Northern Railway, today's Newmarket Subdivision, joined at Parkdale.
What makes this
interesting is, the TGBR crossed the GTR and CVR tracks at Parkdale
and took a more southerly route, passing just east of old Fort York
to its terminus on the waterfront. After the turn of the century this
route became an industrial line which crossed the CN Oakville Sub at
Cabin E, west of Strachan Avenue and just east of the Exhibition
grounds. In the 1980's improvement program, the interlocking plant
and the diamonds were removed in favour of a set of standard
crossovers. The Cabin E plant today goes by the name of Fort York.
You can still trace the old alignment from Parkdale to the harbourfront.
With the merger
of the CVR and TGBR into the Canadian Pacific system, the TGBR
trackage between Parkdale and West Toronto became a secondary track
serving the industries on the east side of the corridor. Today the
industries have closed, and the tracks are barely visible north of
the Dundas Ave overpass.
alignments in downtown Toronto
projects in the 1920's, Toronto's shoreline reached almost to Front
Street. The railway corridor east from downtown ran along the
shoreline, roughly parallel to the Esplanade, to the Don River. The
current alignment runs south of the first rail corridor. Until the
1980's it was possible to trace the original trackage, which remained
as an industrial spur. Some of the original alignment can still be
seen in the vicinity of the Gooderham foundry, near Parliament Street.
Northern Ontario Railway
Only one main
line route into downtown Toronto has vanished since the early 1900's.
The Canadian Northern Ontario Railway was the first rail line driven
up the Don Valley. It turned northeastwards and climbed up from the
Don Valley at Todmorden Mills, passing south of today's Agincourt
area and north of Ajax, Whitby, and Oshawa.
This rail line
was part of the ill-fated Canadian Northern, which was one of the
bankrupt railroads from which the Canadian National system was
formed. CN had a much better route to Montreal - the old Grand Trunk
mainline. CP had two routes of its own running east from Toronto, and
there were simply too many lines in one area. The CNOR was the first
The route of
this railway can be easily traced on a good road map. The roadbed can
still be seen paralleling the current TTC Danforth Subway in the open
cut sections east of Victoria Park Station, and alongside the CP
Belleville Sub in the Metro Zoo area of Scarborough. Ron Brown's
excellent book gives a more detailed tour of this line's remaining traces.
The TSR was an
electric interurban railway running from West Toronto to Guelph. Its
Toronto station was located in the Junction area, at the northeast
corner of St. Clair Avenue and Weston Road. Its line ran roughly
parallel to the CP Galt Sub to Islington, and then along Dundas
Street into the hinterlands. The right of way has mostly vanished,
but the odd bridge abutment remains. The alleyways behind the
buildings on the south side of Dundas west of Islington Avenue owe
their dimensions to the right-of-way.
The Geco Branch
The portion of
the CNOR immediately east of the CN Uxbridge Sub lasted for many
years as an industrial line serving the booming factory areas in
Scarborough. A connection was later built south to the CN Kingston
Subdivision, creating a circular route for local switchers from CN's
Danforth and Don Yards. This line was closed in 1996.
of the GTR
Toronto, the original Grand Trunk right of way changed in many places
over the years, as CN eased curves and moved to higher ground. Many
bits of the old alignment are still visible east of the city. The
most noticeable is east of Oshawa, where the CP and CN lines come
together on either side of Highway 401. If you look carefully, you'll
see the old embankment parallel to the CP Belleville Subdivision
between Harmony Road and Courtice Road, on the north side of Highway
401. The original GTR alignment ran ruler-straight to Bowmanville. By
the time the GT Darlington Station was built in the 1890's, the line
had changed, but the old embankments were left untouched...and they
are still there.
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