Tag Archives: railroads

The Grand Trunk Railway Station –Photos

The Grand Trunk Railway Station –Photos
Adin Daigle
Yesterday at 8:13 AM  · 

A cool old Ottawa plate I recently acquired. I imagine it’s between 1912-1920 as The Grand Trunk station opened in 1912 and in 1920 became the Union station.
Lost Ottawa
December 5, 2018  · 

IN honour of the season, we’ve been revisiting all our “snow” pictures of Ottawa. Here’s one of Connaught Plaza circa 1920. You’ve got a person grabbing the streetcar in front of Union Station, the old Russell House Hotel, and the Old Post Office.
Most interesting is the delivery entrance to Chateau Laurier (where the truck is coming out).
The story goes that, when the land for the Chateau was carved out of Major’s Hill Park and given to the Grand Trunk Railway (read greedy capitalists), the citizens refused to let the hotel further ruin their favourite park by taking deliveries, leaving garbage bins etc., in the rear. Hence the road underneath the Chateau’s entrance.
(LAC PA-057587)
Lost Ottawa
October 9, 2016  · 

It will soon be that time in Ottawa again … time for the snow shoveling, that is.
Here is a Grand Trunk Railway snowplow in 1910, facing east at the Bank Street Viaduct.
Today, those gents would be standing in the middle of the Queensway. Nice hats!
(LAC PA-04484)
August 4, 2015  · 

OTTAWA 1917. Railway Station. Post card
Lost Ottawa
March 12, 2019  · 

Small but interesting picture of downtown Ottawa, circa 1900.
In front, a cab, as in cabriolet, meaning a carriage with a folding top pulled by a single horse, plus several gentleman who look like they are up to no good!
Behind them, J. R. Booth’s Canada Atlantic Station, which Union Station would replace. William Howe paint and wall-paper store and factory on the left, and the military stores building on the right. Can you make out the railway cars?
(City of Ottawa Archives CA001763)

The former Union Station building, initially known as Grand Trunk Central Station, was designed by Montreal-based architecture firm Ross & MacFarlane. The firm’s Beaux- Arts concept was praised as “strikingly beautiful” by city council and newspaper reporters of the day.  Hallmarks of the Beaux-Arts style are evident in the building’s theatrical, monumental and self-confident use of classical forms such as the columns, entablatures, pilasters, domes and arches.

Union Station was built to serve as Ottawa’s central railway station.  It was constructed on the site of the old Central Railway Depot, built in 1896 by the Canada Atlantic Railway established some eighteen years earlier by Canadian lumber baron John R. Booth.

Construction of the new station began in July 1909.  After multiple delays the station finally opened to the public in June 1912.

The Château Laurier Hotel, constructed during the same time frame and located across the street, opened on the same day. The Hotel and Station were connected by a tunnel.

The threat to the Union Station building began in the late 1940s when “The Greber Plan” recommended removal of the railways from central Ottawa in favour of a scenic driveway. Read more here.. CLICK

The Ottawa Journal
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
21 Feb 1911, Tue  •  Page 12

When Trains Crash —Ashton Train Accident 1950

Train Wreck January 21, 1969– Almonte Gazette

The McKellar Train Derailment 1913

Clippings of The Old Perth Train Station

The Glen Tay Train Wrecks of Lanark County

Did You Know About These Local Train Wrecks?

Tragedy and Suffering in Lanark County-Trains and Cellar Stairs

I was Born a Boxcar Child- Tales of the Railroad

The Lanark County “Carpetbaggers”–Lanark Electric Railway

The Titanic of a Railway Disaster — Dr. Allan McLellan of Carleton Place

What Happened on the CPR Railway Bridge?

Memories from Carleton Place–Llew Lloyd and Peter Iveson

So Which William Built the Carleton Place Railway Bridge?

The trial of W. H. S. Simpson the Railway Mail Clerk

55 years ago–One of the Most Tragic Accidents in the History of Almonte

The Kick and Push Town of Folger

Train Accident? Five Bucks and a Free Lunch in Carleton Place Should Settle it

The Men That Road the Rails

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

Memories of When Rail was King- Carleton Place

Memories of Days of Wood Piles Water Plugs and Bushwackers – Carleton Place Railroad

1898 — Accidents, Moose and Caterpillars

Pardon me Boys — Is That the Carleton Place Choo Choo?


The plaintive whistle of the trains will be forever silenced in Carleton Place.


A railway bridge at Carleton Place was built more than 100 years ago to span the Mississippi at the location of the town’s present C.P.R. Bridge. Trains from Brockville, drawn by small wood-burning steam locomotives, began in the summer of 1859 to run as far as Carleton Place and Almonte. This was the same oldest railway line of the district that was surmounted last year by the new overpass on the south side of the town opposite the end of Napoleon Street.

The area around the birdge was a popular portage place and the natives had their camps here.Several parties of Indians were encamped late in the year at the east side of the town and frequented the streets daily. An Indian war dance was held at a random local residence weekly. I have no idea if that was by choice or not. I guess you just stayed indoors and let them do their thing.


If you’ve ever seen the McArthur Woolen Mill, Central School, Prince of Wales High School, St James Church, St Mary’s Church, and of course the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum, then you are familiar with some of William Willowby’s work.  He was a local stone mason, who along with his brothers, Isaac, Abraham and Jacob, and his sons, built numerous buildings in Carleton Place and the surrounding area, including Almonte and Smiths Falls.

