Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Railway Station Report


Former Grand Trunk Railway Station
(now Canadian National Railways)
Belleville, Ontario


Anne M. de Fort-Menares, Resource Data, Toronto



The railway complex on Station Street in Belleville, Ontario, has evolved from the construction of the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) station in 1855-56 through several building campaigns that made the yard one of the major divisional points for the company in Ontario (Figures 1-3). The station is one of nine still surviving in Ontario from the 1850s, and one of only two, the other being Kingston, known to have had a second story added. The eight stations still in railway ownership are: St. Marys Junction, Georgetown, Port Hope, Brighton, Ernestown, Belleville, Kingston and Prescott. Belleville relied increasingly on its railway related industries, and by 1913 three separate lines operated through the city. In recent years the much larger express building adjacent to the station was demolished and a stair tower was built for separate access to the second floor. Although the building under discussion has been identified on maps as a waiting room since its earliest appearance, the words station and waiting room will be used in this report interchangeably.

Historical Associations


As a major divisional point on the GTR line between Montréal and Toronto, the Belleville station was a prominent part in a system that radically improved overland transportation, and ultimately realigned the economic balance of the province.

In 1850 the distance between Toronto and Kingston was served by one road paralleling the lakeshore, most of it in poor to impassable condition. The daily stage was twice the fare of the daily steamer, essentially forcing all commercial goods and most passengers to favour water travel.1 Upper Canada had welcomed the opening of canals that made access to New York possible without paying the commissions of Montréal middlemen, and Montréal-area interests were keen to recapture some of that through trade. Farther afield, businessmen in Portland, Maine were lobbying for the use of that port over New York or Boston.2 The Americans had not yet developed trunk through lines, and the combination of British free trade and the American Drawback Act which allowed Canadian goods in bond to move to port duty-free held out glittering promise for challenging the dominance of shipping.

The Grand Trunk Railway gambled that it could successfully rival stage and steamers, and attract American products of the midwest, with a long distance trunk line connecting the Great Lakes with the Atlantic (Figure 4). The long range, inter-regional goals of the GTR were, from its inception, in conflict with the needs and aspirations of local communities, which required access to their hinterland markets, short-haul service to nearby ports, and speedy connections to American railways, factories, markets and overseas ports. As well, the decision not to connect with water shipping and not to locate stations or depots near the centres of towns adversely affected the popular perception and the real usefulness of the railway. The problems were apparent almost immediately in GTR financial returns. In Canada, railway managers learned quickly that carrying passengers was not a paying proposition. When the GTR finally reached Chicago in 1879, however, the profits of bulk freight were proven within a year: 40 per cent of gross receipts came from carrying grain.3

The Montréal to Toronto line was vital to the scheme for linking Great Lakes commerce with Atlantic seaports. Much of western Ontario was already served by the Great Western Railway (GWR), which by 1856 had tapped two American ports via Windsor and Niagara Falls through Hamilton, and ran from Toronto to Guelph. Early GTR plans had counted on utilizing the GWR for the western branch, but even after GWR managers refused the terms offered, necessitating the construction of a western line, it was clearly still considered an alternate by GTR management and bankers when funds ran out. The contract for the Montréal to Toronto section specified parts of the route, particularly the towns of Port Hope, Cobourg, Belleville, Kingston, Brockville and Prescott, with some leeway for the route they may find most practicable.4

Construction contracts for three million pounds were awarded to English contractors Peto, Brassey, Jackson, and Betts (PBJB) for the Montréal to Toronto line, a distance of 345 miles, and signed on 23 March 1853.5 The partners were well aware of Canada's railway legislation and the generous subsidy policies that could be available at the commencement of construction, and with both Jackson and Peto members of the British Parliament, they knew how and when to approach the Canadians. When the Canadian delegation sought funding guarantees for an intercolonial line from the Imperial Government in 1852, Jackson had been instrumental in persuading Inspector General Francis Hincks to award them the contract should the proposal to the Secretary of State not be approved—which they knew it wouldn't be.6 The well-established firm had built a third of the railway lines in England, as well as in France, Denmark, and 12 other countries, and it would build into the Crimea during the war.7 Favourably impressed, Hincks struck a deal and revised government policy whereby PBJB formed a private railway company to operate the railway and provide one-tenth of the capital, and fully half was to be advanced by the government under the amended Guarantee Act. In this he encountered "formidable opposition1I from Canadian capitalists and from the press: George Brown of the Toronto Globe argued, Thus will the company be contractors and the contractors the company and they may just place what value they please on their work...and they will have the entire possession of the road.8

