December 15, 2011

0073 CANADA (Ontario) – Toronto's Union Station

"You build your stations like we build our cathedrals", said Prince Edward, Prince of Wales, during the official opening of Toronto’s Union Station, on August 6, 1927. He received the first ticket sold at Union Station, to Alberta for a cost of $71.20, which today would cost over $1,100.

Union Station, located in the heart of the City on Front and Bay street, is the central hub for all inter-city transit in Toronto, and the busiest passenger transportation facility in Canada, serving approximately quarter of a million passengers each day. The building of the station came as a result of the great fire in 1904, which demolished 14 acres of the downtown manufacturing and warehouse district. The Canadian Pacific and Grand Trunk Railways negotiated with the City of Toronto for control of some of this land, and construction began in 1914, but the WWI and the collapse of the Grand Trunk Railway in 1919 delayed completion until 1921.

Designed in the Beaux-Arts style, it was the largest and most opulent station erected in Canada. Monumental in design, the great Hall features a coffered vault ceiling of Gustavino tiles. The shape of the ceiling is echoed in the four-storey, barrel-vaulted windows on the east and west walls. Mid-way up the north and south walls are carved names of the cities that were then serviced by the Canadian Pacific Railways and the Canadian National Railways, the government-owned railway that replaced the Grand Trunk. The list alternates from side to side, naming the cities from east to west.

The interior walls are of Zumbro stone from Missouri; the floors are Tennessee marble, laid in a herringbone pattern. The exterior walls of the station are Indiana and Queenston limestone. Each of the 22 Bedford limestone columns weights 75 tons and is 40 feet high. In front of the station, as seen in the photography realised by Tim Peters, is an iron sculpture celebrating Christopher Columbus.

Union Station has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada since 1975.

About the stamp I wrote here.

sender: Pompilian Tofilescu

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