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TTC platforms may get a makeover



This artist�s drawing shows what Toronto�s Museum station would look like if the Toronto Community Foundation gets its way. The group is trying to boost tourism and public transit by revitalizing three subway stations, including Museum station, to incorporate elements of the cultural institutions above ground into the platform-level design


Toronto’s subway stations are about to become a little more beautiful � less like a 1960s-era washroom, and more like a “gateway” to the neighbourhoods they serve.

The TTC this week approved $350,000 in spending � hoping to get matching private funds � in establishing a partnership with the Toronto Community Foundation on an initiative to “revitalize” public spaces and boost cultural tourism.

“We’re going to see our subway stations transformed in the coming years into something that will truly represent gateways to the city,” said TTC chairman Howard Moscoe, who hopes every subway station in the city will eventually come under the program.

“This is a tremendous initiative for breathing new life into the beauty of our city, and our attractiveness as a cultural tourism destination,” Anne Swarbrick, president of the charitable foundation, said in an interview.

It will begin as a pilot project in 2006 with Museum station transformed to look like � you guessed it � a museum. Today’s nondescript support columns would be made to look like mummies, or totem poles, or other artifacts to be found above in the Royal Ontario Museum.

Osgoode station would be next, perhaps even renamed Osgoode-Opera because it’s near the future home of the Canadian Opera Company and the National Ballet of Canada. Music would be piped in � in concert with the theme of whatever show is playing at the opera. A sidewall video � from overhead projectors � would bring the sound to life with pictures.

St. Patrick station � located near the Art Gallery of Ontario � would be made to look like an art gallery, with scenes depicted on walls to mirror themes from the AGO.

Swarbrick said the redesigned subway platforms would make it easier for tourists to locate their destinations, and said it would encourage more Torontonians to use the TTC because of “just how good it feels.”

Ultimately, Swarbrick said more people would be drawn to the arts “by introducing people to some of the beauty of what’s available through our local, national and internationally renowned institutions.”

The project won’t cost the TTC any more money than regular maintenance on subway stations, Moscoe said.

According to its press release, the Toronto Community Foundation is a charitable organization “dedicated to making Toronto the best place to live, work, learn and grow” by establishing endowment funds and identifying opportunities to improve Toronto’s quality of life.

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