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 →

Ever since the invention of the automobile and aeroplane, the way people moved changed rapidly. Henry Ford’s Model T put the dream of a personal car within reach; improvements in planes through the inter-war period into World War Two and the post-war period allowed long-distance travel at an even faster rate. While steam motive power continued to drive many railroad operators through the war, the rise of diesel began to reshape even the train industry. Through the war, fuel and material shortages spiked passenger train services, but even now, those were starting to decline. It became clear that the golden age of rail had comeRead More →

Today moving around is easy. At the same time, we deal with traffic and delays, our availability of automobiles, aeroplanes, transit, and trains. Combined with well-paved roads, GPS, maps, gas stations, rest areas, travel for us in the 21st Century is a breeze. But some two centuries earlier, life in Ontario, then Upper Canada, was far more challenging. Many who lived in the settlements well outside the few urban centres never strayed too far from home. Local roads were often blazed trails from Indigenous people who lived on the land. Sir John Graves Simcoe had ordered military roads, but even these were little more thanRead More →

What makes this week a bit more interesting is that almost this time last year, Heather and I were on vacation and driving along the Niagara Parkway, a favourite drive for us that is perfectly safe to do even during a global pandemic (but unlike last year, the end is now very much insight). Like last year, I was shooting my Nikon FM loaded with Fomapan 100. But I learned from last year and brought a slightly longer lens and picked a different developer! Long before the arrival of the Europeans, the earliest human settlers in the Niagara Region, those of the Neutral Nation thatRead More →

One of the biggest mistakes I made was giving away my Nikon FM2n as a gift, thinking that I would be OK with the Nikon FA. And while these days to replace an FM2n is a costly endeavour, they have shot up in price since I bought mine. I have since come to terms that the only way to get an FM2n again is to have one returned as a gift. But what about an earlier model, the camera that you could say started it all? Released as a result of the OM-System, the Nikon FM ushered in a new age of Nikon built aroundRead More →

Back in my first struggling steps into the broader world of film photography, I came across this strange camera. Now, I knew about Hasselblads and also knew how expensive they were, but the seller informed me proudly that the Kiev 88 is a direct copy of the Hasselblad but at a far better price. I ended up getting the body, two lenses (but never used the second one??) and a pair of film backs. Oh, the seller also threw in a Zorki 4 with a pinholed shutter. I had to admit; I liked working with the 88, I lucked out and got the CM versionRead More →

In the grander scheme, the Battle of Ridgeway gets all the glory when it comes to the limited history of the Fenian Raids of 1866. And yet a second skirmish took place almost instantly after the one at Ridgeway. The sad fact is that both battles could have been avoided and maybe the whole matter could have been better remembered. But to understand where the Battle of Fort Erie came from, we must first go back to Port Colborne, where we split off last week on the 1st of June 1866. Lieutenant-Colonel John Stoughton Dennis felt left out, a blow to his fragile ego. DespiteRead More →