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From the Archives: Toronto's 1st Union Station - Part 5 of 8

Click on the picture for a closer look!

There was thought to be no photograph of this first Union Station, however the illustration above was recently found in the National Archives in Gatineau, Quebec. It is a stereograph image dated about 1860 and is looking west, similar to the view of the Armstrong watercolour. In fact this photograph may very well have been taken by Armstrong and used as the basis for his painting. This is also the same Armstrong who headed the Armstrong, Beere & Hime photographic firm that was responsible for the 1857 panoramic photos of the city. William Armstrong will be the topic of a future installment of this column.

The first era of railway building in Canada West (Ontario) ended about 1859, a reaction to a financial depression that had begun two years earlier. There were no new railway companies entering Toronto for at least another decade. However, the existing railways continued to improve their Toronto facilities as Canada prepared for nationhood and the city assumed its role as the capital of the new province of Ontario. While the 1858 Union Station impressed Torontonians when it first opened, the facility was soon inadequate to handle Toronto's expanding population and increased railway traffic. By 1868, a year after Confederation, there were 24 trains a day using the station.

Click here to read the next in this series of excerpts from Derek's article on Toronto's 1st Union Station.

By Derek Boles, TRHA Historian

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