The Canadian Northern (National Railways) layout at Leaside
A great big railway town now being organized northeast of Toronto
Town springs up silently at back door of Toronto
Leaside is asking admission and her demand is so Strong it cannot be ignored.
The Canadian Pacific's shops, sidings, stations, freight yard, most of all its hundreds of workmen, and the houses they and their families called for, made the beginning of the prosperity of the old town of West Toronto, now Ward Seven of the city. All kinds of industries and businesses located around what was a new railway town.
The same thing is about to happen in Leaside, the northeast suburb of Toronto, in connection with the Canadian National Railway system, which now includes the Canadian Northern.
As will be seen by the above map, a great big new railway town, planned by the Canadian Northern years ago, is now well under way at Leaside, alongside of the Canadian Pacific's freight yard. It promises to be one of the most up-to-date railway layouts in Canada. It is more than likely that the action of the C.N.R. may stimulate the C.P. to further development at Leaside. But in the meantime the C.N.R. management is busy. When the latter road first planned to enter Toronto, it secured 100 acres in the Don Valley just north of the present Bloor street viaduct for a freight yard, for shops, for a railway town. But that was more or less temporary: they made up their minds that a great transcontinental road for Toronto ought to have its yards and shops on the upper level (like that of West Toronto or Leaside), and they bought the property now being developed. They also planned to have a thru crosstown line on the upper level, and they made an arrangement with the C.P.R. for joint use of its double track system from Leaside to West Toronto, also with common use of the new North Toronto station. The World believes that the National Railways (C.N.R.) will make North Toronto station their main city passenger terminal, the keeping all their rights in the new Union Station down town.
Removing freight tracks.
But at all events the C.N.R. is getting out of the Don Valley with its freight tracks and shops, and is going up to Leaside as fast as contractors at Leaside can get the new lay-out finished. They have also built a cutoff from near Donlands (one mile east of Leaside), on the C.P., northward to Duncan [Oriole], on its Winnipeg line. This cut-off line will be ballasted in a fortnight and ready for use. They are also understood to be making arrangements with the C.P. for joint trackage to a mile east of Agincourt for their eastern line, which will give it a straight and high level approach to its new Leaside yards.
The new yards at Leaside will start with at least 500 employes [sic], soon to be increased, and a big demand for houses. The government will have either to get some one to build houses or in the meantime run some kind of a shuttle train in and out of the city; or arrange with Toronto for an extension of the street cars out of Leaside. But a great big new railway town is knocking at the northeast door of Toronto for recognition. And a munition plant, with six thousand hands, is not in existence right alongside the new yard; and right alongside is the Royal Air Force camp at Leaside, where big new barracks are to be built for the cadets and the still larger mechanical force. Leaside camp will maintain two thousand men from now on, winter and summer. SO that Leaside has suddenly become a railway town, a manufacturing centre, a great military camp. And, lastly, it will be a great residential annex of the city.
The C.N.R.'s new lay-out.
Leaside was until recently a place of farms and gardens. The Lea family owned nearly a thousand acres that they farmed. Now all the Lea homesteads, with their barns and gardens, have disappeared and a townsite had taken their place. The C.P.R. was there, but only as a junction station with a small freight yard. Now it is to be a railway, industrial and residential centre with 20,000 inhabitants.
The gee and haw of the plowman has given way to the snort of the locomotive, the pistol-like explosions from the steam shovels and the general noise of a half dozen building trades on a hurry-up job.
No blare of trumpets.
The transformation of Leaside is being brought about with a blare of trumpets.
Before the war Leaside was a marked place by reason of its geographical relation to Toronto. Work had already been started by the Canadian Northern Railway Company, but the declaration of hostilities put an abrupt end to everything. The plans of months were dropped at almost 24 hours' notice and were not resumed until last spring. Since then amazing progress has been made and this fall will see Leaside a railway centre—not the largest—but certainly the most modern and up-to-date in America.
