Station declared one of the most beautiful in the world

Is Bayview station our transit system’s hidden gem?


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Panya Clark Espinal’s ‘trompe l’oeil’ designs make Bayview station unique

According to the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC), in 2012 an average of 9,330 people per day boarded or exited subways at Bayview station on the Sheppard line on weekdays. But riders may be surprised to know of all they’re missing. Travel magazine BootsnAll declared Bayview one of the 15 most beautiful subway stops in the world in 2011.

The station appeared among a list of eye-catching stations from Taiwan, Russia and more. It is one of only three North American stations featured on the list (the others being Champ-de-Mars station in Montreal and the Federal Triangle station in Washington, D.C.).

One reason for Bayview’s inclusion on the list was the public art on the station’s walls and floors, trompe l’oeil designs local artist Panya Clark Espinal was commissioned to do as part of the 2002 Sheppard Subway Public Art program. The collective art is entitled From Here Right Now.

Espinal designed the pictures to appear proportionate only from certain angles. “As the viewer approaches and passes by, the images deconstruct and become distorted, forming abstract and nonsensical designs,” Espinal said, in a statement regarding the piece.

Richard Stevens, whose firm, Stevens Group Architects (now IBI Group Architects) designed the station, remained humble when comparing the station to others in the world. “It’s a nice station,” he said. “But there’s lots of pretty nice subway stations.”

TTC spokesperson Brad Ross said that all of the Sheppard stations were designed with the intent of creating eye-catching spaces. “The whole Sheppard line was designed so that it would be a very welcoming environment,” said Ross.

Ross said that the TTC also has a mission to fill its new stations with art. “The Toronto York-Spadina subway line, which is under construction now, will have very dramatic and beautiful spaces,” he said. Ross was not aware of BootsnAll’s recognition of Bayview station, but he said that he is not surprised.

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