Pickering’s Union East Station – Intermodal Transit Magic

Downtown Toronto’s Union train station is a well-known anchor point for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) mass transit systems. A place where passenger rail, subway and bus services cross connect. Now a just-released RFP from the City of Pickering and the Regional Municipality of Durham (the “Region”) seeks to replicate that success in Durham.

RFP (Request For Proposal) RFP2023-18 was posted on October 4th, 2023.  It asks for:

“Corridor design for a High Frequency Rail station in Pickering and the Region”

And to:

  • Produce a comprehensive conceptual plan for an HFR station within the targeted areas identified by the City of Pickering.
  • Anticipate and incorporate traffic patterns and future development plans to ensure that the design and implementation phases align with the overarching project goals and the specific requirements of the community and stakeholders.


Figure 1: A map included in the RFP suggested three possible locations for the new station. The first location appears to be the best.


Some of the Key Deliverables in the RFP include a 3D Model by July 2024 and Renderings of Environmental Landscaping by September 2024.

The need for new services is high with the population within 30 km of the station expected to grow by 1 million by 2040 to 3.5 million. What can we decipher from this RFP about our mass transit future? Or is the RFP too narrow in scope?

The Durham-Pickering RFP must look beyond an HFR station and its associated corridor development.  Its outlook needs to be broader.

Consider we have Union Station in Downtown Toronto – the transit locus serving the largest employment district in the GTA.

Consider the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA) master plan for Toronto Pearson Airport that seeks to create Union West – a multimodal regional transit centre. A station serving the second latest employment district in Ontario, created around Pearson airport.

Now consider the potential to create Union East, a new intermodal transit hub anchored by the full economic development of the federal lands, a major new employment district and an airport in North Pickering.

Figure 2: An example of the transit services that could utilize Location 1 noted previously.


Union East is a vision of a next-generation transit hub that, over time, could eclipse the original downtown Union station in importance. One of the station’s advantages will be the addition of large-scale affordable parking.

The new Union East transit hub will link together:

  • HFR (High Frequency Rail)
  • Light Rail Transit way (LTR) on highway 407
  • Go Bus and city bus service.
  • Passenger aviation at the new Pickering Airport
  • Host one of the GTAs first hubs for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) / Advanced Air Mobility (AAM).
  • Short- and long-term affordable car parking.

Commuters will be able to drive to the station and then take transit (HFR/GO Downtown/407 Transitway), even an air taxi, to work.

If you live in the Durham Region, Union East station will forever change how you move.

The new hub is expected to be located to take advantage of the critical mass created by the new Pickering airport, its industrial park and economic zone.  It will provide transit services to the 2.5 million people already living within a 30 km radius and support the area’s rapid growth.

Although there are several possibilities for Union East’s location, only one makes sense. The existing Havelock rail right of way, need for proximity to the federally zoned airport lands and access to the Highway 407 and the future Highway 407 Transitway, points to this location.  This is the Green River area, noted as Location 1 in the RFP. The location is just north of Highway 407, east of the York Durham line.

This RFP is just the first step on the path to building Union East Station. A new mass transit hub that will help the region grow in an environmentally friendly, efficient manner. Enhancing our transit systems and improving our quality of life.

The RFP dates appear to dovetail well into the expected Transport Canada study and follow on Pickering Airport RFP in 2025.


Related Posts:

Final Pickering Airport Capacity Study Airborne Again! – Friends of Pickering Airport

A call for Support of the Strategic Vision of Aviation, Rail, and Road in Pickering – Friends of Pickering Airport

How Many Jobs Will Pickering Airport Create? – Friends of Pickering Airport

What is Pickering Airport’s Employment Zone? – Friends of Pickering Airport

New Pickering Airport to cut your property taxes in half – Friends of Pickering Airport



Bids and Tenders – Pickering

Advanced Air Mobility – Wikipedia

Urban Air Mobility – Wikipedia


List of some of the firms that have requested the RFP and may respond with a proposal. The quality of this list speaks to the interest in the project.

