Simcoe County

Background

Simcoe County, by virtue of its strategic location in providing access to the Great Lakes, was destined for early participation in the railway construction boom that occurred in the 1850s, a year after the Province of Canada passed the Railway Guarantee Act that guaranteed the loan interest on the construction of railways not less than 75 miles in length.


From 1853 to 1888 - The Years of Development

A portage railway had been coffee house talk when Toronto was still York. The early trails to Lake Simcoe and Georgian Bay had defined logical lines of communication; and the availability of wheat and firewood were domestic necessities. So it was that the city fathers, aided by the innovative and energetic Frederick Chase Capreol, brought about, amid flamboyance and some scandal, the first steam railway in Upper Canada.

Incorporated in 1849 as the Toronto, Simcoe & Lake Huron Union Railroad Company, it became the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Union Railroad in 1852. Its first train reached Machell's Corners (now Aurora) on May 16, 1853, Bradford and Allandale later in 1853, with a spur to Belle Ewart in 1854, and it entered Collingwood in June 1855.

Collingwood (Northern Ry of Canada) ca 1856-1873. Terminus of the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Union Railroad, predecessor of the NRC. Archives of Ontario.

Collingwood (Northern Ry of Canada) ca 1856-1873. Terminus of the Ontario, Simcoe & Huron Union Railroad, predecessor of the NRC. Archives of Ontario.

Looking south at Collingwood on the Provincial Gauge Northern Railway of Canada. 1860s. Engine house and freight shed. National Archives Canada PA 138976

Looking south at Collingwood on the Provincial Gauge Northern Railway of Canada. 1860s. Engine house and freight shed. National Archives Canada PA 138976

Collingwood station area. 1923. Collingwood Museum

Collingwood station area. 1923. Collingwood Museum

Collingwood, looking north to the elevator. 1978.

Collingwood, looking north to the elevator. 1978.

Stayner. No date. Harold Culham photo

Stayner. No date. Harold Culham photo

New Lowell in the GTR days. School outing?

New Lowell in the GTR days. School outing?

Angus. No date. Dave Spaulding photo

Angus. No date. Dave Spaulding photo

Camp Borden "union" station - GTR and CPR. No date. CFB Borden Museum

Camp Borden "union" station - GTR and CPR. No date. CFB Borden Museum

Colwell Jct.  No date. Photographer and source unknown

Colwell Jct. No date. Photographer and source unknown