The stations along the first sections of GTR track performed a delicate role in public relations. The English contractors had reputations for vast personal wealth and unquestioned economic influence; yet events in 1854, and throughout construction, bore out the rumours that the company was short of funds.9 Before work began Jackson had been forced by the criticism of Luther Holton, a Canadian railway promoter, to revise an initial estimate of £9,400 per mile to £s;8,400, but inflation, mismanagement, and insufficient public subscription resulted in an approximate final cost per mile of £10,500.10 Since most press and popular opinion were skeptical of the GTR, when not openly hostile, the company was virtually compelled by government fiat and popular pressure to build the stations they had been contracted to build. When GTR engineer Alexander M. Ross suggested to the English directors that the company could save £29,000 by resorting to timber instead of stone for station construction, he encountered so loud a clamour throughout the country generally, participated in by the representatives in Parliament, that the demand for brick or stone had to a great extent to be submitted to.11 Chroniclers recognized the works as handsome, well-built, and of expensive and substantial character.12

In Belleville, where most 19th century buildings are built of brick, the stone station house was an impressive monument to the intentions of the company.

Local Development

Like most early settlements in Ontario, the city of Belleville flourished on the strength of its location, the fortuitous circumstances of its natural surroundings, and the energies of its inhabitants. Its 19th century growth fed on the export of natural resources and manufactured products, in part made possible by the railway, and the fading of its economic strength at the end of the century reflected patterns also shaped, in part, by the railway.

The site of Belleville at the mouth of the Moira River had been seasonally occupied by native peoples and French explorers before it was settled by United Empire Loyalists in the 1780s. The English settlement grew up around the twin poles of a tavern near the lakeshore and a saw and grist mill up the river near the site of the present Station Street, presaging what would become the two dominant industries in the city. Belleville profited from primary industry and exportable products: in 1831 a paper mill was built, and by 1847 the availability of good hardwood floated down the Moira from the northern districts promoted the development of furniture manufacturers.13 The increase in wheat production after 1849 spurred the construction of yet more mills, even displacing lumber as the chief export product of Canada, so that by 1856 there were nearly 60 water mills on the Moira River, of which 35 were saw mills.14

Water was important for lumber and steamship connections, but many products of agriculture and manufacture required land transportation. In order to facilitate the movement of goods, particularly of farm products, between 1830 and 1852 the town and district councils concentrated on building planked and gravel roads to the outlying towns of Cannifton, Stirling, Napanee, and Kingston. The Hastings colonization road blazing 75 miles into the northwest district was completed under provincial government aegis around 1855. The first railway scheme was hatched in 1836, proposing a line from Belleville to Madoc and Marmora, where iron ore had been worked since 1821. That line finally came to fruition in 1874 as the Belleville and North Hastings narrow gauge railway, and was soon wrested from American control by a feeder that was itself bought up by a subsidiary of the GTR in 1881.15 The first meetings for the Kingston to Toronto line that was eventually built as the GTR were held in 1845. The idea quickly expanded to a Prescott-to-Toronto line before achieving its final form, and the Hastings county council subscribed £35,000 toward the construction in 1851. The citizens of Belleville voted an additional $125,000 to two feeder lines to make Belleville a major railway hub in east-central Ontario.16 The GTR was chartered in 1852 and construction on the Montréal to Toronto line commenced in 1854.