AECOM Canada Ltd. Ioannides, Natalie
105 Commerce Valley Drive West, 7th Floor, Markham
Ontario, Canada
L3T 7W3
Arcadis Professional Services (Canada) Inc. Segreto, Cassandra
55 St. Clair Avenue West, Toronto
Ontario, Canada
M4V 2Y7


ConceptDash Inc Sharma, Vivek
#5203, 14 York Street, Toronto
Ontario, India
M5J 0B1
GHD Limited Atherfold, Christine
455 Phillip Street, Waterloo
Ontario, Canada
N2L 3X2


GreenBlue Infrastructure Solutions Melvin, Craig
71 Bysham Park Drive, Woodstock
Ontario, Canada
Hanscomb Davis, Sean
900-40 Holly St, Toronto
Ontario, Canada
M4S 3C3


Hatch Ltd. Salehin, Shaowda
2800 Speakman Drive, Mississauga
Ontario, Canada
L5K 2R7
HDR Corporation Services, Marketing
100 York Blvd, Richmond Hill
Ontario, Canada
L4B 1J8


IN Engineering Melchers, Andrew
9 King St. W, Brockville
ON, Canada
K6V 3P7
J.L. Richards & Associates Limited JLR, RFP
343 Preston St, Tower 2, Suite 1000, Ottawa
Ontario, Canada
K1S 1N4


Jacobs Consultancy Canada Inc. Colcy, Debi
245 Consumers Rd, Suite 400, Toronto
ON, Canada
M2J 1R3
LEA Consulting Ltd. Kim, Jen
625 Cochrane Drive, Markham
Ontario, Canada
L3R 9R9


McIntosh Perry Consulting Engineers Ltd. Perry, McIntosh
115 Walgreen Road, Carp
Ontario, Canada
K0A 1L0
Mott MacDonald Canada Canada , Proposals
Suite 400, 145 Wellington Street West , Toronto
Ontario, Canada
M5J 1H8


Parsons Inc. Proposal, Operations
625 Cochrane Drive, Ste. 300, Markham
Ontario, Canada
L3R 9R9
RHEA Inc. Sprott, Jeremy
6700 Chemin de la Côte-de-Liesse, Montreal
Quebec, Canada
H4T 2B5


Stantec Consulting Ltd. Ontario, Opportunities
100-300 Hagey Boulevard, Waterloo
Ontario, Canada
Weston Williamson + Partners Selby, Hannah
120 Adelaide Street West,, Toronto
Ontario, Canada
M5H 1T1


WSP Canada Inc. Gregory, Jennifer
100 Commerce Valley Dr W, Thornhill
L3T 0A1



3 thoughts on “Pickering’s Union East Station – Intermodal Transit Magic

  1. Thanks Mark.
    I have no means of knowing if these maps are yours or copied from other(?) sources. I would suggest that as a standard, all such public information be placed on a Google map database that is reactive , can be scaled, and is automatically updated. Such a process would enable overlays to be blended with other known data. Transparency and public communication are key to any good outcome.

  2. Unfortunately I think Pickering lost its chance at greatness. It has always turned away opportunities since the late 80’s. They had an opportunity to have an Ikea and turned away the offer. They’ve Hummed and Hawed at the Pickering airport and is in the position for the original land owners being able to take back the lands after 65 years of procrastination and Nymbism..
    Then the Casino which with the province be assisted with the Ontario/New York state ferry to bring trip state business to the Casino.
    In which the True plan was: A Casino A sports facility for MMA, sports entertainment etc.. and a theatre.
    The Casino is up and looks like every other OLG facility. Instead of making it an attraction Las Vegas style. Even from the 401 you should be able to see a Old Honest Ed type sign emphasizing ” Casino”!! Typical Durham….. Nothing. That’s why a brain drain has been happening in Pickering and Durham. Nothing to offer to stay.
    Peterbough is in line to expand their airport and with some logic and solid planning it’ll be the airport to assist Pierson.
    So.. a train station Union East, Bowmanville is making a new Station and has better planning dept than Pickering. Not to mention the 2045 plan to extend Sheppard subway into Pickering.

    1. too many psycho eco-radicals in the Pickering city hall like Brenner who’s been there 42 years. that’s the problem of residents voting on name recognition alone in municipal elections – most have no clue what they are voting for, and just a name they recognize from somewhere.

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