Toronto’s Bay Street bus terminal reaches end of line
After 90 years, it looks like the Toronto bus station has almost served its last tired bus passenger.
For nearly a century, the gray building on the corner of downtown Bay and Dundas streets has been the hub of Toronto’s intercity bus service, but according to a new report, it will cease operations next month and will be turned over to the municipal government for potential redevelopment.
The terminal at 610 Bay St. is owned by a TTC subsidiary, the Toronto Coach Terminal Inc. (TCTI), which has been leasing it to private bus operators for years. A report submitted to TCTI’s board of directors next week says its agreement with a Greyhound and Coach Canada joint venture will expire on July 7 and the bus companies “will not occupy the properties after the lease expires.”
Neither the TTC nor its subsidiary have “current or future operating plans” for the site, the report said. He recommends that TCTI transfer ownership of Bay Street, along with an addition to the bus station near 130 Elizabeth Street, to the city once the lease expires.
In return, TCTI will ask the city for $ 4.2 million so that it can repay a loan, although the property’s valuation “greatly exceeds that amount,” according to the report.
According to the report, Greyhound and Coach Canada plan to move their operations to the new Union Station bus station near Bay and Front streets. Coach Canada moved to the new station this week.
Greyhound Canada announced last month that it was permanently shutting down operations across the country, although its U.S. subsidiary will continue to operate cross-border routes to major Canadian cities once the border reopens.
A city spokesperson could not immediately say what the city government intends to do with the terminal, which sits on prime downtown land.
But in 2019, the city identified the property as underutilized, making it a suitable location for new development that would meet municipal goals such as providing affordable housing, uses for employment, or other infrastructure. community.
Under city policy, excess land is administered by the municipal real estate agency, CreateTO.
The Toronto bus station opened in 1931 and initially housed the intercity bus service of the now defunct TTC. The art deco building was designed by Charles Dolphin, an Anglo-Canadian architect who was also responsible for the Canada Post delivery building, parts of which now form the facade of the Scotiabank Arena.
Jamie Bradburn, writer and historian, said the terminal was built at a time when the city was investing in grandiose buildings for transportation like Union Station, which opened four years earlier. With its grand staircase and elegant lighting, the bus station would have given an impressive welcome to those arriving in the city.
But over the decades, it has fallen into disuse. The second floor at the top of the grand staircase has been closed to the public, escalators have reportedly been shut down for years, and building entrances have been littered with pigeon droppings. Any fear he once inspired has been replaced by darker feelings that likely inspired more than a few potential bus travelers to fork out for a train ticket.
Still, the council added 610 Bay St. to the city’s heritage register in 1987, and Bradburn predicted there would be “a tough battle” if “anyone tried to do anything to change it. considerably the exterior â.
He said ideally the facade would be preserved and reused to house retail businesses or restaurants. Then there is always the Toronto solution par excellence, âwhich would be to make it the podium of a condoâ.