The 1850s was a decade of ascendant industry and prosperity that saw many progressive social institutions securely established in the town, and the sense of self-importance was heightened by the opportunities the railway afforded.17 For the second consecutive decade, the population nearly doubled. At the time of its incorporation as a town in 1850, the population was 2240; the number soared to 6000 in 1856.18 Boosterism reached a zenith when Belleville petitioned Queen Victoria in 1857 to be considered for the new capital of Canada. Sent by improper diplomatic channels, the petition was either lost or rejected, and Belleville remained a county town.19

Arriving 27 October 1856, the GTR was the first line built through Belleville, occasioning either rejoicing with music and dancing or going almost unnoticed, depending on which correspondent one read.20 The inhabitants may have been justifiably blasé. The town had been the regional centre of surveying and contracting operations during construction of the GTR, and was named an official divisional point in 1855, which naturally enhanced the optimistic assumption of a prospective boom. As well, two local lines were actively negotiated during the construction of the GTR.21

The railway depot was planned on a large scale from the beginning, when the station building was considered a waiting room, and other functions were distributed among separate buildings. One of the first three GTR locomotive shops was built at Belleville, and by 1864 about a hundred men were employed around the station yard.22 In 1867 a new locomotive shop was built, increasing the total number of engines that could be accommodated to 24.

In the 1870s GTR management attempted the works required to make their line the first-class carrier it was supposed to be. In 1867 the directors had been advised by Captain Henry Tyler, Chief Inspector of Railways in Britain, to invest £900,000 over the next eight years on more cars, wider cuttings, drainage works, heavier rail, longer sidings, more signals and buildings, and conversion to standard gauge.23 With Belleville still an important manufacturing centre and profitable railway divisional point in the early 1870s, and passenger accessibility facilitated by a new street railway, the GTR announced plans to spend $150,000 building new engine sheds, repair sheds, and a passenger station. Fallout from the economic downturn of 1873 affected Belleville, whose lumber industry had nearly closed and whose industries were quiet, and delayed further capital works until, in November 1876, the GTR indicated that construction would not proceed. Service cuts of 20 per cent were made that December, and on 23 December, 66 of 357 staff engineers across the system were dismissed, precipitating the famous Belleville strike.24

Ten engineers immediately submitted a list of grievances to the general manager in Montréal, demanding immediate satisfaction in the areas of job security, classification and pay, and threatening to strike on 29 December. The general manager prepared for a strike: he called out non-union men, anticipated training new recruits, and ordered nearly all trains held in their terminals. A large and violent crowd gathered at Belleville station. It derailed cars, prevented GTR employees from carrying out their duties, stopped the movement of all trains, and forcibly inducted about 13 would-be strike-breakers into the Brotherhood of Locomotive engineer.25 When Belleville police proved too disorganized to even appear at the station, the mayor called out the local militia and turned to Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie in an appeal for the troops based at Kingston and Québec. Mackenzie refused, and finally the Queen's Own Rifles militia were obtained from Toronto on 2 January 1877. The strike was defused, most of the men were rehired, and in 1877 Mackenzie's government passed the Breaches of Contract Act to protect the public against unreasonable suffering in the event of strikes.26 As a footnote to the incident, Belleville and neighbouring towns refused to pay the full cost of the militia. The Queen's Own Rifles sued Belleville in court for $3 per man, and won. Although labour strikes had been familiar in Ontario since the 1850s, when they were even reported as epidemic27 the violence and scale of the Belleville strike alarmed authorities, and demonstrated the latent power of employee organization.

By this time a politically mature entity, Belleville petitioned for and received city status in 1877. The population peaked in these years at 11,120; a number that began to decline almost immediately and which would not be reached again until the 1910s.28

Activity at the GTR yards continued undiminished. The railway companies were among the largest and most sophisticated manufacturing plants in the country, not only producing most of their own hardware but also making many of the machines required for the manufacturing process. In the 1870s the ten GTR shops in Canada averaged the production of five locomotives per year, 122 freight cars and 17 passenger cars, and the numbers increased in the 1880s after the gauge change was settled. This in addition to the repair, renovation and conversion of rolling stock, track repairs, and related activities.29

In 1910 a new round house was built at Belleville, replacing the first one, to accommodate 42 engines in stalls 90 feet deep; it may have been the largest in Canada.30 A wheel shed and machine shop annex were built adjacent to it and the yards were rearranged.31 Employment peaked at over a thousand, and in the middle decades of the 20th century, several male generations of entire families found work there. It was regarded as the only good job around, and one former employee estimates that 80% of local men worked with the railway.32

By its importance, the Belleville yard was one of the most historically significant along the GTR line, and as the sole survivor of that complex, the waiting room building that now serves as the station is a prominent relic of GTR and CNR history.


