Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada

Railway Station Report


Former Grand Trunk Railway Station
(now Canadian National Railways)
Lot 405, Smith Estate Plan
Port Hope, Ontario


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



Of the approximately 34 stations built by the Grand Trunk Railway (GTR) between 1853 and 1857 as part of the initial Montréal to Toronto line, only nine still survive in Ontario, eight of which are in railway ownership.1 The 1856 Port Hope station near Choate Street was restored in 1985 to its 1881 appearance and is still in railway passenger use (Figures 1-4). It is a highly visible example of the standard station type built by English railway contractors Peto, Brassey, Jackson and Betts (PBJB), with small variations, in the communities along the route.

Historical Associations


In its restored state, the Port Hope station illustrates the early appearance and evolution of a first-generation GTR building, dating from the earliest operating period of the first railway to pioneer development of a trunk line in North America. It is a particularly illuminating example of the 19th century philosophy that underpinned railway development, namely, an optimistic view that saw technology as the means of "progress".

The GTR emerged as Canada's cross-country trunk line following secret meetings between Upper Canada Inspector General Francis Hincks and English contractor William Jackson in London, where Hincks was seeking the Imperial Guarantee for raising the requisite funds to support provincial construction of the proposed railway. Instead, Hincks was induced by Jackson to strike a deal for private, foreign construction of the line on the basis of 50% provincial government funding, rather than cooperative inter-provincial construction with Imperial backing.2 From complete, home-government control and responsibility, the plan was shifted to its least favourable option, the expedience of construction by private companies.3 Hincks' willingness to abandon his own amendments of 1851 to the Railway Act, and the suspicious origins of the company, set a bleak stage for a long history of mistrustful government intervention in rail affairs, public antagonism and dubious financial arrangements.

The country was ripe for an interregional line, and most communities in Ontario were already involved in speculative railway projects, but long distance shipping occurred entirely by water. Until the construction of the Welland Canal in 1829, Montréal merchants enjoyed a monopoly on transoceanic shipping that allowed them to charge commissions on all imports and exports that passed through their warehouses, and which ensured Montréal a strong financial position in the country. The canals that provided Upper Canadian merchants and producers access to New York through Oswego and the Erie system created the conditions for Toronto to develop as an alternate metropolis.4 By the American Drawback Act of 1846, Canadian goods in bond could be sent through that country without incurring duty, which further drained trade away from Montréal and strengthened Toronto as a lake port. Many towns were jostling for dominance, however, and citizens of the ports along the Lake Ontario shore from Hamilton to Prescott dreamed of fortunes to be made in the right markets.

The Montréal to Toronto section was fundamental to establishing a long distance trunk line, but it also had great appeal as an all-weather alternative to steamer packets between the cities. Under the Amalgamation Act, the GTR was enabled to acquire any existing railway company which would facilitate the cobbling together of a large, interregional system. These companies existed in Québec and in western Ontario, but the crucial Montréal to Toronto and Toronto to Guelph routes necessitated extensive new construction. Before the launching of full Atlantic-to-Lake Erie ambitions, a more limited Montréal-to-Toronto railway was instigated by three groups of speculators: a Montréal-based committee whose members were directors of the St. Lawrence and Atlantic Railroad (SL & A), and delegates from Kingston and Toronto in a joint private and municipal venture. William Jackson acquired the charter of the Kingston and Toronto Railway easily enough, but rights to the Montréal to Kingston line were not so willingly surrendered by its Canadian promoters, A. T. Galt, Luther Holton, and D. L. Macpherson. They eventually negotiated the construction of the Victoria Bridge, to link the SL & A with the new line, in exchange for their charter.

