What We Got For Five Million

One of my jobs here seems to be the curmudgeon whose view of the latest great thing isn’t quite as gentle and forgiving as other commentators.  This brings me to Museum Station.  You can see lots of photos over at The Torontoist where many (including me) have commented on various aspects of the station.

For me, one big issue is not just that it’s unfinished, but that in doing so, something is lost of the original design.  Just to refresh everyone’s memory, here is what we were supposed to get.


Note the curving ceiling that hides the plumbing and pulls the rows of columns together in a long gallery.  You won’t see that at Museum Station.  I suspect that the TTC didn’t want yet another specialized ceiling finish that would spend half its time disassembled while work went on above, but we’ve lost something important there.

Another issue is the large patches of painted concrete wall at intervals along the station.  Nothing is shown in the image of what might be there, and one wonders whether this was intended for advertising.

Speaking of advertising, there were ads present at the station until last weekend when their negative impact on the overall design was raised by some of us at Transit Camp to people who are in a position to get things changed.  They were.

The other change is that the old Metron, carefully preserved even though it didn’t work, was in the station right up to the weekend.  Odd how we’ve been told the problem is always with getting electrical work done for Onestop installations.  Funny how in a $5-million project they didn’t put in the conduits and wires for the new video screens.  They’re even shown in the drawing above, but that’s something else you won’t find at Museum.

I was kind of hoping the Metrons would stay as the beginning of a TTC museum of horology.  They could have relocated a few of the old analog clocks from Lower Bay to round out things.

Finally, there is an odd, unintended historic reference in the plaque describing each of the columns.  We learn that the red columns modelled on the Forbidden City would have held up yellow ceilings, a colour only the Emperor was allowed to use.  Yellow, of course, was the old colour of Museum Station, and it’s absent now at platform level.  No Emperors here I guess.

For me, Museum has too much the feel of a half-baked project.  Nice columns, but lots left to be done and nobody stepping up to pay for it.  If all this decor cost us five million, we were ripped off.