|An ungainly Brutalist exterior|
A bewildering labyrinth of halls, corridors, and tunnels awaits visitors to this station. Perhaps intended as a powerful showcase of modernist transit design, Wilson instead reveals the disconnection of its engineer-planners from actual users—unlike the other stations of the Spadina line, Wilson and St. Clair West were architected in-house by the TTC, under the direction of Herta Freyberg.
Sections of the station are wonderful. The problem is, the incongruous parts don’t match or flow well with each other.
|The subway platform at Wilson: plenty of visual stimuli|
That concern aside, I had a blast exploring Wilson’s Byzantine nooks and crannies. I have a perverse attraction to architecture that doesn’t quite mesh, holistically.
|The Wilson Lounge: the saddest artificial plants you’ll ever see.|
|Ted Bieler’s aluminium wall-relief sculpture, Canyons.|
My nomination for ‘most-unwelcoming public section of the TTC subway system’ is the fearsome view that greets you from the south-east commuter parking lot entrance:
|Beware: the Minotaur awaits.|
There isn’t much point in dressing up a parking lot tunnel. Why bother? Still, it’s shocking to be confronted by such a raw vista (Midland’s east-side automated entrance is the rival that comes to mind for barren disdain).
Contrast this with the placid circular hub at the heart of the station:
|Meet me at the circle|
Until the end of Wilson’s reign as the terminus of the Spadina line in 1996, the two-level bus platform was a maelstrom of activity, serving 17 routes at its peak (in fact there was even a secondary North Terminal constructed to handle the overflow; this structure was subsequently mothballed when its routes were mostly transposed to Downsview).
|The depressing and bleak double-decker bus platform|
Isolated, convoluted, and inharmonious, Wilson station officially opened January 27, 1978, with public access the following day. It was named after the widely-respected and influential civil-engineer, Norman D. Wilson, who helped plan and design the original Yonge subway (as well as the wye connecting to Bay Lower for interlining). The nearby Wilson Yard houses and services the trains for Line 1.
|One of Shalak Attack’s Guardians beneath Wilson Station|
Update: On October 26, 2016 the city enthusiastically unveiled Shalak Attack’s The Guardians, a vivid work of magical realism celebrating women’s empowerment, in collaboration with StreetART Toronto and the TTC. The Canadian-Chilean artist’s installation enlivens the dark and foreboding underpasses supporting the subway platform and the Allen expressway, and is well worth exploration, just like the rest of Wilson station.
Photo GalleryTour the station, and view captioned historical images from its past, including photos of The Guardians:
(hint: turn on the captions)
|Wilson station transfer|
More about WilsonTTC Station info | Map | Wikipedia: Wilson
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