William also built the railroad bridge that spans the Mississippi. In the Brigil Homes subdivision behind Giant Tiger the  newly built playground is named after the Willoughby’s. So when you drive down King Street you can see “Willoughby Park” and know who it’s named after. I had no idea until today.

In August of 1964, three young girls were caught on the Mississippi River narrow railway bridge. Watching in horror, a CPR Ottawa-bound Canadian passenger train was coming towards them quickly. Two sisters were forced to jump from the 25 foot high train-only bridge and they landed in the shallow waters of the rock-bottomed Mississippi River. Read the rest here.



C.P.R. (Canadian Pacific Railway) Passenger Train crossing Mississippi River Bridge at Carleton Place, Ontario, 1900
National Archives


Photos: Linda Seccaspina and photos and files from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

The Railroad Thanks You For Giving Up Your Life for “Safety’s Sake”


Sometimes I shake my head at the loss of local life given up courtesy of the C.P. R. or C. N. R railroad– especially exiting moving trains before they reached Carleton Place. Was there not some safety program awareness available to the local populations of Canadian towns? There wasn’t a day that did not go by that someone didn’t lose a leg, arm, or life somewhere– all in the name of the railroad. Even the cows marched weekly across the Carleton Place bridge and down Bridge Street to the train station were not exempt from trouble.


August 1909

Mr. P. McDermott, age 29, the only son of Richard J. McDermott of the 11th line of Beckwith died on August 7th at Warman Junction in Saskatchewan on duty in the C.N. R. yards. The local police reported that the young lad had only been employed by them for three years as a trainman. He was described as a splendid young man and transferred to Winnipeg from Carleton Place. McDermott was a first class trainman and much esteemed by his associates.


The residents of Carleton Place also mourned his loss as he was the former baggage master at the Carleton Place C. P. R. station. The young man was best known for finding a broken rail just west of Ashton while walking along the C.P.R. track near his home. It was only because of his prompt action that a fast incoming train was stopped in the nick of time. It was McDermott alone that prevented what would have been a disastrous wreck. For that he received an expression of gratitude from the executive of the C.P.R. The remains left Saskatoon and reached Carleton Place on the following Thursday. It was said he was thrown a funeral nothing short of that of a heroe.


The deadliest crossing was on Lanark County Road 17- just north of Hwy. & 7. In 1986 they finally went to the Canadian Transport Commission to get a signal after all those years of accidents. The crossing still had an average of 400 cars a day, yet the trains had been cut down to 2. A signal with a bell and flashing lights in the 80’s cost over $80,000.

Photos from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

Police car photo:

1947 Cadillac sedan limo. It was owned by a doctor in Toronto. He gave it to CPR president Buck Crump to be converted to ride on the rails. It was used by managers and such to go around. It has a turntable underneath so that it could be turned around on the track to go back the way it came.

From the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario

“If you don’t know where you come from, you don’t know who you are!” —The late Edna Gardner Carleton Place

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

I’ve Been Working on the Railroad




ALL Information below is from the Mississippi Valley Associated Railroaders website and Colin Churcher from his website. Join the local MVAR Club! 

Read all about them!

1870, September 16 – the first official train of the Canada Central Railway ran from the terminus at Lebreton Flats, through what was to become Westboro, to Carleton Place.

1881, June – The Canadian Pacific took over the Canada Central Railway.

1882- A new railway station was built at the junction of the two lines here. Exemption from municipal taxation was granted for the C.P.R. workshops being moved to Carleton Place from Brockville and Prescott.

1884 – Carleton Place became a railway division point. The result was an expansion of the town’s population and of its commercial activities. A large railway station addition was undertaken.

C. 1885 – Carleton Place reached the speediest period of its growth. The selection of Carleton Place by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company for a division point and major repair shop added a third major industry to growing textile and lumber businesses.

1886 – The railway junction and division point town of Carleton Place was a stopping point for the first through train of the C.P.R. from Montreal to the west coast.

By the end of the decade, Carleton Place, with a population approaching 4,500, was second in size only to Ottawa in all of the Ottawa Valley. On the main line of the new railway to the west coast, Carleton Place was the largest community between Montreal and Vancouver, with the exception of Winnipeg.

1990, January 15 – Canadian Pacific abandons the Carleton Place Subdivision between Nepean (m. 9.0) and Carleton Place (m. 28.1) with the passage of the last “Canadian” transcontinental passenger train, hauled by VIA 6409 westbound and VIA 6443 eastbound.

Three photos: David McCurdy, MVAR Library

Sadly, as we look at the end coach on the train, it is the end of an era in Carleton Place. The event was viewed by a few hundred people. The next day, the interchange switch was removed and replaced by rail on the Chalk River Sub. Not long after that, the track and ties were lifted and the Carleton Place Sub passed into memory.

1993, July 29 – Canadian Pacific completes the sale of the Carleton Place subdivision right-of-way between Carleton Place and Nepean to the Regional Municipality of Ottawa Carleton.



This was the Featured Artifact – February 2014 from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum

What better way to say “I love you” than with a handwritten note in permanent ink! Verna MacFarlane packed up a lunch every morning in this tin lunchbox for her husband Erwin, who worked for the CPR in Carleton Place. One day she sent him a message in red marker, written on the inside sliding lid of Erwin’s blue lunchbox.
“Verna loves Erwin…My perfect husband xxx xxx”.