Like many still active historic railway stations, the Sarnia VIA station is lonely. The station, located far outside the downtown, is among the industrial wastes of the oil industry. Yet this station stands out, being a surviving Hobson Station and directly linked with Canada’s first underwater railway tunnel as it once bore that name proudly as Sarnia Tunnel. Since the earliest days of building railroads through Upper Canada (Ontario), Sarnia began petitioning for a railway charter. The community even paid out of pocket in 1836 to have Captain Richard Vidal go to York (Toronto), no small feat, to speak directly to the Colonial Parliament. TheRead More →

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 →

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 →

And perhaps the most incredible reminder of the grandeur of rail travel during the golden age of rail in Canada. If you have ever travelled by rail into, out of or through Toronto, you have more than likely passed through Toronto’s Union Station. While the railways that operate out of Union Station have changed since its inception, it remains a proper Union station with five railways continuing to call at the city. But the station we have today is the third Union Station in Toronto. But its location has been connected to the railway since the first years of the railroad in Ontario. The stripRead 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 →

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 →