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The lost train stations of Toronto

Posted by Derek Flack / June 6, 2011

Lost train station TorontoToronto's lost train stations range in stature from the positively grand to the most modest of structures. In terms of the former, one thinks immediately of the majestic former Union Station (pictured above), which was rendered redundant when our current central terminus was completed in 1927. This was at a time when the idea of re-purposing a building of such a size wasn't even a consideration, so after the train sheds were removed in 1927 and 1928, the main buildings were also brought down in 1931. As foolish as it might be, I can't help but wonder what the space would look like today had it somehow survived. Can you imagine Toronto with a Musée d'Orsay type gallery?

The majority of the other photos that compose this collection are of stations that serviced the CPR, GTR, and CNR lines that ran through Toronto, which were variously active with inter-city passenger trains between the 1850s and the early 1970s. Of these stations, I believe only one remains in its current location. An excellent example of how heritage preservation can work, the old North Toronto CPR Station near Yonge and Summerhill has served as the LCBO's flagship location since a full-scale restoration in 2004.

Update: See Derek Boles note in the comments below regarding the current whereabouts of Don Station.

Photos

Old Union Station (Front Street between York and Simcoe streets)
Old Union Station Toronto

Early demolition of Old Union Station 1927
Old Union Station Toronto

North Toronto CPR Station 1916 (Yonge and Summerhill area)
North Toronto CPR Station

North Toronto CPR Station interior
Summerhill CPR Station Toronto

Old and new North Toronto CPR Stations
Summerhill CPR Station

Davenport Station (Caledonia between Davenport and St. Clair) 1923
Davenport Train Station Toronto

Alternate angle
Davenport Train Station Toronto

Davenport CNR crossing 1923
Davenport Train Station Toronto

Don Station (near King and Queen Streets East)
Don Railway Station Toronto

Moore Park Station 1909
Moore Park Railway Station Toronto

South Parkdale Station 1910 (near Jameson and Dowling Streets)
South Parkdale Train Station Toronto

Sunnyside Station 1915 (at King, Queen and Roncesvalles Streets)
Sunnyside Rail Station Toronto

Alternate angle (also 1915)
Sunnyside Train Station

Riverdale Station 1926 (Queen Street East at Degrassi)
Riverdale Train Station

Near the Yonge Street Dock 1923
Riverdale Train Station

West Toronto Station 1910
West Toronto Railway Station

Weston Station 1940s (near Lawrence and Weston Roads)
Weston Rail Station TorontoSee also:

All images except the lead from the Toronto Archives (series and fonds info contained at bottom). Lead image by the Detroit Publishing Company

Discussion

35 Comments

Jeff Kahl / June 6, 2011 at 04:25 pm
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Makes you wonder if they'd kept any of those stations around what they'd have turned them into...
Fig / June 6, 2011 at 04:27 pm
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Great addition to your "Lost" series BlogTo - keep them coming.
Derek Boles / June 6, 2011 at 04:49 pm
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Don Station hasn't been lost; it was moved to Todmorden in 1969, moved again to Roundhouse Park in 2008 and has since been beautifully restored as part of the Toronto Railway Heritage Centre. This summer it is being used as a box office for the Railway Children production.

The second photo you have for Riverdale is actually the foot of Yonge Street. There was a station at that location built by the Great Western Railway in 1866 that survived as a wholesale fruit market until it burned in 1952. The Sony Centre is now located there.

West Toronto station was replaced by a much grander structure in 1911. This was demolished by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1982 and West Toronto residents have mourned the day ever since.

Derek Boles
Toronto Railway Historical Association
Derek replying to a comment from Derek Boles / June 6, 2011 at 04:57 pm
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Alas, I'm rather reliant on the Toronto Archives tags, which labeled the station in question as Riverdale. But given that it's obviously near the Yonge Street Dock (based on the building in the background), I've changed the caption.

And, as far as Don Station goes, I put a little note at the end of the post asking readers to see your comment regarding its current whereabouts.

Thanks for the corrections, Derek.
Aric / June 6, 2011 at 05:57 pm
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I find blogTO's style for captioning/labelling photos to be incredibly confusing.

Most other media (indeed, most other blogs) caption and label their photos below the photo, blogTO does it at the top. I'm constantly getting mixed up what photo is what, especially in these big picture dumps, where there's no visual separation between the images, and the text is all evenly spaced between the preceding and following image.

