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Restoring the past – the Canadian National Railway station in Jarvis

August 2020

A sad reality as the years march by is that some of the buildings and structures in our communities are demolished and replaced by new buildings; sometimes even historic buildings. It’s called progress.

Even some that aren’t purposely demolished are left abandoned and allowed to deteriorate to the point that it’s too expensive to restore them. This is cynically called “demolition by neglect.”

However, some buildings facing demolition in the name of progress end up being saved, often times after being re-located. The former railway station in Jarvis, Ontario, is one such building that was saved, moved and restored.

Originally built around 1907, the single-story station replaced an earlier two-storey station. It was considered a union station, as it served both the Great Western Railway and Hamilton & Northwestern Railway, two historic railway companies that operated in southern Ontario from the mid to late 1800s.

Both railway companies were taken over by the Grand Trunk Railway, which itself was taken over by Canadian National Railway in 1923.

A unique feature of the station was that it had operators bays at both the front and back of the building.

In 1996, CN abandoned the line, by then known as CN Cayuga Subdivision, and sold the aging station. The tracks, which hadn’t seen trains running along it for years, were removed.

Re-purposed into a book store called “Neat Little Bookstore,” the station was later occupied by “Michaud Fine Woodworking.” Growth in the company, now called “Michaud Toys” caused it to look for bigger accommodations.

The former station sat vacant for several years before it was finally sold, this time by Tim Hortons Corporation, the famous Canadian coffee chain, for a new Tim Hortons location.

Not wanting to see the station demolished, the local Walpole Antique Farm Machinery Association (WAFMA) approached Tim Hortons about buying and moving the station. Tim Hortons agreed to sell former station to them for one dollar.

Members of the WAFMA fundraised in order to move the century-old station to the WAFMA property, owned by Association president Larry Moyer and his wife Margaret, at the south end of Jarvis.

Also required was a complete restoration of the station, along with adding new plumbing, hydro servicing and building of a new concrete foundation. The station’s deteriorating roof shingles were replaced with a new steel roof.

In October 2016, the station was moved from its home of 99 years to the WAFMA property, slowly through fields and on back roads. A small section of track was laid across the front of the station, simulating the rail line that it used to serve.

The station now serves as a local museum, with historic railway artifacts, maps, photographs, signs, model trains and other artifacts from the history of Jarvis.

Due to the expense of the restoration work, fundraising is on-going project. Anyone wishing to make a donation, call Larry Moyer at 519-587-2601.

Sources: https://www.canada-rail.com/ontario/j/jarvis.html, https://www.sachem.ca/community-story/9224907-the-railway-ties-that-bind, http://www.railpictures.ca/upload/who-are-you-gonna-call-driving-through-the-day-before-it-was-a-surprise-to-see-such-activity-at-the-jarvis-train-station-originally-built-around-1907-it-replaced-an-earlier-two-storey-structure, http://www.niagararails.com/cayuga.shtml, https://www.sachem.ca/news-story/7490828-forging-new-ties-to-the-past/

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/restoring-the-past-the-canadian-national-railway-station-in-jarvis/

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