One Day One World: 7 am to 8 am

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.


Construction prevented a photo of the front entrance so a side entrance had to be good enough.


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.



The commuter traffic starting to fill the PATH leading from Union Station.

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.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Photo Challenges and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

43 Responses to One Day One World: 7 am to 8 am

  1. Pingback: One Day One World: 8 am to 9 am | My Life Lived Full

  2. Pingback: One Day One World: 8 am to 9 am | My Life Lived Full

  3. jannatwrites says:

    I’ve never been to Toronto so I enjoyed this glimpse. I’m a bit surprised you were stopped for taking photos (how ironic the perverts taking sneaky shots up women’s skirts seen to do so with ease!)


    • joannesisco says:

      I was somewhat surprised too … especially since it should have been obvious that I wasn’t trying to photo people directly.
      Sometimes it’s just easier to nod your head and go upon your way without arguing. He was just a young guy and very nice about it.


  4. Sammy D. says:

    Great post! Love the photos inside the station – especially the one with the lighting.

    Had to chuckle at your fashionista observation that downtown folks just don’t dress as style-ishly as they used to :-). I DO remember those good old days when men’s suits made them look quite dashing!


  5. Loved this one, Joanne! And it’s good to know people will be nice to me when I come to Toronto. 🙂

    Um. One of the attractions of teaching where I do is that I can get away with wearing jeans and sneakers. (We have to wear flat, non-slip shoes so Converse sneakers are perfect, I reckon. Plus I have several pairs and the kids love to see which ones I’m wearing on any given day!)


    • joannesisco says:

      You are forgiven your jeans and sneakers … that’s exactly how Helen and I were dressed and we fit right it 🙂 It was surprising though since this is the financial heart of the country where the big law firms, accounting offices, and corporate headquarters are all located.

      … and of course we will be very nice to you when you come to visit 😀


  6. stvrsnbrgr says:

    I love the flow of people and energy through train stations. It’s more romantic now that I no longer commute that way… but even then… I loved emerging from the subterranean tracks into the vastness of Grand Central Station in New York. Here in Los Angeles, there is a gorgeous old Union Station that has been restored, and is still a ‘working’ commuter depot. But the car has always been king in LA, so Union Station doesn’t have the same feeling of being at the center of it all. Great pix of Toronto’s gems!


    • joannesisco says:

      You hit it right on the head! I love trains. I grew up in a small isolated town that was a railway junction. Trains were a very romantic notion and held a promise of travel and adventure. It’s never lost that lustre for me 🙂
      I glad you enjoyed my photos 🙂


  7. pambrittain says:

    Seems odd that you weren’t supposed to take pictures there.


    • joannesisco says:

      He was claiming new privacy laws.
      I’m a former privacy professional and I’m not aware of any changes to privacy laws to prevent people from taking photos … especially since I was not taking photos of faces.
      I wasn’t going to argue 🙂


  8. Lynn says:

    I remember going to the Royal York with my Dad when I was 16, to see Dionne Warwick perform in the Imperial Room. It seemed so opulent to me at that time, a very special evening spent with my Dad:)


  9. Joe says:

    Wow Joanne what a beautiful station 🙂 Great post and images.


  10. Last time I was in Toronto might have been seven years ago and the Royal York, more than 50. Eek. Did I just say that? These are gorgeous pictures. Thank you for the early morning tour. A little chilly this morning?


  11. NancyTex says:

    Nice shots and narrative, Joanne! I love the Royal York and miss the days when it was the crown jewel of the TO skyline.


  12. Sue Slaght says:

    Joanne I was struck by the creative and superb angles of your photos! It was fun to see the city but frankly I was so taken with the perspective of the shots that what my mind kept coming back to. Lovely!


  13. The pictures of the lions and stairs are just beautiful Jo. Peoples’ dress codes really bug me these days-not so much about work-in particular the theatre. No one bothers to dress up any more and I find it incredibly sad xx


  14. I should have let Reiner know you’d be there to greet him! He takes the train to Union Station every day.

    You and that little camera of yours do a great job! Security folk notwithstanding.


  15. Great post! I’m one of those commuters a couple of times a week taking the GO train down the Don Valley to work. It has been amazing to experience all the changes and people have continued to be polite to each other throughout all the crazy construction.


  16. What fun, Joanne I feel like I was right there with you and Helen having an early morning adventure. 🙂


  17. Pingback: 1 Day 1 World Project: 7:00 am – 8:00 am | Northwest Frame of Mind

  18. Apparently, or so I learnt from a friend this week, the best way to take photos undetected – especially street scenes – is to shoot them from the hip. Must experiment with that…


    • joannesisco says:

      ooo -thanks for the tip. I have lots of practicing to do!!

      The funny part was I was deliberating trying to photograph legs only and the backs of people …. and it was obvious that was what I was doing. Apparently it didn’t matter 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Heyjude says:

    Busy, busy, busy! Love seeing your city in the morning. I’ve been to Union Station twice – once for the train to Niagara and then to catch the VIA Canadian to Vancouver. I like Toronto, for a city it has a very friendly feel about it and I adored Cabbagetown.


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