Is there some design solution you guys can implement to try and alleviate my pain (I suspect I'm not alone!)
Don Station / June 6, 2011 at 06:07 pm
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I have to agree, i went through Don Station @ last years doors open and was impressed with the job they done on that station. Those volunteers work hard.
Derek Boles replying to a comment from Don Station / June 6, 2011 at 06:23 pm
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In fairness, the heavy-duty restoration work on Don Station was carried out professionally by Tom Murison Restoration. The volunteers worked very hard on other projects at the time, including building ½ kilometre of track for the Roundhouse Park Miniature Railway.
When the Railway Children box office departs, the station will become an historical exhibit. Consulting on that will be a gentleman who worked as an operator at the station in the mid-1960's.
michael s / June 6, 2011 at 06:41 pm
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i agree with aric. very confusing photo captioning. perhaps add an extra break to differentiate more clearly.

anyways, love the photos.
question, did people have to cross over tracks to get on to trains. must have been fairly dangerous back then if so. "West Toronto Station 1910" as an example?
seanm replying to a comment from Jeff Kahl / June 6, 2011 at 06:44 pm
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Well, if they'd kept the North Toronto CPR station it'd probably have been converted to an LCBO or something.

Oh wait, it does still exist, and serves just that purpose: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Summerhill-North_Toronto_CPR_Station
Derek / June 6, 2011 at 06:54 pm
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While I agree that the format of the site does not make for the best user experience when it comes to photo captions, it's really not that difficult to follow along. Once you establish where the first one is, the rest of them should make sense. Adding an extra space, which we've tried in the past, ends up looking downright silly. Hopefully we'll find a better solution to this issue soon.

Thanks for the feedback.
Steve C replying to a comment from Jeff Kahl / June 6, 2011 at 07:06 pm
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As sad as it may be that a lot of these old structure are gone. They were saved from the indignities wrought upon many buildings in the 70's and 80's It was not until the 90's that an interest in preservation and restoration started. I fear that has begun to wave.
Fresh Start / June 6, 2011 at 09:52 pm
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Looks like a makeshift Downtown Relief Line (DRL) existed back in the day.
MrDan / June 6, 2011 at 10:17 pm
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Unfortunately, a lot of Toronto stations that were in limbo after rail service ended were subjected to vandals/arsonists/pyros over time. That old Davenport Station would have been a beauty to have around, but it was replaced with a more modern CN St. Clair station (which itself was demolished).
mike in parkdale / June 7, 2011 at 09:23 am
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if you look at the 'alternate angle' shot of the Sunnyside station, you can see some stonework that comes out of the side of the hill (under the building). Part of that platform is still visible today.
John / June 7, 2011 at 09:28 am
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Just imagine what those stations could have been used for if they were around when GO tranist came along. Alas they didn't last long enough to see reuse.

Moore park station looked like a stellar one.
Derek Boles replying to a comment from mike in parkdale / June 7, 2011 at 09:41 am
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The stonework at Sunnyside marks a short tunnel that went directly underneath the station where there was an elevator up to street level for baggage. Presumably the disabled would have used it although passengers were encouraged to use the staircase that connected with the overhead bridge.

The station was demolished in 1967 after the new GO Transit decided that they didn't want to stop there.
the lemur replying to a comment from John / June 7, 2011 at 10:34 am
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As stated at the side of the photo, Moore Park station was on the Belt Line Railway. At the time the photo was taken, the line had been out of service for over a decade, which is apparent from the state of the tracks, the rest of which would be pulled up to be used for iron in WW1.

I'm not sure, but I think the bridge in the background is Clarence Ave, which is now Heath St E and has a pedestrian bridge over the ravine.
mike in parkdale replying to a comment from Derek Boles / June 7, 2011 at 11:03 am
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I see I'm not the only one who's read "I Remember Sunnyside" :D
Vince / June 7, 2011 at 06:07 pm
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For fans of Toronto's railway past, may I suggest picking up a copy of Derek Boles' book Toronto Railway Heritage:
http://www.amazon.ca/Torontos-Railway-Heritage-Derek-Boles/dp/0738565709

