Toronto Roundhouse Park
1st & 2nd August 2011
© copyright photographs by Colin Duff

The lake front strip of land - much of which is re-claimed land - south of the city was once a hive of railway served wharves, railway served industry, railway served storage and numerous railway facilities such as freight yards, passenger car yards and loco servicing facilities. Of course de-industrialisation and removal of railway facilities began in the 1960s and today it is mostly "gentrified" with blocks of upmarket condominiums and yacht moorings.

I have to admit my research before we departed failed to reveal the existence of Roundhouse Park and the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre. Fortunately we found it whilst walking from the streetcar stop to the CN Tower. It was not difficult - Roundhouse Park is directly opposite the CN Tower! Roundhouse Park is a municipal park around the former St John Street Roundhouse and coaling tower of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Note the sensible Canadians have railways, not railroads.

Roundhouse Park and St John Street roundhouse, as seen from the top of the CN Tower

The view of Roundhouse Park and the St John Street Roundhouse from the top of the CN Tower.

Most of the roundhouse is now occupied by the Steam Whistle Brewery, one of the many micro breweries in the Toronto area. You can go on a tour around the brewery. The Toronto Railway Heritage Centre is only open for a small number of hours a few days a week; it was closed whilst we were there. However, three of their locomotives are on display around the turntable all the time and the only differences between the centre being closed and open is being able to ride the miniature railway (which did not bother us), view artifacts displayed indoors and have conducted visits to the cabs.

Montreal Loco Works class U2 4-8-4 CNR6213 Beside the remains of the concrete coaling tower is Canadian National Railway 6218, 4-8-4 "Northern" type, class U-2 built by the Montreal Loco Works in 1942. This class was used on both passenger and freight trains until withdrawn in 1959. This locomotive is actually owned by the City of Toronto and is cared for by the Toronto Locomotive Preservation Society.
Electromotive GP7 B-B CNR 4803

Canadian National 4803 (originally 7558) is an Electromotive GP7 retaining its original high nose. It was built by General Motors Diesel of London, Ontario, in August 1953. The GP7 was the first of a new line of "road switchers" that proved to be an enormous success for GM/Electromotive.

This locomotive is also owned by the City of Toronto and is only cosmetically restored.

Alco S2 B-B switcher CPR 7020 Canadian Pacific 7020 is an Alco S-2 switcher built in the U.S.A. in 1944. Subsequently Montreal Locomotive Works, who were affiliated with Alco, went on to build more S-2s. 7020 spent its life working in the Toronto area and is also owned by the City of Toronto. It is hoped it will be restored both mechanically and cosmetically.
Baldwin DS4-4-1000 CPR 7069 Canadian Pacific switcher 7069 is a Baldwin DS4-4-1000 that is not actually part of the Railway Heritage Centre as it is located on the Steam Whistle Brewery part of the site. It is owned by the brewery's owner.
The temporary Roundhouse Theatre Also in Roundhouse Park whilst we were there was the temporary Roundhouse Theatre (note the sensible Canadians have Theatres, not Theaters) in a circus tent, staging the Canadian version of the excellent "The Railway Children" play. (We saw it at Waterloo during its first run.) They have hired the National Railway Museum's, LSWR Adam T3 563 for the performances because they did not have a locomotive of a suitable period. I beg to differ - they have "our" A1X 54 Waddon on display at Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, at Montreal. Some pictures of our visit to Exporail will appear soon.
Banner for LSWR 4-4-0 563 The T3 is kept inside the tent between performances but just before and after, plus during the performance whilst it is shunted in and out according to the script, it is visible from outside. I am afraid you are going to have to make do with the explanatory poster, but no doubt one day my photographs of 563, taken at York, will appear on this website.

Canada Index

Main Index