The city of Stratford is home to some of my favourite buildings in Ontario, home to a tonne of 19th Century architecture. Still, the city’s original growth is not thanks to the tourism industry but rather the railroad. However, you would not know that today, as the city’s grand station sits outside the downtown but shows how important the town was to the railroad. In 1856 within two months of each other, two railroads crossed their lines at the seat of Huron County, the town of Stratford. Coming from the east, Grand Trunk’s push westward and from the south Buffalo & Lake Huron heading towardsRead More →

I remember the first time I visited the Bridge Street Station in Niagara Falls, not far from the glitz and crowds of the tourist-packed falls area. On a quiet side street off the old downtown of Queen Street, surrounded by run-down buildings, sits one of the last remaining train stations in Ontario that is credited to the Great Western Railway. The importance of the train station in Niagara Falls is thanks to the Niagara Suspension Bridge. The Great Western Railway completed its mainline in 1854 with great fanfare in Hamilton, Ontario, where its main headquarters and rail yard were located. But to cross the NiagaraRead More →

But the town’s position as a tourist destination is relatively recent in the region’s history. While the history of Niagara-On-The-Lake reaches back to the original European settlement of Upper Canada, its connection to the railway also dates back to the early days of the railroad in Ontario. And that is no more shown by a strange-looking coffee shop a little bit off the main street. The presence of the Welland Canal had helped intertwine the communities of the Niagara Region. The growth of agriculture and industry combined with marine traffic had created a network of urban communities. A means to move people quickly between theirRead More →

Sitting as the main building at the Fort Erie Railway Station, the former station that once served the village of Ridgeway is a prime example of Grand Trunk’s plan to modernise the railway at the start of the 20th Century. It is also interesting that a village as small as Ridgeway would warrant such a large station. The railway first came to Ridgeway thanks to Brantford, Hamilton and the Great Western Railway. As a result, the Buffalo, Brantford & Goderich Railway, which eventually became the Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway despite its financial instability through the first half of the 1850s, finally reached Paris, OntarioRead More →

Sitting well outside of the two historical downtowns within the community of Fort Erie sits several lonely buildings and overgrown tracks. These small remains are left of what was once a massive railway yard that had existed since the earliest days of the railway in Fort Erie but is today a mere shadow. The Buffalo & Lake Huron Railway saw inception as a means to provide railway access to the people of Buffalo, Brantford and Goderich; the railways two main terminuses were Fort Erie and Goderich, where cars would be loaded onto massive rail ferries to be floating to destinations across bodies of water, atRead More →

While there are certain stations out there with more interesting histories and stories that go along with them, others have simply done their job and then been disposed of. Oftentimes, that is with a demolition, which has resulted in the loss of many stations across Ontario. And the small community of Bridgeburg has lost a great many stations. Do not worry if you haven’t heard of the community of Bridgeburg. The community owes its existence to the International Railway Bridge, which opened to traffic in 1873. The community’s name has changed a few times before being absorbed into Fort Erie by the 1970s; it hasRead More →

The Niagara River has never been the easiest obstacle to navigate in Ontario, the main reasons being the current, the falls, and the gorge. Bridges were neither cheap nor easy to build but possible. The easiest means to get trains across the river were through the use of rail ferries. Steamships were designed to carry large numbers of cars, but the process was slow, bottlenecked the line, and there was also the tendency for ships to sink or get caught in the current and swept away. All major operators initially used rail ferries, while Buffalo & Lake Huron had the easiest route between Fort ErieRead More →

One of the jewels in the collection of Westfield Heritage Village is plenty of memorabilia and buildings related to the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. They probably have the second largest collection next to the museum on the second floor of the Hamilton GO Centre. But they do have one thing that the GO Centre does not have, an original locomotive that once served on the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo line, Locomotive 103. The first example of a 2-8-0 saw construction in 1865, an improvement of the 0-8-0 design and completed by John P. Laird for the Pennsylvania Railroad. Originally known as the Bedford, ConsolidationRead More →

If you’re a fan of the show Murdoch Mysteries and are a sharp-eyed viewer, then the station featured today will be recognizable, having appeared in the episode The Annoying Red Planet, where the titular character visits the community of Jerseyville. Jerseyville is no work of fiction but is a rural community between Brantford and Hamilton and was only ever served by the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway. The Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railway saw its original charter in 1884 to construct a second line between the three cities mentioned in the name as an alternative to Grand Trunk, which by 1884 had full control overRead More →

When it comes to unique station styles in Canada, the one that stands out the most is the Witch’s Hat; these were popular among all significant railway operators through the early 20th Century. Sadly, there is only a handful left standing, but the only one still operates as a train station, which is the station at Uxbridge. The first railway to arrive in Uxbridge was the Toronto & Nipissing Railway. A narrow-gauge line was chartered and supported by George Laidlaw to access the agricultural and timber resources in northern Ontario and access a potential transcontinental railway at Lake Nippissing. The line originating in Cannington startedRead More →