.vp
jake replying to a comment from Derek / June 10, 2011 at 09:42 am
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Regarding the captions, how about adding a colon to the end of each caption so it's clear it refers to the picture below it?
jake replying to a comment from Derek / June 10, 2011 at 09:43 am
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Regarding the captions, what about adding a colon to the end of each caption so it's clear it refers to the picture below it?
jake replying to a comment from Derek / June 10, 2011 at 09:43 am
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Regarding the captions, what about adding a colon to the end of each caption so it's clear it refers to the picture below it?
Martin Proctor / March 17, 2012 at 03:41 pm
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I just spotted your site today (17 March 2012) while looking for something else. The image listed as 'Weston Station 1940s (near Lawrence and Weston Roads)' actually is a picture taken in the 1960's when an extra line of tracks was added by Canadian Pacific. The station is the CPR Weston Station that was built in 1893. It was unceremoniously demolished despite a stay of execution around about 1974. The view is looking northward on the line.
Helen Ficycz replying to a comment from Derek Boles / May 20, 2012 at 08:54 pm
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I have passed the place where the sunnyside station used to be thousands of times and can see the big stones at the bottom that stick out where the platform was. Over the years they are slowly disappearing. That is all that is left I think. But I wondered if there were any pictures anywhere of the train stop taken directly in front of the exit/entrance to the platform. It probably was not that interesting to photograph, only when sunnyside was operating I think. If you know of a site, or place where I could find more pictures I would appreciate it. I was born at St. Joe's when the station was still there, but we lived in the east end of Toronto at the time. Thank you Helen Ficycz
andrew peake / August 16, 2012 at 09:00 pm
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loved the photo of the moor park station . I had heard of the station but it had long since been torn down when I was growing up exploring the ravines , what wonderful architecture , I wonder if there were more photo's of the interior.
Donald Low / February 8, 2013 at 12:03 pm
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Recently on an episode of Murdoch Mysteries a train station called Willowdale or Willow Dale was referenced around the 1900s time frame. Do you know the location of where it was? Thanks.
brampton_don@hotmail.com
Carla Johnston Allan / February 18, 2013 at 02:25 am
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Re Sunnyside Station-reply to Helen, I too have a personal interest in Sunnyside since my Grandfather Sheldon Johnston worked as a ticket agent/stationmaster for 50 years(started 1917 GTR) at this location! He always told us that the demolition of the station was delayed to accomodate his record-breaking employment and was awarded a Golden Pass when he retired in August 1967. My own memories include riding on the "dumbwaiter" that carried the passengers and luggage from the Station above to the platforms at track level and I believe you are correct in thinking these stones are remnants of the platform. .Great memories ........
Raymond / April 11, 2013 at 11:27 am
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like the web site
Agent Smith / May 3, 2013 at 09:45 pm
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Love all these ol pics u gots - ever think of doing 'lost Toronto fire stations' - that's my thang.
Terrence / July 25, 2013 at 11:40 am
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Hi,
Does anyone know of any train stations still standing today that have a historic feel to them in Toronto? I need them for a photoshoot. I didn't read through the entire thread above, which lists them, but also says that some have been either demolished, moved or restored.
Thanks
David / August 27, 2013 at 05:58 pm
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To the east of Union Station on the east side of Yonge Street at Esplande used to be located the Toronto Produce Terminal until it burned probably in the late 40's. I was told the building had once been a railway structure, perhaps a freight house. Does anyone know if the building had a railway history. .
lesley smith / November 24, 2013 at 04:51 pm
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The tower at the Summerhill old station is a familiar landmark from my childhood in the 1960's. Used to pass it on the way to Cottingham School-Later on I realized that the building had been converted to a LCBO liquor store but never knew it had been a train station-or that our neighborhood (pretty central even then) had once been called North Toronto.
joseph ingram / January 27, 2014 at 02:40 pm
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jan 27 2014
Re-the north toronto train station-people who restored this
ruined a big part of this station-I know mom danced in this
building during the depression-this is the damage were the
horses went under the bridge to unload the bagage into the
area were wooden doors open up and wooden floors 4 areas to
unload bagage -these were all ripped out and cement was
put down for LCBO this ruined the historical value-how do i
know this I was in this station along time ago and was through
the whole unit-Also the so called electrical company that did
the out side lighting they ripped the old rigwall conduit out
that was all rusted and that was tapped and died piping
a first year appentance could have done a better job you
cannot modernize old structure to look old use the old way
hand thread the pipe and use the hicky to bend the pipe
this takes along timeand old LB cast iron no by todays
code but by the old code

journey man electrician 40 years-josephingram323@gmail.com
Roy Payne / April 15, 2014 at 12:33 pm
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Great selection of photos. I remember the station at Main & Danforth that existed in the 1940s. Any photos?
marco marrone / July 2, 2014 at 03:22 pm
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Love the website.
I'm looking for interior photographs for the demolished CNR St Clair Ave Station.
Any help in locating interior and exterior shots during the years of operation and pre-demolition would be greatly appreciated.

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