Kingston’s tourist information centre is among the many former railway stations that have found a second life in Ontario. But it does seem a bit out of place in the downtown across from City Hall. This beautiful example of a Second Empire-styled station is no longer surrounded by the rails that once dominated the lakeshore area of Kingston. But the once industrial shorefront is now a beautifully restored section and is only complimented by the former inner station of the Kingston & Pembroke Railway. The Kingston & Pembroke Railway is not widely known outside of the Kingston area, initially chartered in 1871 to expand timberRead 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 →

The story of Canada is filled with both myth and legend. And when it comes to the Anglo-American War of 1812, Canada has made itself look like the victor. Of course, I thought the same thing for the longest time, having learned about the tales of Isaac Brock and Laura Secord. They together single-handedly won victory for Canada over the Americans. But history is far more complex and often messy, especially when two sides claim victory; the other side often will ignore it as a footnote in a broader global conflict, and a fourth group are still angry at their treatment following the war. ButRead More →

If you look up the definition of Art Deco and Streamline Moderne, you will probably see a photo of the Hamilton GO Centre. Clean lines, steel and limestone, glass, and a typeface speak to the future view of the 1930s. The GO Centre is the station that inspired my love of art deco and the look and feels of the graphics for this project, especially the font choice. For almost the entire time that the city of Hamilton has had rail service, most services were outside the city’s downtown core. First with the Great Western Railway and then later Grand Trunk. Despite being the biggestRead 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 →

We’re used to modern multi-element, multi-group lenses regarding optics. But it hasn’t always been that way; some of the earliest cameras used only a single element. But this often caused quality issues, so adding a second element limited the effects of chromatic and spherical aberration. The earliest applications of these Achromat lenses were in telescopes that trace back to the 18th Century. But Charles Chevalier’s (a noted name in early photographic optics) creation of his Daguerrotype Achromat lens changed the face of photography in those pioneering days. While Chevalier’s lenses are still sought by modern wet and dry plate photographers for us who shoot film,Read 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 →

When photographing animals, one of the best ways to get close and personal is to visit a zoo. And we’re lucky here in Ontario to have the fantastic Toronto Zoo. Which is more than just a zoo; it also acts as a leader in conservation both in Canada and around the World. This past weekend Heather and I took our son to the Toronto Zoo for the first time, and while he enjoyed just being at the zoo and sleeping, I decided to take out a lens I haven’t taken out since 2019. The Tamron 100-300mm is one that isn’t the best lens in myRead More →