TTC Considers Extreme Makeover



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The picture on the right could be Museum station in 2007, if TTC commissioners approve a $350,000 initiative (with matching private funds) to renovate the station and others to various themes. The station would be altered to reflect its connection to the Royal Ontario Museum, with its columns altered to look like mummies, totem poles and other artefacts. Other stations altered could be Osgoode (possibly renamed Osgoode-Opera) to look like an Opera House, and St. Patrick, to take on an appearance recalling the Art Gallery of Ontario, three blocks away. The Toronto Star has more details.

Anne Swarbrick of the Toronto Community Foundation is spearheading this attempt to renovate these stations as a part of the foundation’s goal of installing as much art as possible in Toronto’s urban spaces. She has the enthusiastic support of TTC Commissioner Howard Moscoe, who hopes that eventually all of Toronto’s older subway stations will be similarly renovated.

In the opinion of this editor, such a project has its advantages and drawbacks. There is no doubt that some of Toronto’s older subway stations can do with renovation, and the Museum proposal has some pretty pictures attached, but the people behind this project are going into this proposal the wrong way when they refer to many of Toronto’s current stations as “like a 1960s-era washroom”. It shows they have no appreciation of the subtle design features that are already in place.

Believe it or not, the style of the 1960s stations on the Bloor-Danforth subway and the University line has its fans, and its subtle design features build up the subway as a collective entity, and not as a series of unconnected stations. If there is any renovation to be done, one project might be to restore the twelve stations on the original Yonge line to their 1950s appearance, with their vitrolite tiles and colouring scheme that was lost during the renovations of the 1980s. To lose the design and colouring scheme of the Bloor-Danforth subway is to lose yet another heritage feature in a city that just doesn’t value its architectural history, even as it strives for new architectural achievements.

(Update): Spacing’s Wire has artist concept drawings of St. Patrick and Osgoode stations as well. And, if you don’t mind my saying, I find the Osgoode concept to be absolutely horrible. Paved.ca asks “what other stations need a look that lives up to their environs?”

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