There was a certain magic about Christmastime in the Toronto of my youth: the excitement of jostling along sidewalks crowded with shoppers and streets filled with maroon-and-cream PCC streetcars slopping through the snow and slush; the sounds Christmas carols spilling from busy shops, the thrill of standing in the cold and studying the elaborate Christmas displays in the windows of Simpsons and Eatons. And Toronto Union Station.
Union! Ever captivating, Union Station became even more so in the Christmas season. The crowds seemed more animated, the travel more urgent, the snow-packed trains — wreathed in steam that swirled about the train shed — seemed more important. And the Great Hall, graced with a giant Christmas tree, was at its magnificent best.
For years I made visiting Union at Christmastime a ritual of the season. Sometimes in the course of legitimate travel, more often for the simple joy of experiencing Union at Christmas. Such was the case on the evening of December 17, 1979, when I not only called on Union to absorb the atmosphere, but also had the presence of mind to expose a few frames of Kodachrome in the process.