Toronto Union Station Visitor Guide 2023: Everything you need to know
Arrive into Toronto by train and you'll quite probably disembark onto one of the platforms in Union Station. It’s architecturally impressive inside and out and pretty unique as train stations go.The Beaux-Art design of the building gives it the appearance of a columned temple dedicated to the gods of rail transport, and it’s unusual enough to have made it an official National Historic Site of Canada.
Union Station’s lofty, arched ceiling and roof-high arched windows are more fitting of a medieval castle than they are a Canadian city transport hub. But a major transport hub it is. With twelve platforms, sixteen tracks, and with an annual passenger movement of over seventy million, it's one of the busiest in North America. That means it can be a pandemonium of people toing and froing and a nightmare to negotiate with baggage. Leave your suitcases in a luggage storage locker near Union Station and you'll be able to make a bag-free tour of this fascinating historic building.
Bag policy at Union Station in Toronto
The interior of Union Station could be compared to a ginormous shopping mall and it's one you'll want to investigate when you're there. Wandering around with your bags won't be easy though, as you'll be one among three hundred thousand others who pass through the station every day. You can't leave bags unattended anywhere and it's difficult to enter shops or restaurants with them so drop them at a luggage storage service before setting off to explore. The added bonus to doing that is it'll leave your hands free to carry all the purchases you're bound to make in the station stores.
Food policy at Union Station in Toronto
You could quite easily spend a month or more trying the food from all the different eateries in Toronto's Union Station. There really is an endless selection of food vendors, restaurants, coffee shops and fast food outlets crammed into every space imaginable. Not only are the station’s promenades and causeway lined with them, there's a market, marquees and a food court where they sell everything from fresh produce to Thai, Italian, and Ramen noodles to name just a few of the extensive array of culinary delights on offer. For those with a sweet tooth there's ice cream, Danish pastries and cheesecake too.
Camera policy at Union Station in Toronto
If you’re a regular member of the public then you are able to take photographs inside Toronto's Union Station. There's plenty to snap shots of too and because of the clerestory windows, the light has an exceptional quality which will add ambiance to your photos. If you work for the press, you'll need to get permission before using your camera in the station. Don't and you could find yourself being escorted out. Everyone should avoid taking pictures of security cameras, staff, passengers they don’t know and the police if present, or they too could find themselves with an unexpected problem.
Rules at Union Station in Toronto
Union Station has fixed opening hours which are from 5.30am to 12.45am. Access to the station isn't permitted outside of those hours unless you're catching the UP Express. Passengers using that service are expected to go straight to the relevant platform as loitering in the Great Hall isn't allowed.
The rules at Union Station don't permit you to enter with any animals unless it's a service dog. If you're traveling with your furbuddy then you will need to keep it in a pet carrier at all times. Cycling through the station is prohibited too so leave your bike in the cycle park unless you're taking it onboard a train.
Lockers at Union Station, Toronto
There are no luggage lockers on the Union Station concourse or anywhere in the building. ViaRail offers a very limited checked-in luggage service which is restricted to their passengers only with tickets for same day travel. They don't store suitcases for the general public or offer overnight storage for their clients. If you are traveling with them or Amtrak, they will hold hand luggage or carry-on cases for a short period after the applicable fee has been paid.
If you're not boarding your train for some time, you don't need to be lumbered with your baggage. Bounce has over twenty luggage storage facilities near Union Station and around Toronto, many within a short walking distance, where you can store suitcases for as long as you want. With Bounce you’ll only pay a minimal per bag daily fee, but also that includes security seals and full insurance coverage to give you complete peace of mind.