For this week’s timeframe I decided to head downtown to catch the beginning of the rush hour madness at Union Station – the place where TTC subway trains, the GO Transit commuter trains, and the VIA Rail intercity trains all converge.
I headed downtown around 6 am for the one hour drive in relatively quiet traffic.
Helen accompanied me again, and our first stop was the regal Royal York Hotel which is across the street from Union Station. It was built in 1929 and, at 28 stories high, was the tallest building in Toronto at the time. Throughout its history, it’s had a reputation for grandeur and is still considered the residence of choice for the Royal Family when they are in Toronto.
When I first arrived in Toronto fresh out of university many years ago, I considered the Royal York a place of opulence and fascination. It still fascinates me today.
The Royal York is linked to Union Station and the surrounding office towers by a vast network of underground paths. In fact, it is called the PATH, and with upwards of 30 km of walkways, it is considered the largest underground shopping complex in the world.
Have you ever been to downtown Toronto and wondered where all the stores and people were? Go underground.
It was on the PATH that I was reprimanded by a security guard for taking photographs. Apparently it is not allowed. Ironically, when I opened this photo on my computer, the security guard was in the background. He was a very pleasant young man and I promised not to take any more photos. I lied, of course.
There has been construction chaos around Union Station itself for a couple of years and its magnificent facade is hidden behind construction bubblewrap.
Inside, we fought our way upstream into the flow of commuters heading to work. Our target destination was to take photos at track level … a restricted area unless you have a paid ticket and boarding for the train has been called. We didn’t let that technicality stop us and fortunately we weren’t caught.
This week’s adventure left me with a couple of impressions. First of all, I really noticed how nice people were. We looked like tourists and several people stopped to offer us unsolicited assistance.
Secondly, I was reminded that I can’t go anywhere with Helen and not encounter someone who knows her from her many years as an active member of the running community. This morning was no exception.
Thirdly, the city is constantly evolving and changing. We gawked and marvelled at the things that had changed in the years since we worked downtown a (cough) number of years ago.
Lastly, it seems that people don’t dress as well as they used to. I remember a time when it was frowned upon for a woman to wear pants to work, and all men, regardless of position were expected to wear a tie. Today in contrast, everyone looked so casually dressed. Downtown didn’t have the same haughty and formal appearance that I remembered.
This was my world this morning between 7 am and 8 am. For more One Day One World, visit Northwest Frame of Mind.