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Historic railway station preserved at King Township Museum

August 2021

King Township is a township just north of Toronto, Ontario, encompassing part of the rolling hills of the Oak Ridges Moraine, and ecologically important geological landform, and the Holland Marsh, considered to be the vegetable basket of Ontario.

Like many municipalities across Canada, King Township grew because of the railway, and the roadways that radiated out from nearby Toronto. Although motor vehicles are the primary means of transportation for people and goods, the railway is still very active in King Township, used strictly as a commuter service today.

One of the buildings currently located at the King Township Heritage and Cultural Centre is the former King City Grand Trunk Railway station. It’s believed to be the oldest surviving railway station in Canada.

Built in 1853 in Springhill (now known as King City), for the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Railway (OS&H), it served passengers and freight along the line from Toronto to Collingwood.

The OS&H was taken over by the Northern Railway of Canada in 1859, which itself merged with the Hamilton & Northwestern Railway in 1879, to become the Northern & North Western Railway.

In 1888, the Grand Trunk Railway took over this new railway, along with the King Township station.

When the bankrupt Grant Trunk Railway was taken over by Canadian National Railway in 1923, the King Township station became part of CN.

Although the rail line that runs through the King City area is still active, the King Township station was abandoned in 1967. After sitting vacant for several years, it was moved to the Kortright Centre in the 1970s, where it was left to deteriorate.

Through the efforts of the King Township Historical Society, the historic 1853 station was relocated to King Township Heritage and Cultural Centre, not far from its original location, in 1989 and completely restored.

A new King City station was built in 1982, as a Go Transit commuter station, on the lot just north of where the 1853 station once stood.

Sources: http://www.king.ca/Pages/default.aspx, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King,_Ontario, http://kingsentinel.com, https://www.yorkregion.com/king-on, http://www.trha.ca/trha/history/stations-2/king-city-station, http://kingsentinel.com, https://www.torontopubliclibrary.ca/detail.jsp?Entt=RDMDC-TSPA_0000211F&R=DC-TSPA_0000211F&searchPageType=vrlhttps://www.dufferinaggregates.com/2017/05/24/kjbeamish, various Toronto Star articles from 1984-1988.

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.

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