Aesthetic/Visual Qualities

The Belleville station was a first class, type B station of one storey with six bays (Figure 5), although conflicting documents indicate that the 1850s terminology may have designated all the earliest stations Second Class Wayside Stations.33 Since before 1890 the building has had a second story within a mansard roof covered in black metal shingles.34 Six dormers on each elevation, and two on the east end, align with the lower arches. Because dispatching functions were located in another building, Belleville never had a telegrapher's bay added onto its track elevation. The only other station without such a bay is Ernestown. In this and other respects discussed below, the Belleville building differs from the standard GTR design.

The station is built of bluish-grey Trenton limestone, probably the brittle chazy, laid in rather narrow courses of blocks much smaller in dimension than those at Napanee, Prescott, Ernestown or Port Hope. The almost diagrammatic quality of the stonework is unique among similar surviving stations on the line. Corners and opening edges are accentuated by quoins and, around doors and windows, alternating large and smaller blocks in the style of a Gibbsian surround. These elements seem to be in a lighter coloured, sawn limestone with an overall surface pattern reminiscent of the effect of vermiculation (Figure 6). The two arched openings on the ground floor of each end share a central jamb, a small detail but one that is unique to Belleville among surviving stations in departing slightly from the standard design (Figures 7-9). Window sills are parged with concrete. The slightly projecting stone sill of the building, which has been covered by the raised platform levels of most station sites, is visible here and at Brighton.

Doors and windows have all been replaced, but the three-over-three sash with a transom divided vertically into three lights is standard replacement fenestration at most stations. Many of the windows have interior double glazing in the transoms and/or the lower part of the sash, which may be for security reasons. Windows on the second floor are all one-over-one glazing in anodized aluminum frames.

Above the arched openings of the ground floor runs a single course of smooth stone, about where a nailing board would have been on the one-storey building. The mortar here shows the most complete example in Ontario of the later technique employed by CNR of building up the pointing with a hard cement and coating it with a strong black compound, an effect which gives a harsh delineation to the masonry. Only on the east end, where a fire stair has been cut through the eaves from the second floor, can any vestige of the earlier masonry be seen (Figure 10). On the west end, the upper floor is reached through an enclosed bridge from the stair tower.

Built in 1987 by Toronto-area architects Allward + Gouinlock Inc. in an architectural idiom unmistakeably of the 1980s, the stair tower attempts to distinguish itself clearly from the station by using buff and brown brick, and distinctive geometric forms. The steep hipped roof and connecting bridge are entirely sheathed in metal shingles (Figures 1 and 11).

In its present form, the mansard roof is a peculiar hybrid of materials, styles, and forms (Figure 12). The heavily articulated cornice mouldings capping the dormers and the upper edge of the roof are typical of the 1880s, but the flat plywood soffit and plain lower cornice have the stark barrenness of modern work. The curve of the roof at the eaves is not a customary form for Second Empire mansards. The metal shingles, which were originally iron, are not necessarily a reflection of French influence in the area as the Cobourg station also had an iron roof instead of the more commonly employed slate.35

Stylistically the station represents a variant with strong local flavour on the standard GTR Second Class Wayside Station design believed to have been developed by English architect Francis Thompson during his six or so years as GTR chief architect (Figure 13)36. The design was built in three sizes at approximately 34 stations on the Montréal to Toronto line. It was repeated on the Toronto to Sarnia section, where many more buildings were in timber; and it was also used for GTR stations in Michigan, most of which were built by C. S. Gzowski (Figure 14).37 When these stations were built, England and the United States were ending their experimental railway phases, and both countries had developed a variety of railway structure forms and styles. In Canada, railway lines were already operating and distinctive station types had been built. Although no consensus had emerged regarding style, Ontario railway stations of the early 1850s tended to be small buildings of frame construction borrowing stylistic elements from contemporary domestic and commercial detailing. In all three countries, a picturesque Italianate influence of varying dilution can be discerned in round arched openings, decorative brackets, deep eaves, medium or flat roof pitches, rectangular volumes, and an interplay of surface planes (Figure 15). The GTR designs were produced in this atmosphere of development and experimentation, and neither introduced a building type nor notably influenced the station styles of other lines. Their chief innovation lay in their substance and permanence, in the codification of a type, and in clearly establishing a corporate image for the railway company across its line.

