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Toronto’s railway past – The rusting remains of the CPR West Toronto Junction Depot

May 2020

While trains still run along the Canadian Pacific Railway lines through the Junction area of west Toronto, there is little left to indicate this area once housed a maintenance depot and marshalling yard for the CRP, complete with industrial shops and a roundhouse.

The yard dates back to 1882, when the increasing traffic in the nearby Parkdale Yard, located at King Street West and Dufferin Street, necessitated an additional yard. The Parkdale Yard, which was small to begin with, was ultimately closed in 1890.

The Junction area was once a separate municipality called West Toronto, until it was annexed by the City of Toronto in 1909.

The West Toronto Junction Yard was once one of the main yards for Toronto, but by April 1964, the CPR Toronto Yard in Agincourt (Scarborough) had taken over that role.

By the 1990s, the depot and yard at the Junction was declared surplus and most of the property was sold. The depot buildings were all eventually demolished, beginning as early as the 1970s, with the roundhouse falling to the wrecking ball in 1998.

All that is left of this once important railway depot is a turntable and transfer table, with the remains of the operator’s booth; all rusting away between the remaining rail lines and a Rona parking lot. Some small items were saved and sent to the Toronto Railway Museum, housed in the former CPR roundhouse near the CN Tower.

The turntable and transfer table were left in place, and turned into a sort of walk-through museum. A wooden walkway connects both, allowing for a good view of both, but there doesn’t appear to be any plans for restoration of either, given how the operator’s booth has collapsed, and there are no historical plaques that tell the story of these artifacts or the former depot itself.

According to CPR historian Raymond Kennedy, ““There were very few transfer tables in Canada as they were only at main shops. West Toronto was one of the very few shops that had two transfer tables.”

A Rona store now occupies the former site of the roundhouse and shops.

Sources: https://www.thestar.com/life/2015/04/23/not-much-junction-left-in-torontos-junction.html, http://trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/CPR_Lambton/wtor/gallery.htm, https://wtjhs.ca/junction-history, http://www.trainweb.org/oldtimetrains/Toronto/junction/history.htm, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CPR_West_Toronto_Yard

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/torontos-railway-past-the-rusting-remains-of-the-cpr-west-toronto-junction-depot/

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