July 1st, 1873 - A Canada Day to Remember
Click on the picture for a closer look!
In keeping with our TRHA mandate to research, interpret and communicate the rich railway history in the Toronto area, today we turn to reporting on one of several significant Canada Day historical events as reported today in the Toronto Railway Heritage Yahoo Group by Derek Boles, TRHA Historian. Derek writes:
"July 1, 1873:
Toronto's 2nd Union Station opens for business, the largest and most opulent railway station in Canada. Built on the site of Toronto's first Union Station (1858), the new facility occupied most of the block between York and Simcoe streets. The three track trainshed was 470 feet in length and the 100-foot high clock tower was long the most familiar landmark on Toronto's waterfront. Celebrations were muted owing to the death of the builder of the station, John Shedden, who was killed in a railway accident on the Toronto & Nipissing Railway a few weeks earlier.
Owned and operated by the Grand Trunk, the station owed its "union" status to the narrow gauge Toronto, Grey & Bruce, whose 3'6" track was the northernmost in the 3-track trainshed. Great Western and Northern trains continued to use their own Toronto terminals until those railways were absorbed by the Grand Trunk in the 1880s. By the 1890s, all railways operating into Toronto were at Union Station and the facility was extensively remodeled by 1896. The 1873 headhouse remained in operation until the present Union Station opened in August 1927. The clock was removed from the tower before demolition and has been preserved in Huntsville. In 1929, the station site was occupied by the Canadian National Express building, which was transformed into the Skywalk in 1989."
To read about the other historic events occuring on Canada Days in the past and to get daily postings of items of historic interest from Derek, join the Toronto Railway Heritage Yahoo Group by clicking here.
Posting by Russ Milland; Canadian flag picture by Marilyn Cornwell; Union Station picture from City of Toronto archives