 1950

Photo: City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, Item 49298

Front Street West, south side, between Bay and York Streets, 1920s

Bank of Montreal (future Hockey Hall of Fame), 1958

Craving more Toronto history? Check out our then-and-now photo tours of the Junction, Ossington, Mid-town and much, much more!

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