Two men clean hand rails.

Union Station to see a return to heavy foot traffic this week

The days ahead are adding up to be one of the busiest weeks at Union Station since the pandemic began. It’ll seem like old times for the celebrated transit hub. Here’s what’s happening – along with tips for mask-wearing travellers making their way downtown.

Welcome back to Union Station.

Canada’s iconic transportation hub is expected to see a major increase in foot traffic as events draw people back to Toronto.

Sporting events, vaccine clinics and a return to service are all attracting more people back to transit and especially Union Station this week. It’s important riders heading into the city are prepared, after what’s been a COVID pause for many people, to make their way through expected heavy crowds.

Union Station is lit up against a dark sky, with nearby office buildings also bright.
The CN Tower, always a popular tourist attraction, rises behind Union Station, which will be busy in coming days – and nights. (Metrolinx photo)

What’s Happening

The City of Toronto is hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics at Union Station, offering first and second doses from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. every day until Friday this week. The clinic can be found in the TTC promenade, on the lower level adjacent to the newly opened Bay Concourse.

Meanwhile, as the Toronto Blue Jays and Toronto Football Club continue their seasons into September, fans are expected to flock to the city to catch a game.

On Tuesday, both the Toronto Blue Jays and the Toronto FC had evening games. TTC, GO Transit and UP Express will bring a steady number of fans into downtown, en route to the nearby Rogers Centre and BMO field. The GO VAXX bus is also scheduled to make a stop at BMO Field for the game.

A train heads toward Union Station
A GO train heads toward Union Station. (Metrolinx photo)

The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) may draw additional transit riders to to transit routes, so like all riders, it’s important for people attending screenings to plan ahead to avoid crowding.

Busier From Here

Union Station is only expected to get busier as the Toronto Raptors have been granted approval to play in Toronto for the team’s first home preseason game on Oct. 4 at Scotiabank Arena.

It may be the first time in a long time that commuters are visiting Toronto, and the transit agency is reminding customers to have patience and be respectful of peoples’ personal space. It’s a return for most riders, and changes to Union Station – including the new GO Transit bus terminal – may have some people doing a few double-takes on finding their right path.

Image shows the couple sitting in their seats.
Jays fans Yasif and Safiya Gajiyani on a recent GO train trip into see a game. (Mike Winterburn photo)

Wear a Mask

Most importantly the transit agency wants to ensure rider safety remains a top priority. That includes mandatory masks – even if passengers are fully vaccinated.

There are clear plastic barriers between seats on trains and busses, and hand sanitizer dispensers on vehicles and in stations.

For those needing help, here’s GO Transit’s Trip Planner page.

While there are important COVID rules to follow, and changes to get used to, the fact Union Station is getting busy again, is a positive sign for everyone.

Story by Ross Andersen, Metrolinx senior advisor for Media Relations and Issues