The railway yard at Leaside are a $2,000,000 proposition and that is but a fraction of what will ultimately be spent in the town by the Canadian Northern Railway Company (now part of the Dominion Government's railway system). In every detail planned the future has been provided for. In each building that has been constructed or is in course of construction, an eye has been kept on the future, so that at a comparatively small cost they can be enlarged as circumstances demand. They have the prophetic eye up Leaside way, and a second Wets Toronto Junction is what they see in the near future.
Big munition orders.
Leaside, which is already an incorporated town, has, besides the Canadian Northern Railway yard and shops, the aviation camp of the Royal Air Force and an enormous munition plant which is now being duplicated so as to take care of an order from the United States Government for 12-inch shells. At present they only make 8-inch shells for the British Government.
Are working to capacity.
The town also enjoys all the conveniences of a city—water, sewers and lighting—but lacks a street car service. That will come later.
The Canadian Northern Railway, which put Leaside on the map as a railway town, has about 90 acres which are to be used a a railway centre. With the exception of the grading, the contract for which calls for the removal of 100,000 cubic feet of earth, all the work is being done by the company (now the government). The contractor for the grading has a $30,000 plant on the job and is away ahead of schedule. He also has the advantage over the munition plant and the railway in that this men are comfortably housed under canvas and do not have to water valuable time getting to and from work because of the lack of transportation facilities. Their supplies are all brought in by motor trucks.
Fourteen C.N.R. tracks.
Parallel to the C. P. tracks the Canadian Northern will have 14 tracks of varying length to take care of this business. The coach yard will have 15 tracks with a capacity of 140 cars, each 80 feet long. A 2,000-ton icehouse has already been built to the south of the tracks.
The coach shop, a solid red brick building 300 feet by 160 feet, with 12 stalls, will give employment to about 150 men in repairing, painting and general overhauling of all rolling stock other than locomotives. Adjacent to the coach shop is the transfer table 372 feet long by 80 feet wide. The locomotive shop will contain 12 stalls. It is 300 by 151 feet. The blacksmith shop is 70 by 100 feet. One large building 50 by 160 feet will be given over to offices and stores and be faced with a large platform.
New repair shop.
For repairing freight cars a separate building, 200 by 100 feet, is to be erected, and close by is a planing mill 100 feet square and another smaller building to house the stores for the coach yard.
To the layman probably the most interesting building in the yards is the roundhouse. For the present it will be capable of accommodating 10 engines at one time and its capacity can easily be increased as circumstances demand. It, like the other buildings, is of red brick. A 60,000 gallon water tank has already been completed nearby. The turntable is the most modern in Canada.
The destinies of the yard and shops will be controllable from the extreme northeast end of the yards.
There are about five miles of tracks paralleling the C. P. tracks and in the yard proper another five miles.
Grading nears completion.
The grading will be finished in about three weeks. As the earth is removed it is trucked on a light railway a distance of a couple of hundred yards, where it is used in raising the level of the land near the C. P. R. tracks. Considerable trouble has been experienced with water which is found a few feet beneath the surface.
It is interesting to note that the big coach house now nearly completed, was only commenced on May 24. Similar rapid progress has been made on the other buildings.
It is understood the Canadian Northern is anxious to get out of the Don Valley this fall when their lease with the Grand Trunk expires. Hence the rush at Leaside to have everything in readiness by then.
Many workmen employed.
Including office staff, mechanics, coach builders, laborers and general yardmen, the Canadian shops at Leaside will give employment to about 500 men when they are first opened.
The munition plant has about 3000 on its payroll. This number will be doubled when the new addition is finished.
The housing of Leaside population is a problem that will be tackled with the same enterprise as has characterized the establishment of the munition plant and the Canadian Northern's layout. Hundreds of dwellings will have to be erected, and the construction of street railway facilities will thus be rendered more imperative than ever.
Ref: Leaside Subdivision