Prince Edward greets Lieutenant Governor Ross and his wife at Union Station.

Courtesy of City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 999.  

The Royal Opening

August 6, 1927

On the morning of August 6th, 1927, Torontonians finally saw the opening of their long-awaited station that was more than fifteen years in the making. 

Before the current Union Station was built on its grounds along Front Street, a previous version was located a block to the west. However by 1900, this prior version was insufficient for managing trains and the people who used it. In 1913, the City of Toronto came to an agreement to build a new Union Station with joint owners, the Canadian National Railway (CNR) and Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

A series of disagreements about funding postponed the start of construction until 1915, only for it to be slowed down again by World War I. Although construction took time, the public eagerly anticipated Union Station's opening. However, Torontonians had to wait even longer, as additional arguments caused the station to sit vacant from 1920-1927. 

When the opening was finally agreed upon, the date was arranged to coincide with the Royal Tour of Edward, Prince of Wales. As part of his 1927 tour, the Prince accepted the offer to officially open Toronto's new Union Station. In the days leading up to the opening, excitement began to build as details were released to the public. 

The Prince stopped briefly to listen to the Canadian anthem. 

Courtesy of City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1266, Item 11130. 

When the morning arrived, large crowds gathered outside of. Union Station in anticipation for the doors to finally open and the Prince to arrive. As the royal train reached the tracks behind the station, the press waited eagerly on the platform alongside politicians including the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and the Ontario Premier. 

Eager crowds awaited the Prince outside of Union Station. 

Courtesy of the Toronto Star Archives..

When the Prince stepped down from the train car, he was joined by his youngest brother, Prince George, and the British Prime Minister. Since the station was still under construction, the party was led up temporary stairs to a ramp into the building. The Prince was first led to a red silk ribbon stretching across the ramp. He stepped forward and cut the ribbon using a pair of golden scissors. 

Soon after, the group entered the concourse and were met by a flurry of sounds, including a choir of sixty that sang the Canadian anthem. The Prince briefly stopped to listen to the choir before returning to his duties, striding towards the ticket booths. First, he stopped at the CNR booth, and then the CPR. At each counter the Prince received the first official tickets in the new station. 


As the opening neared its end, the Prince was handed a golden key to unlock the main entrance. After unlocking the doors and stepping outside, the party was met by the large crowds surrounding the station's entrance. The crowds could finally glimpse what they had been waiting for - both their long-awaited station and the Prince himself. After this brief but symbolic opening, Union Station was finally open to the public. 

Want to learn more about this story? Check out our Resources


© 2020 Toronto Railway Museum

For more information email us!