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Former Whitby Junction Station lives on as an art gallery

August 2020

The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) is long gone, but many of the architecturally significant stations built to serve this one grand Canadian railway company endure to this day.

Built in 1903 and originally standing at the corner of Station Street (now Galt Street) and Grand Trunk Street, the Whitby Junction Station replaced an earlier GTR station, built in 1856.

The Whitby station became a “junction station” in 1870, when the Port Whitby and Port Perry Railway (PW&PP) built a line north across the GTR line, east of the station. The PW&PP was short-lived; taken over by the Midland Railway in March 1882, itself then being taken over by the GTR two years later.

The bankrupt GTR was itself taken over by Canadian National Railway (CNR) in 1923, and the Whitby Junction Station became part of the CNR.

By the 1960s, declining passenger service led to reductions in rail service and closure of many stations across the CNR system. The Whitby Junction Station closed in 1969 and sold.

Facing demolition, a group of local artists mounted a successful campaign to save the station. As part of the deal, the station was moved in 1970 one mile to west, and set on a new foundation on the north-east corner of Victoria and Henry Streets. After being restored, it was converted into an art gallery, called the Station Gallery. Much of the original interior has been maintained.

In 2004, the station was moved to the north-west corner of Victoria and Henry Streets, where a modern building was built beside the exiting station, connected by a short, enclose breezeway, thereby increasing the gallery’s floor space to nearly 10, 000 square feet.

The expanded gallery officially opened on 3 January 2006.

The Station Gallery also offers art classes for all ages and abilities. It’s open seven days a week and is free to visit. Visitors can find it at 1450 Henry Street.


Murder at the station

The Whitby Junction Station had a tragic event occur within its walls. On 11 December 1914, 21 year-old telegraph operator Billy Stone, Jr., was shot while working the night shift. Stone lived long enough to call the local switchboard operator to say he’d been shot, but died shortly after help arrived, unable to identify the shooter.

The murder remains unsolved to this day.

Some claim that the ghost of Billy Stone haunts the old station, seen by some passing through walls in the building.

Sources: http://www.trha.ca/trha/history/stations-2/whitby-junction-station, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitby_Junction_Station, https://www.stationgallery.ca/about.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/former-whitby-junction-station-lives-on-as-an-art-gallery/

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