Most people would drive past a small red building sitting along Highway 25 south of the Canadian National train line running over the roadway heading into downtown from Highway 401. The red building has the appearance of a railroad station. Still, the rail line is sitting high above, and there is no way for the station even to serve the line when Canadian National operated passenger services. The building is Milton’s third train station. It is not so far from its original location located on the outskirts of the downtown next to Milton’s claim to fame, the P.L. Robertson factory, maker of the Robertson screw.Read More →

Off the main street of the historic village of Streetsville, there is a strange building and one that seems a little out of place at first glance. Beyond this strange building are the train tracks; you can see a tall communication tower from behind. While the sign out front declares it an office of the local branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses, everything about the building says that it’s a train station, and you would be right, but this station is not at its original location. In fact, it is several kilometres south of where the Credit Valley Railway line once branched off towardsRead More →

There’s always something particularly exciting about starting up a new project. A Faded Glory is a small project on railroad history here in Ontario, as my earlier project on the Welland Canal grew out of my 1867 project. But telling the entire history of the railroad is something that would probably take a great deal of travel and at least a decade to complete in a full and proper manner. And there have been others with more interest and insight than I who have completed such lengthy projects. And honestly, as much as the railroad is fascinating, I’m not a fanatic when it comes toRead 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 →

History is far more complicated. And when it comes to the history of the railroad in Ontario, there are many more moving parts to the story than most people think. The history of the railroad does not begin in the 19th Century; rather, the events of the early 19th Century are simply a culmination of a vast array of the human need to improve our own mobility beyond that of our own two feet or the control and domestication of animals. As I am fond of saying, there has to be context to understand. While this is not the furthest I’ve gone back in time,Read More →

My first introduction to Brantford came in the form of the film Silent Hill where the city’s depressed centre featured as the downtown of the titular Silent Hill, a fictional mining town that ended up in a supernatural cataclysm after a coal fire broke out. Brantford, in reality, has a far more complex history where the dark colonial past and rich indigenous heritage are seen like never before in Ontario. I’ll admit, this week was hard, made harder by recent dark elements of Canada that were brought to light for us on the colonial side of history. The earliest known human settlement in the GrandRead More →

When it comes to Living History museums, I have a long enjoyment of these sites. From jumping in Pioneer Puddles at Upper Canada Village to putting on musketry displays before Waterloo’s 200th. One of my favourites is Westfield outside of Hamilton, Ontario. While smaller and quieter, it has some of the oldest buildings from this part of the province! And while the museum aspect is officially closed for the time being, I learned that the site itself remains accessible and without reservations! So I took an early morning visit to avoid any major crowds and got some beautiful morning light. While every building on theRead More →

It was May 2009; I was on a road trip with three friends to explore the wealth of abandoned buildings up in Northern Ontario. Our previous night’s plans of camping out at a mine further north skunked by cold weather and the inability to hide our car safely. But that didn’t matter; we found a small motel on Highway 11 north of our next location, the town of Cobalt. Despite the name, the city once thrived with silver mines and started the northern Ontario silver rush that eventually butted into the gold rush further north. Silver from Ontario caused riots in New York City inRead More →

The historic downtown of Oakville has always been a bit of a respite for me and my photography since I started taking it seriously. It also helps that working fifteen minutes north of this space allows me an easy lunch break escape to relax in an urban environment. But my experience with downtown Oakville goes back further than working at Sheridan. Back in 2002, I attended PYPS Fall Convention at Knox Church. That event stands out in my mind for several reasons. First, I met several longtime friends at that event. The second I did my first serious photography at a PYPS event, and thirdRead More →

There is always a bittersweet feeling when you wrap up a project. You’re proud that you completed the project and hopefully worth the effort you took to complete it from beginning to end. But you’re also sad because you cannot keep working on the subject. While this one, compared to some of my two recently history projects, was far smaller. The Anglo-American War of 1812 and Canadian Confederation were exhaustive topics filled with all sorts of twists and turned. The Welland Canal is far more straight forward, which is why I could complete the project in such a short amount of time. I guess learningRead More →