trainspotting (blog)

Christmastime at UN

Toronto Union Station at its magnificent best, December 17, 1979

Toronto Union Station at its magnificent best, December 17, 1979

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.

Now boarding on Track 10. CN 302, a battered Budd observation car built in 1937 for the Reading Crusader, carries the markers of VIA No. 79, waiting to depart Toronto Union for Windsor on December 17, 1979.

Now boarding on Track 10. CN 302, a battered Budd observation car built in 1937 for the Reading Crusader, carries the markers of VIA No. 79, waiting to depart Toronto Union for Windsor on December 17, 1979.

City lights. Waiting to depart Union with Toronto-Windsor train 79, VIA FP9 6537 basks in the warm neon glow of the Royal York Hotel. December 17, 1979. 

City lights. Waiting to depart Union with Toronto-Windsor train 79, VIA FP9 6537 basks in the warm neon glow of the Royal York Hotel. December 17, 1979. 

 

greg mcdonnell1 Comment