The first issue, the quality of their construction, was specified by contract and enforced by popular demand. Railway engineers, shareholders, and residents were impressed by the enviable workmanship modern materials (slate roofs) and pleasing appearance.38 Less seems to have been said concerning the uniformity of design, but the repetition of a single plan and elevation, which offered flexibility and expansibility, had obvious advantages two decades before the trend toward standardized design.39 The construction of the GTR was one of the largest integrated undertakings in the country, and the company would be one of the largest manufacturing concerns. In the 1850s, no other manufacturing establishment could compare for scale or resources. The most relevant comparison could be drawn to the Bank of Montréal or the Bank of British North America, the two most powerful banks in Canada West at the time. Both had multiple branches representing a single entity; they had similar concerns to appear to be a secure and prestigious firm; and they relied on public image for much of their reputation.40

Standard station designs were common in England, where a line like the Midland was renowned for the quality of its architecture, and local architectural influences might appear in materials and massing.41 The inevitable conclusion indicates that the GTR built standard stations as a measure of economy, with the added bonuses of a recognizable public image and reassuringly familiar arrangements at each station. Adapted from the standard but more opulent in detailing and spaciousness, the Belleville waiting room building was one of the grander facilities offered to the travelling public.

Functional/Technological Qualities

As a divisional point, the Belleville yard was conceived on a large scale. From the time of its construction, the stone passenger house was designated a waiting room, and other functions were handled in separate buildings. Although no record has been found of the original interior, it was probably divided into gender-separated waiting rooms at either end of the building. The interior of the building was completely renovated in 1987, but the original material on the main floor had been removed long before then. The second floor lost wood moulding and wainscotting for the installation of insulation and foil backed gyprock, as well as partitions of unknown date, radiators, and other details in the 1987 work.42

Now the waiting room, which occupies four bays of the building, is an open space punctuated by square piers (Figure 16). Floors are new quarry tile, walls are drywall up to a moulding at transom height, and rough stucco above, a treatment suggesting renovation in the period between the wars. Three strips of fluorescent light hang from the suspended ceiling. The room is cluttered with the accoutrements of contemporary waiting: coin lockers, vending machines, and wooden benches with fixed arms. The ticket office has natural light only through the two windows on the east end; men's and women's washrooms are located on the outer two bays of the north and south sides.

Although the station interior retains nothing of its original detailing or ambiance, the openness of the space allows a modernist appreciation of its volume. This is similar to the restored Port Hope station, and more revealing than the cramped, badly finished waiting spaces of the Prescott station.

The growth of the Belleville yard may have affected the uses of this building in the 19th century, by, for example, the building of the enormous two-storey express building alongside it. A postcard of ca. 1920 shows the express building dominating the ensemble that included an office and the station (Figure 17).

Presumably the enlargement of the waiting room building was linked to ridership, including passengers brought by the street railway and the feeder lines. The second floor, which may have been supported on brackets as was typical of structures of the 1870s and 1880s, may have provided refreshment facilities or recreational spaces suitable for meetings, accommodating the library, etc. The cataloguing of the GTR library in 1887 may be the key to the date of the addition; there were also references to public meetings being held there.43 In 1957 the building was still described on a fire insurance plan simply as waiting room (Figure 18).44 Freight was handled at a separate siding a city block to the south of Station Street.

Throughout its history as a junction and divisional station, the Belleville waiting room has served passengers only, and early physical changes, such as the addition of the second floor, were apparently made for passenger benefit. Given this consistency of use which distinguishes the building from other GTR stations, the condition of the interior is particularly lamentable. The continuity of service is an important, though intangible, aspect of the interaction the building has had with the lives of those who passed through it, and to whom it is now a material link (Figure 19).



The Belleville station is not only far from the centre of town, it is improbably far from the lake as well, demonstrating the willful way that water transport was ignored in early GTR planning (Figures 2, 20). It has a rather majestic setting, however, with an axial approach across what is now a parking lot, an area formerly full of tracks. There is little left above the ground to indicate that Belleville was once a major divisional point, or that the station was, for most of its existence, not the dominant building in a complex that included a two-storey express office and a storey-and-a-half office in white brick adjoining; a one storey red brick structure; and various sheds, machine shops, manufacturing and repair facilities, exceeding 36 structures, distributed around acres of track (Figure 21).45 The development of the area around the station site is particularly well documented in a series of rare insurance maps dating from 1877 until 1942 available in the Canadiana Room of the Belleville Public Library.46 Although the immediate vicinity of the present station has changed considerably, the city blocks east of the site were not significantly developed until the construction of a poultry station between 1926 and 1942 (Figure 22).

