When it comes to locomotives and locomotive production in Canada, the history is long and varied. But for the city of Kingston, the manufacture of locomotives started at the start of the railroad age for Ontario, and the former Canadian Pacific locomotive 1095 is a reminder of the city’s industrial heritage. I will note that the locomotive has been named “Spirit of Sir John A” after Canada’s first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald, about his push to have the Canadian Pacific Railway and its transcontinental line completed in 1886. However, Sir John A MacDonald and his Government, along with future Canadian Governments, also pushedRead More →

At first glance, the old Don Station at Roundhouse part appears custom-built for the miniature railway, a popular attraction to visitors at the park and the Railway Museum. But when you get closer, you realise that it is indeed a full-sized station with a special place in the history of the Canadian Pacific in Toronto. When the Ontario & Quebec Railway line from Perth to Toronto finished construction in 1884, access to the city proved limited. Trains arriving from points east or heading east out of the city had to travel a roundabout route. Travelling across the northern border of the station, they approached throughRead 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 →

If you have ever walked north on Yonge Street, you will probably notice a tall clock tower next to a rail overpass that looks straight out of Italy. While it has spent more time selling alcohol than train tickets, Toronto North remains a station that genuinely shows the grandeur of rail travel during the golden age. Canadian Pacific gained a foothold into the city of Toronto through two means, on the western approach through the Credit Valley Railway and from the North-East by way of the Ontario & Quebec Railway and the Toronto, Grey & Bruce Railway. Ontario & Quebec was revived in 1881 throughRead 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 →

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 →

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 →

Amazingly, many historic railway stations still exist in Ontario. And while many still operate, some of the oldest stations no longer operate as railway stations and are no longer in their original location. And then there’s the Unionville Station. While it no longer operates as a railway station, it remains in its original location and is only one of two surviving stations from Toronto & Nippissing. Following Confederation, in 1867, a second railway boom was starting. Scottish businessman, George Laidlaw who worked for the Gooderham & Worts distillery in Toronto, began chartering new railways. But unlike most railways in Ontario that stuck to Provincial GaugeRead More →

When it comes to Aurora, Ontario, unless you take public transit regularly, the old train station may not even be in your mind. Even then, you may not realise the importance of this small community regarding the impact the community had on Ontario railway development, as in 1853, it was the first destination for the first steam train in the province. As I spoke of last week, Ontario, Simcoe & Huron faced plenty of problems in getting their line constructed. The biggest problem that came after securing the needed funding came to construction. Starting in October put them already at a disadvantage, running north fromRead More →