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 →

Standing proudly at the edge of Ontario’s west coast, looking out over the beach, is a beautiful brick structure with an oversized patio and plenty of setting room. There’s no disguising that Goderich’s Beach Street Station is a former train station, as shown by the number of railway memorabilia and signage around the station. When the Guelph & Goderich Railway was completed, it terminated at the Goderich Harbour. The harbour has a long history with the railroad being expanded many times throughout history to accommodate larger lake ships and when Buffalo & Lake Huron showed up in the 1850s rail ferries. But these early railwaysRead More →

Sitting in the shadow of the Old Mill Leather Store sits a red building; it looks shabby, with peeling paint and shingles. Still, it stands as one of the few surviving stations of the Canadian Pacific branch line that operated for only a short 82 years, bringing freight and passengers between Guelph and Goderich as a direct competitor to the Grand Trunk and later Canadian National lines. The first railway to pass through Blyth came in 1876 with the Lake Huron & Brantford Railway; However, it would eventually fall to Grand Trunk. It offered little to the community until the 20th Century, the only railwayRead 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 →

Looming over the edge of the downtown, the old Stratford Motive Shops has been a source of controversy and a reminder of the city’s rich heritage for many years with the railroad. These are the surviving remains of the largest railroad maintenance yards in Ontario, if not Canada and are now only a shadow of their former glory. Metal siding hangs off the concrete superstructure; empty windows stare out darkly. On one of the first visits I made to Stratford on my own, I was immediately drawn to this ancient giant and was even granted a single glimpse into the darkness but never made itRead More →

The city of Stratford is home to some of my favourite buildings in Ontario, home to a tonne of 19th Century architecture. Still, the city’s original growth is not thanks to the tourism industry but rather the railroad. However, you would not know that today, as the city’s grand station sits outside the downtown but shows how important the town was to the railroad. In 1856 within two months of each other, two railroads crossed their lines at the seat of Huron County, the town of Stratford. Coming from the east, Grand Trunk’s push westward and from the south Buffalo & Lake Huron heading towardsRead 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 →

But the town’s position as a tourist destination is relatively recent in the region’s history. While the history of Niagara-On-The-Lake reaches back to the original European settlement of Upper Canada, its connection to the railway also dates back to the early days of the railroad in Ontario. And that is no more shown by a strange-looking coffee shop a little bit off the main street. The presence of the Welland Canal had helped intertwine the communities of the Niagara Region. The growth of agriculture and industry combined with marine traffic had created a network of urban communities. A means to move people quickly between theirRead 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 →