For a while I thought that GO Transit was just a generic name. But then I found out that GO stands for Government of Ontario, turning the name into a cool acronym. I love it!

We had been seeing extremely long double-decker trains running near Union Station, but I assumed we would never be able to take them. This changed when I looked on Google Maps for directions to the zoo and it said to take GO Transit to the bus! It would cost us six dollars a piece to get to Guildwood from Union Station, about 13 miles apart…that’s even more outrageous than our Commuter Rail system (although it’s marginally cheaper if you have a “Presto Card”)! However, the Lakeshore East (the route we were taking) runs every half hour during the day, even on Sundays. That’s something our Commuter Rail can’t do.

GO Transit also has a bit of a weird system with buses and trains. See, GO has an entirely separate bus network that’s much denser and larger than the train network. But to my understanding, the buses have the exact same fare system as the trains. What I’m wondering is if there’s a free transfer between bus and train in case you wanted to make the switch.

Our guidebook talked about how amazing Union Station is, and how it’s really worth seeing even if you’re not taking the train. Our guidebook, incidentally, is from 2006. Turns out they were doing construction, so the station just seemed really ugly. And it was kinda weird that we got our tickets in one building, then had to walk outside and up some stairs to the actual platform. But I digress…
Two inside views.
It’s not exactly as imposing as the one at South Station, is it?
The platform we were waiting on was pretty standard. It was at track level, with a basic shelter running down it. It looks like other platforms may be a bit fancier, though.

That looks a bit better.
A VIA Rail train – these go all across Canada.
The locomotive looks similar to some of the new ones the MBTA got – is it the same?
Double-decker! Hooray!
Forward-facing seats! Hooray!
A nice view of the financial district from Union Station.
The bathroom was disgusting, as you might expect.

There weren’t any automatic announcements, unfortunately. We left Union Station at a slow speed, with Toronto’s Old Town to the north and the elevated Gardiner Expressway to the south. There was a bridge over the Don River, the track gradually curved north, and it started getting more suburban. At one point we went by a huge yard for the Bloor Line, which was pretty cool.

Soon after we arrived at our first station, Danforth. There’s no direct connection (or free transfer), but the Main Street Bloor Line station is a short walk away. There were more suburban views until Scarborough Station, where there was a quick industrial break. After stopping at another station, Eglinton, we went past a golf course and arrived at Guildwood, which is also served by VIA Rail trains. A few other people got off here, but they all got rides while we walked to the bus stop.

The train at Guildwood.
The platform.
That’s an absurd amount of shelters going the other way.
The train leaving.
The really dingy tunnel to get out of the station.
I’m not entirely sure how Presto Cards work. It’s interesting that they’ve implemented smartcards into the commuter rail network but not the TTC.
It’s hard to see, but they even had an arrival board here!
The area just outside the entrance into the station.
A very tall sign.