All those tracks south of the station were lifted after the demolition of the western engine house around 1910, and in the postcard view of ca. 1920, the western side of the site was landscaped with dense flower beds in geometric grass islands. Although this style developed in the last quarter of the 19th century, it remained in favour for station gardens until 1930.47 Gardening is still carried on at the station, although not in historic beds. A raised planter has been installed on the platform beside the station, and a small bed has been planted with a combination of vegetables and flowers on the track side of the present baggage room and office building. Built of random coursed artificial stone, the long shed-like structure has a full basement partly above ground. Dating from after 1957, it appears to have been part crew quarters and part baggage handling.

Now the station and its new stair tower stand fully exposed across the parking lot (Figure 23), with a red brick administrative building a distance to the west, and remains of the round house out of sight at the east end of the yard. In front of the yard precinct Station Street is built up only on the south side, with 19th century hotel buildings testifying to the activity that used to characterize the district. There have been losses to the fabric, but few insertions.

Community Status

The Belleville GTR station has been recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada as a site of national historical significance and marked by a plaque. The Belleville Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee has requested that the station be considered by the Board, and has initiated discussions with CNR concerning the preservation of the remnants of the round house, once the largest in Canada.

As a small city where many were dependent on the railway for employment, Belleville has several interest groups actively working to research and preserve different aspects of railway history. With a general goal of maintaining remembrances of the railroad days in Belleville, the Yardmen's Association is attempting to restore a locomotive, which was designated under The Ontario Heritage Act, and to assist in coordinating the gathering and documentation of artifacts, photographs and information. At present most of this activity is being carried out by individuals around the Quinte area. Ultimately the group would like to establish a museum in a railway car hitched to the restored locomotive to be moved to Zwicks Island, which is just west of the mouth of the Moira River.48

The municipal LACAC maintains an energetic schedule of exhibitions, active and passive public education and training programmes, restoration projects, research, site commemoration and publications. About 35 buildings have been designated under The Ontario Heritage Act.49 The LACAC has established a progressive programme of resource management, and although the Belleville station is not perceived as endangered, the group appreciates its importance and is already working to ensure the preservation of railway heritage in the area.


