New artwork aims to further transform Union Station Bus Terminal in Toronto

It’s been a less than a year since the new Union Station Bus Terminal first opened its doors and went into service. Now, the state-of-the art transit hub is set to get a cosmetic makeover that will make waiting for GO buses more enjoyable. Take a look at the artwork now.

The inside of the new Union Station Bus Terminal (USBT) is getting a dash of colour.

New art installations are going up early next week (Nov. 1) and will change the way customers view the inside of the key Toronto transit hub.

“These walls are almost asking for something colourful, that would break the linear grid and animate the space,” says Anna Passakas from Blue Republic, a critically acclaimed creative collaboration between Radoslaw Kudlinski and herself.

The artistic duo based in Toronto were among six Canadian artists who were invited to participate in a call for submissions held by Metrolinx and managed by DEXD, experience design company and art consultant of the project. A jury of art and design professionals assessed the concept designs and Blue Republic was selected as the winning team.

For Union Station Bus Terminal, Blue Republic created a series of figures that speak to the universal experience of travel, a theme that best represents the inside of the building.

A rendering of the work Passakas describes as expressive and dynamic with fragments of vehicles, people in motion, snippets of views encountered on the way. Please note this image is an animation and masks are mandatory at all time inside the terminal. (Blue Republic Photo)

According to Blue Republic, the USBT installation will engage the viewers on multiple levels with lots to see and discover each time you catch your bus.

This process took nearly a year to complete and logistically, the task of installing the art is quite complex. The art will have to be installed over the course of a few days on the wall of a fully functional station with COVID restrictions, all while factoring in active bus schedules.

A behind the scenes look inside Blue Republic’s studio where Anna Passakas and Radoslaw Kudlinski go over some of the design concepts. (Blue Republic Photo)

Keeping safety top of mind, the areas where the art will go up will be cordoned off but will not block access to the gates or zones – customers will still be able to get to their GO buses.

With over 100 exhibitions and projects on their resume, Blue Republic is no stranger when it comes to creating public art for the city. Their history of making compelling, and insightful public art dates from 2007, when their bright blue Peer Gynt sculpture won an international competition in Oslo.

Their work has also appeared inside Toronto Pearson Airport, in Brookfield Place in downtown Toronto, and in front of two new condo towers in the Yonge-Eglinton neighbourhood.

Another rendering of some of the artwork customers will soon be able to see inside Union Station Bus Terminal. This image is an animation and masks are mandatory at all time inside the terminal. (Blue Republic Photo)

“We hope that this project will energize the USBT. Human life is organic, and we want to inject this organic quality, plus the sense of humour and excitement into the station, so that anyone walking by can feel the uplifting effect art has to offer,” says Passakas.

The new artwork is set to go up on the walls of both levels of the Union Station Bus Terminal beginning the week of Nov. 1 and will take up to three days to install.

Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx Bilingual Spokesperson, Media Relations