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Restored Grand Trunk Railway station in Caledonia a local treasure

July 2020

The Grand Trunk Railway station in Caledonia is one of several restored railway stations that hearken back to the day of Canada’s “golden age” of railway travel, when railway stations had impressive and appealing architectural designs.

The Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) built the current station in 1908, the third GTR railway station to serve Caledonia. Bigger that the previous stations, this grand new one included a passenger waiting room, men’s and ladies’ smoking rooms, freight room, two restrooms and office space in the east end.

When the GTR went bankrupt in 1923, the station and the line that ran past it, became part of Canadian National Railway.

CN Railway added an extended freight and maintenance room to the west end of the building. The clapboard siding was covered by the then popular red “insulbrick,” covering up the Grand Trunk colour scheme of beige and park green.

Although passenger service between Caledonia, Cayuga, Port Dover, Hagersville and Jarvis was discontinued on 26 October 1957, with the last “Port Dover Granny” service departing the station that day, it remained a busy station for parcel and freight service until it too ceased in November 1977.

CN Railway continued using the station for the next decade, but only as a maintenance depot. By 1988, the station was vacated and boarded up.

The deteriorating station looked like it had finally reached the end in August 1996, when CN made public their intention to officially abandon and demolish the station, followed by selling off the land.

Caledonia resident Ron Clark purchased the abandoned station, which he then donated to the Special Projects Committee of the Caledonia & Regional Chamber of Commerce. The Grand Trunk Station Society was then formed to restore and maintain the station.

Over the next year, a restoration project was commenced, with a new foundation and roof being added to the station, along with restoring the original Grand Trunk Railway beige and park green wooden siding to the exterior.

The restored station was officially dedicated on 27 November 1997, and now houses a GTR Museum, which contains local railway artifacts, displays and an operating ā€œGā€ scale model train; a tourist information centre; the Caledonia & Regional Chamber of Commerce, and community meeting rooms.

Next to the station are a historic water tower and a caboose, along with parkland for outdoor community events.

Sources: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caledonia_station_(Caledonia,_Ontario), https://www.haldimandcounty.ca/grand-trunk-railway-station, https://railwaypages.com/haldimand-and-norfolk-counties

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/restored-grand-trunk-railway-station-in-caledonia-a-local-treasure/

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