  1. ^ Jacob Spelt, Urban Development in South-Central Ontario (hereafter Urban Development) (Utrecht: Van Gorcum & Comp., 1955) , p. 60.
  2. ^ A. W. Currie, The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957), p. 3.
  3. ^ Elizabeth [Bloomfield] and Gerald Bloomfield, Urban Growth and Local Services: the development of Ontario municipalities to 1981 (Guelph: University of Guelph, 1983), p. 57.
  4. ^ Canadian Parliament, Journals of the Legislative Assembly, vol. 14 Appendix 1 (Appendix 13), 1856.
  5. ^ Dana Ashdown, CN Railway Study 1 Part (b) Text, typescript ca. 1985 on file, (Ontario Ministry of Culture and Communications), p. 8.
  6. ^ John Beswarick Thompson, The Grand Trunk Railway: Canada's First National Line (hereafter "Canada's First National Line"), Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Screening Paper 1973-1, p. 1.5.
  7. ^ Jeffrey Richards and John M. MacKenzie, The Railway Station: a social history (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1986), p. 187.
  8. ^ Thompson, Canada's First National Line, p. 1.6.
  9. ^ One version of public opinion about the railway, and the contractors in particular, was the heavily sarcastic article "The Grand Trunk Railway" in the Gazette (Montréal), 22 May 1854, p. 2.
  10. ^ Thompson, "Canada's First National Line,I1 pp. I.6,10.
  11. ^ J. Knight, "The Original Grand Trunk Railway Stations—Historical Report" (hereafter "Grand Trunk Railway Stations"), Canadian Inventory of Historic Buildings Screening Paper 1973-"1," p. 1.9.
  12. ^ C. W. Cooper, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington. An Essay, to which was awarded a prize of 100 (hereafter Frontenac, Lennox & Addington.) (1856, facsimile Ottawa: Canadian Heritage Publications, 1980), pp. 56, 75.
  13. ^ Gerald E. Boyce, Historic Hastings (Belleville: Hastings County Council, 1967), pp. 32, 91.
  14. ^ Spelt, Urban Development, p. 72; Boyce, Historic Hastinus, p. 107.
  15. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, pp. 117, 154.
  16. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 117; Gerald E. Boyce, Belleville Birth of a City (Belleville: Richard Ellis Printing for the Quinte Kiwanis Club, 1977), p. 6.
  17. ^ Local importance is more easily observable when it is affronted, as expressed in letters to the Daily News (Kingston), 28 October 1856, p. 2.
  18. ^ Belleville Centenary Flashback (Belleville: Mika Publishing, 1978) , p. 10.
  19. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 116.
  20. ^ Daily News (Kingston), 28 October 1856, p. 2.
  21. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 119.
  22. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 119.
  23. ^ Currie, The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada, p. 112.
  24. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 158.
  25. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 160.
  26. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 166.
  27. ^ Upper Canada, Gazette (Montréal), 5 May 1854, p. 2.
  28. ^ Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 174.
  29. ^ Paul Craven and Tom Traves, Canadian Railway Manufacturers, 1850-1880, Michael J. Piva, ed., A History of Ontario (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman Ltd., 1988), p. 29.
  30. ^ Former CNR employee Fred Meens of Belleville, in conversation with the author, 10 September 1991.
  31. ^ GTR Betterments, Construction, Etc., Canadian Railway and Marine World, notices throughout 1910: (May), p. 373; (September) , p. 751 ; (November) , p. 915 ; (December) , p. 1035.
  32. ^ Meens, in conversation with the author.
  33. ^ Dana Ashdown, CN Railway Study, Text, p. 17, bases his statement on a drawing in the Francis Shanly papers; in 1906 GTR terminology classed it as first. Grand Trunk Railway System Bridges, Buildings, Water Stations ... Eastern Division (hereafter Grand Trunk Railway System), (Montréal: 1907), p. 164.
  34. ^ Goad's Atlas (1890), plate 19 (photocopy) on file at the Hastings County Historical Society, shows addition of second storey and mansard roof. The earliest known photograph of the building, ca. 1910, is reproduced in Nick and Helma Mika, Illustrated History of Canadian Railways (Belleville: Mika Publishing Co., 1986), p. 74. Although the mansard roof is clearly visible, few other details can be seen.
  35. ^ Grand Trunk Railway System, p. 164. The height measurements seem to be the height to the eaves.
  36. ^ References pertaining to Thompson's work in Canada courtesy Robert Hill, Toronto.
  37. ^ Illustration reference courtesy Larry Turner of Perth, Ontario.
  38. ^ Cf. Walter Shanly's remarks on the Prescott station and buildings at Point St. Charles, Québec, in F. N. Walker, ed., Daylight through the Mountain (Montréal: Engineering Institute of Canada, 1957), p. 313; Cooper, Frontenac, Lennox & Addington, p. 75.
  39. ^ H. Roger Grant and Charles W. Bohi, The Country Railroad Station in America (Boulder, Colo.: Pruett Publishing Company, 1978), p. 26.
  40. ^ The Bank of Upper Canada was established in 1821 in Toronto, then York; the company failed during the crisis of 1866. G. P. Ure, The Hand-book of Toronto (Toronto: Love11 & Gibson, 1858), p. 91. The Bank of Montréal opened its office in 1818, although it only received legislative approval in 1819. Merrill Denison, Canada's First Bank, 2 vols. (Toronto and Montréal: McClelland and Stewart, 1966), vol. 1, p. 6.
  41. ^ G. Biddle and O. S. Nock, The Railway Heritage of Britain (London: Michael Joseph, 1983), p. 57, and passim.
  42. ^ Allward + Gouinlock Inc., "Via Rail Canada Inc. Package II-East, Belleville Station, Ontario", courtesy Ken Rose, Senior Property Manager, VIA Rail.
  43. ^ James Reid, Belleville Grand Trunk Railway Library, 1887; Boyce, Historic Hastings, p. 176, refers to meetings of the Mechanics' Society at the station.
  44. ^ Underwriters' Survey Bureau, Insurance Plan of the City of Belleville, February 1957, Plate 13-1.
  45. ^ Grand Trunk Railway System, pp. 164-66.
  46. ^ The kind assistance of Lois Foster, of the Hastings County Historical Society, in locating these maps, is warmly acknowledged by the author.
  47. ^ Edwinna von Baeyer, Rhetoric and Roses: A History of Canadian Gardening (Markham: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1984), p. 29.
  48. ^ Meens, in conversation with the author.
  49. ^ City councillor Kay Manderville, LACAC chair, in conversation with the author, 3 November 1991.


