Metrolinx’s Gingerbread Man – Turning festive treats into Toronto transit art

Attention – Please do not eat the walls of Union Station

There’s the art on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

That’s pretty sweet.

And Russian Byzantine styled architecture – with those colourfully swirled domes – is a bit like ice cream sundaes or macaroons in a shop window.

But few buildings will make your sweet tooth ache as much as Union Station. At least, the way Kyle Miller has rebuilt the iconic Toronto transit hub.

Miller, a senior business analyst for Metrolinx, isn’t content to create the usual two-level detached, suburban gingerbread houses most of us take pride in.

Miller sculpts sugary spectacles. Miracles in molasses. Confectionary constructions that will carry your taste buds away.

Gingerbread Cathedral

Slice of heaven. Kyle Miller’s take on a candy and gingerbread cathedral.

His passion for designing complicated gingerbread structures began in his teen years, and a cathedral with candied stained glass windows.

“I’ve always enjoyed cooking and baking in the kitchen,” says the sage of sugar.

His work at Metrolinx gave him an opportunity to pair his love of creating beautiful gingerbread creations with his love of transportation.

“I’m always looking for new gingerbread structures to create, but could never decide on what to build,” he explains.

“It’s when I hit upon the idea of combining my love of transportation, model railroading, and baking that I realized what I could create.”

Last year, he created a mouth-watering representation of Union Station.

It required cardboard cut-out models and accurate measurements in order to create the sloped roofs and somewhat accurate dimensions. Though he admits, the real Union Station is longer.

Ginger_station

Kyle Miller’s Rice Krispie ‘new concept’ GO station.
It’s made up of Rice Krispie squares as base building material, Nerds as ballast (the rocks that go under the tracks), mini Kit-Kat bars (as the railroad ties/sleepers), and other various candies. (Yes, those are gummi bears lined up to tap their PRESTO cards!)

His creation this year is a ‘new concept’ GO expansion station.

“I basically built and designed it as I went,” he says, adding the Union Station creation took between 20 and 30 hours, while the new station took about 12 hours over the span of a week.

As part of the platform, small Gummy bears are lined up to tap their PRESTO cards. Mini Kit Kats are used for the railway ties.

Miller doesn’t have an estimate of the number of candies he’s used in either of his creations, but guesses it is well into the hundreds, if not thousands. You’d have to include each of the Nerd candies used for ballast on the station.

“I try to stay humble – the gingerbread creations on holiday baking shows are truly amazing,” he points out. “My attention to detail would certainly need a lot of work in order to compete with those masterpieces!”

He isn’t sure what he’ll create next year, but is open to sweet suggestions.

Though he’s not really in the market for a suburban, two-level.

Story by Metrolinx communications coordinator Paul Jones