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City says Union Station revitalization has come a long way

The union station concourse area under construction on April 30. 2019. The project is expected to be competed in 2020. CITYNEWS

A revitalization project that began at Union Station in 2011 will be completed by Sept. 2020, five years behind the original end date and tens of millions of dollars over budget.

According to the city, great progress has been made and members of the media got a firsthand look at the areas still under construction on Tuesday.

“There’s light at the end of the tunnel,” said Brad Ross, spokesman for the City of Toronto.

However, the newly dug out retail spaces and concourses still look far from complete: construction material litters the floors, ceilings and walls remain unfinished, and crews are still actively working. But the city is celebrating how far the project has come along so far.

“There is actual progress happening,” said Ross.

Crews have spent almost a decade digging out a massive underground tunnel between York and Bay Street, two levels below the tracks at Union Station.

“It’s extremely complicated,” said Frank Molinari, Director of Project Management, City of Toronto.

Once complete, there will be more than 100 retailers at the station and a section under the VIA rail concourse will become a new fresh market, touted as the ‘best of Toronto.’ 30 retailers are already open in the completed parts of the concourse.

“What we’re doing is talking to independent butchers, bakers, candlestick makers in the city, so you really will have, in the area, the spirit of the city of Toronto,” said Vanessa Mcdonald, VP Brand and Partnerships, Toronto Union.

“Imagine a full St. Lawrence Market, if you will, underground where you can pick up your fresh, organic, grass fed beef or your organic veggies, or everything in between right there in the convenience of Union Station,” said McDonald.

While the project has been delayed several years, the city says it’s to be expected with a project of this magnitude and say they do not anticipate any further delays.