  1. Grand Trunk Railway (hereafter GTR) station, Belleville, Ontario, constructed 1855; view from northwest, trackside. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  2. Location of Belleville, Ontario. (Railway Map of Southern Ontario, [Guelph: Clyde Publishing Ltd., (1984?)].)

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  3. Plan of Belleville with route of the GTR across the top of the town. The station is indicated by the arrow. (H. Beldon & Co. Illustrated Historical Atlas of Hastings and Prince Edward Counties, [Belleville: Mika Silkscreening, 1972].)

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  4. Route of the GTR in 1857. (Nick [Mika] and Helma Mika, Illustrated History of Canadian Railways, [Belleville: Mika Publishing Co., 1986], p. 62.)

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  5. Former GTR Belleville station around the time of its opening in 1856. (R. Lumbers photography, courtesy Hastings County Historical Society.)

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  6. GTR Belleville station, detail of window bays on north elevation. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  7. Former GTR Belleville station, detail of window jamb on west end. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  8. Former GTR Belleville station, measured drawing of east elevation. (Allward + Gouinlock Inc. Architects, 1987, courtesy VIA Rail.)

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  9. Former GTR Belleville station, measured drawing of west elevation with rehabilitation notations. (Allward + Gouinlock Inc. Architects, 1987, courtesy VIA Rail.)

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  10. View of masonry behind mansard on upper wall at east end of former GTR Belleville station, showing masonry treatment before the black pointing was applied. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  11. GTR Belleville station, drawing of north elevation shwoing proposed stair tower whcih was built as shown except for the vertical pattern between the windows. (Allward + Gouinlock Inc. Architects, 1987, courtesy VIA Rail.)

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  12. Former GTR Belleville station, view of north, track side elevation from northeast. (Elizaabeth Willmot, Meet Me At The Station [Toronto: Gage Publishing, 1976], p. 25.)

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  13. Drawing for a "Second Class Wayside Station" which is believed to be the prototype for early GTR stations, attributed to British architect Francis Thompson, ca. 1853. (Ontario Archives, Shanly Papers, MU 2701.)

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  14. Grand Trunk Western station in brick at Mount Clemens, Michigan, of 1859; Casimir Gzowski, contractor. Three of the five bays on the long side have been filled in by recessed brick panels. (Julian Cavalier, North American Railroad Stations [New York: A. S. Barnes and Company, 1979], John Uckley photo, p. 122.)

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  15. Station at Rowsley on the Manchester Buxton Matlock & Midlands Junction line from 1849; Jospehy Paxton, architect. (G. Biddle and O. S. Nock, The Railway Heritage of Britain [London: Michael Josephy, 1983], p. 85.)

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  16. Belleville waiting room, view of interior. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  17. CNR Belleville station in a postcard view ca. 1920, with the express building on the left. (R. Lumbers photography, courtesy Hastings County Historical Society.)

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  18. Plan of station area of Belleville in 1957. (Underwriter's Survey Bureau, Plan of the City of Belleville, 1957, plate 13-1.)

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  19. Passengers disembarking from the eastbound train at Belleville. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)

  20. Bird's-eye view of the town of Belleville in 1874 showing the station precinct beyond the upper reaches of the town. The "waiting room" is a one-storey building just left of the round house. (Courtesy Hastings County Historical Society.)

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  21. Plan of the Belleville GTR yard in 1877. (Goad's Insurance Map of the City of Belleville, courtesy Hastings County Historical Society.)

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  22. Plan of the CNR Belleville yard in 1942. (Goad's Insurance Atlas of the City of Belleville, plate 13. Courtesy Hastings County Historical Society.)

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  23. Belleville station, view of south elevation facing the parking lot. (A. M. de Fort-Menares, 1991.)