|Saturday, September 2, 1882
|The Globe (Toronto)
|Page 3, col. 1
The iron road.
Opening of the Georgian Bay Railway.
A gala day at Wiarton.
Lake Erie and Georgian Bay connected.
Wiarton, Aug. 1.—The village of Wiarton was en fete today in commemoration of the opening of the railway to this point. The project has had intense interest for the villagers for some years, and its realization has given great satisfaction. There are vast numbers of people here from all parts, no less than 39 car loads of passengers having come by rail, and there are at least four thousand visitors. The part opened is the remaining link of a scheme for connecting Lake Erie with the Georgian Bay, which was first broached about twenty-seven years ago. In 1872 a charter was obtained for a railway from Stratford to Port Dover, and the work on this portion was completed in 1876. The road has been in operation since then, and has succeeded in acquiring a very considerable traffic for its times. The original charter was obtained for the Stratford & Wiarton Railway in 1855, but no more than the preliminary survey was taken. Nothing of an active nature was attempted till 1873, when life was infused into the scheme by the municipality of Stratford and the county of Perth voting $125,000 as a bonus. The route of the road has been varied so that instead of making its termination Southampton, it is now Wiarton, on the Georgian Bay. By 1879 a section of 25 miles, between Stratford and Listowel, has been completed, and has since been operated by the management. A further appeal was made to the municipalities interested, and they responded to the extent of $410,000 by way of bonuses, together with $2,000 per mile over the whole route, except a distance of 15 miles, and today sees the old project of uniting Lake Erie with the Georgian Bay completed, for the track is laid down to the water’s edge, to the point where the Ontario Legislature has fixed as the place for the construction of a dock. The whole distance is 166 miles, though the portion opened to-day is only 33 miles [from Chesley]. The Provincial Government has voted $35,000 towards the dock, and the villagers of Wiarton and the railway company have each added to this amount. The portion opened today runs through a very fertile country north of Chesley, through Elderslie to Dobbinton, Tara, Allenford, Parkhead, Hepworth, Clavering, and ending at Wiarton. The latter place has now about 1,200 inhabitants, though it is only twelve years since it was founded, and four years ago it had 400 resident. The railway was leased on the 25th of May, 1880, to the Grand Trunk Railway Company. The terms were that 25 per cent. of the gross earnings up to $7,500 per mile goes to the bondholders, and after that all earnings to the extent of 12 1/2 per cent. go to the second or income bondholders. The first four days the road was open $2,800 were received for freight alone, and surprised was the secretary when informed of this that he telegraphed back to know if it were no $28 instead. About 160 cars laden with grain have been despatched from Tara, besides 22 cars of lumber, and there is much freight awaiting cars for shipment. There has been quite a ferment and trouble, among the local magnates about presenting an address to the railway company today and taking up the occasion in an appropriate manner; but the opportunity has been allowed to pass without any formal recognition, and the inhabitants are much exercised about the omission of the Council to take any official part in the proceedings. The even has certainly been the means of bringing thousands of persons to the place, who never otherwise have come, and the magnificent bay or harbour has been viewed, and its capabilities noted, by some who will be led to think better of them.
Railways: G.T.G.B & L.E.Ry.