The Carleton Place Train Station 1991

The Carleton Place Train Station 1991
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Oct 1991, Fri  •  Page 4

The old limestone train station here near the entrance of town is the last of its kind in the upper Ottawa Valley. But many years of neglect and bouts of vandalism have taken their toll on the former Canadian Pacific Railway station. Its roof is sagging and the rows of long, rectangular windows are boarded up. Even the tracks that once stretched past the back of the building are gone. Yet local heritage enthusiasts are hopeful the 70-year-old building may soon reopen. Along with 21 other stations across Canada, it was recently designated heritage under the federal Heritage Railway Stations Protection Act. Heather Lebeau thinks it’s a godsend. “It means (the station) is saved from demolition,” says Lebeau, a member of the Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee. “It’s quite an achievement,” she says.

About 18 months ago, the heritage group submitted a report to the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada asking that the building be considered for heritage designation. Lebeau says the condition of the abandoned depot was getting worse. If it was going to be saved, the designation was needed as soon as possible, she says. “Our main concern is that the history of the building remains intact. Our concerns (were) about its bad repair.” Tim Campbell, chairman of the committee, says under the heritage act, the building can’t be destroyed or altered” in any way without approval from the federal cabinet. “I’m very pleased about it,” says Campbell, who plans to make heritage an issue in this year’s municipal election. He’s running for council. “I would like to see it preserved.”

The station is among three heritage landmarks in town that risked being torn down. The historic Mississippi Hotel in the downtown core and the century-old auditorium on the second floor of the town hall are also in need of great repair. Between the 1920s and 1950s, about 30 freight trains and a dozen passenger cars pulled into the Carleton Place station daily. Saturday mornings were especially hectic when as many as 150 people traipsed through the station. But by the early 1960s, freight trains were losing a lot of business to transport trucks. And Carleton Place felt the squeeze. Cargo service dropped significantly and fewer passengers came through town. By the 1970s, passenger service to Carleton Place was discontinued altogether. It returned briefly in the late 1980s, but finally stopped in December 1989. The tracks were lifted a month later. Lebeau believes the building, still owned by CP, has a lot of potential. It’s sturdy and large and could have many uses, she says. There’s been talk of converting it into a restaurant, a local museum or community centre.

photo Tom Edwards 1920s
The original Carleton Place Subdivision in 1966-67

Canadian Pacific’s history in Ottawa goes back to the late 1800s, although there isn’t much that the casual observer will see of the railway’s legacy in this city today. However, if you dig deep enough, there are some fascinating hints of Canadian Pacific’s past in Ottawa, including a number of spots where you can spot the old Carleton Place Subdivision, a line that dates back to 1870 when it belonged the broad-gage Canada Central Railway. Let’s go digging. READ here 2020

Clippings from the Train Stations in Carleton Place

Train Station and Bank of Nova Scotia-Old and New

The Mystery Streets of Carleton Place– Where was the First Train Station?

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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