The former Grand Trunk station at Belleville is unique among the surviving Grand Trunk stations along the operator’s original ‘trunk’ line. Unique in the way that it has its second-empire mansard roof intact. The only other station that can claim that is Kingston Station, which sadly today lies in ruins. Another interesting feature of the station is that it never had a telegraph bay added in the 1880s, a feature shared with the St. Mary’s Junction Station. During its original trans-colonial line, Grand Trunk Railway decided to put its first divisional point at Belleville, a small community between Toronto and Montreal. They acquired a largeRead More →

Sitting below the main downtown, the unassuming limestone structure is one of only two surviving railway structures from what was once a bustling centre of rail activity throughout the latter half of the 19th century. It is also interesting that it is the oldest continuously operated railway station in all of Ontario. Creating a standard set of stations set Grand Trunk apart from the other three railway operators in the first railway boom in Ontario. Chief Architect Francis Thompson latched onto the fundamental design ethos of British railway or wayside stations and laid out three different wayside stations, class A, which featured seven openings; classRead More →

When I was initially planning out the project, I had not considered the Brantford VIA station. I did think of the old Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo stations, but after finding that one station had been demolished, I decided not to tempt fate and took Brantford off the map. At least until I discovered that the station inspired the construction of Guelph’s central station and marked a significant departure in the early 20th Century construction of Grand Trunk Stations. The city of Brantford refuses to pay the required bonus to have the Great Western line and a station in the town. Instead, Great Western ran furtherRead More →

If the grandeur of Toronto’s Union Station impresses you, then it may surprise you that there is a Station that carries the same level of luxury that the golden age of rail travel imparted. Although it also may surprise you that the station is located in Hamilton. The placement of Hamilton’s original railway right-of-way is primarily thanks to the efforts of Sir Allan Napier MacNab. His involvement in the early formation of the Great Western Railway and the great price he sold a large parcel of his property at the edge of Burlington Bay. This move ensured that the central yards for Great Western andRead More →

At a glance, it might be hard to believe that the old Canadian National Station in Owen Sound looks like Grand Trunk had built in the early 20th Century, but this station is the second one built in 1931. It is also one of the most complex stations to find accurate detail online. The first successful railway line to arrive in Owen Sound was the Toronto, Grey & Bruce line from Fraxa Junction in 1873, north of the town core and on the eastern side of the harbour. After the takeover by Canadian Pacific in 1884, after Grand Trunk dismissed their chance to take overRead More →

The longest motive power for railway has been steam; since those early days, steam-powered locomotives carried people and freight worldwide. And sure, by the late 19th and early 20th Century, electricity became a popular choice for inter-urban railways. But on the mainlines, steam was king, and the last locomotives produced in the 20th Century could travel long distances and high speeds; I’m talking, of course, of the Northern’s, Pacific’s, and even larger engines. But these had one weakness, you needed a large crew to run them, two at the minimum, and they needed a lot of maintenance. Plus, they were loud, dirty, and took upRead More →

While attending the local Toronto Urban Exploration Meetups, the biggest question in conversation was where we wanted to visit? In those days, the UE community was tight-knit and often secretive, and things like Instagram were still new and not so much in the public eye. During one cold January event, we ended up in Leaside to check out a warehouse from Winpack. I quickly discovered through my work that we were not in a warehouse but rather a significant historical building that maintained locomotives, not storing paper products. The Canadian Northern Railway grew out of a small collection of defunct railways in Manitoba to extendRead More →

The Woodstock station is one of the more unique stations I’ve found through this project. Among them is the VIA station that serves Woodstock. In addition to the shape and style of the station, it is also interesting that it was built by Grand Trunk but remained under the Great Western Name for the first decade in service and sits today as one of the few remaining Gothic Revival stations in Ontario. And it seems a bit out of place, outside of the downtown and not that close to anything. A rail line through Woodstock had been on the books since 1834 during the earliestRead More →

One such location that gave me a bit of trouble with research is the old Grand Trunk Railway station in Goderich. Sitting next to the rails it once served yet still within sight of the downtown; this old station remains a bit of mystery still today. When it comes to the history of the railroad in Goderich, it is a bit muddy. The railroad first came to Goderich in the form of an idea; economic forces joined with peers from Brantford and Buffalo to build a line that ran between the three locations in response to the lack of commitment from Great Western and GrandRead More →

The location of the first station to serve the town of St. Mary’s is odd for two reasons. The first is the station’s placement at such a distance from the actual town, the second being that it is now surrounded by a modern subdivision. But today, if you are a fan of craft beer, then the Junction station is certainly one you want to put on your list. The original charter of the Grand Trunk Railway said that the operator would construct a line from Toronto to Montreal. Grand Trunk, however, quickly realised that such a line would be of no good and sized upRead More →