The preference of the British government for a defensible, apparently secure northerly route over the easier lakeshore route and the proposed track through the St. John River valley in New Brunswick had been two of the sticking points in Hincks' negotiations for guarantees, yet the engineers and backers of the line resisted making the obvious connection between water and land transport. That is, although the colony's significant travel and shipping occurred over water, the railways refused to acknowledge the importance of water and the potential advantages of interconnecting facilities. The GTR line was built parallel to the major shipping channels of Canada for much of its length from Montréal to Hamilton, but remained steadfastly independent of the ports except in Toronto. Convinced of the all-weather superiority of rail, the company forced the public to adapt to their higher prices and inconvenient location.5 When total operating revenues for the half year ending in June 1858 were £458 less than nothing, T. E. Blackwell was sent out as the new managing director. He observed that the Port Hope, Kingston, and Cobourg stations were so located that without branch lines, access to the water was impossible. He concluded dismally that although the company had projected a main trunk line nearly 1,100 miles in length, "there were such hindrances to proper development of the traffic that the deficiency in our past receipts can scarcely create surprise."6 At Port Hope the GTR was forced to accept a line through the front of the town along the bluffs above the lakeshore rather than laying an easier, flatter, inland track, which compelled them to build the impressive Prince Albert Viaduct across the low-lying industrial lands of the town where the river joins the lake.7 Even there, the railway lands did not connect with the shipping facilities until spur lines were built in a subsequent phase of railway expansion in the 1870s (Figure 5). From the 1870s until the First World War, the GTR energetically upgraded its facilities, reballasted, replaced and doubled up to 1,090 miles of its track and siding, and by acquiring 49 other railway companies in addition to steamer lines and car ferries, pursued new ventures in diversified shipping.8 The GTR achieved transcontinental status when its subsidiary the Grand Trunk Pacific reached Prince Rupert in 1914.

Although the public perception of progress continued to be tied to developments in transportation and communications, and despite its genuine innovations in service, the contributions of the GTR have seldom been popularly recognized. Even less have its origins been celebrated until comparatively recently, with consequent loss and destruction of its early structures. The history of the GTR in the 20th century, as of rail history generally, explains the scarcity of first-generation historic architecture.

Chronically undercapitalized, distrusted by the Canadian public and relentlessly pilloried by government interference, the GTR finally declared insolvency after the failure of its Pacific subsidiary. It amalgamated with the Canadian National Railways (CNR) in 1923, and under the leadership of a charismatic president the company won a public reputation for service, innovation, and reliability.9 In the process, many new structures were built to replace obsolete or redundant stations. The experiments in transportation continued when CNR associated with its rival Canadian Pacific to develop an airline in 1931; in 1933 the railway company hired local carters to transport less-than-carload shipments in an effort to compete against truck haulage.10 When the railway share of passenger traffic fell to less than 3 per cent, CNR reorganized its divisions and created its passenger carrier, VIA Rail, in 1977, a move that deleteriously affected the architectural fabric of many historic passenger stations.11

The survival of the Port Hope station is linked to the history of national rail and regional transportation issues. The low level of passenger use that prompted the planned demolition of the station is the same cause that protected the original building from replacement for so long. Public consensus about the measurement of progress is more divided now than it was in the mid-19th century. In Port Hope it has been realized in the 1985 restoration of the station and the improvement of service to encourage its use by commuters to Toronto.12

Local Development

Port Hope owed its early existence to its location on the Ganaraska River, which attracted the first settlers in 1792 and later provided easy access to the Trent-Severn waterway. Commercial growth occurred in connection with the dredging of the river mouth around 1830, making the port an important centre for the arrival of immigrants passing through to settle the back concessions. Port Hope incorporated as a town in 1834 with a population of 1500, and it still boasts many fine private houses and terraces from that period. In the early 1850s, railway development was the driving force of the local economy, and Port Hope was poised knowingly on the brink of unprecedented growth.13 The GTR, which arrived in 1856, was beyond local control; an inland feeder involving local businessmen was more eagerly debated. A branch rail line project to Lindsay and Beaverton was established to undercut rival Cobourg's line to Peterborough across Rice Lake, in hopes that the Port Hope line would be seen as the shortest route to the north. Port Hope and Cobourg were the only two ports on Lake Ontario to have built feeder lines before 1860, and Port Hope won the contest: Cobourgts trestle collapsed in the ice on Rice Lake.14 Even though it was not operating until the year after the GTR opened, this feeder line was one of the anticipated sources of revenue in the prospectus for the GTR because it tapped into a wider population. Ultimately the town was served by four railways: the GTR, the Midland, which took over the Port Hope, Lindsay, and Beaverton of 1857; the Canadian Northern which arrived in 1911; and the Canadian Pacific (CPR).15

In the 1850s construction was one of the busiest industries in Port Hope, although in 1856 nearly all available labour was engaged on the railways.16 The town attracted a number of qualified builders, engineers and architects. Notable projects underway in the 1850s reflected the economic foundations of the town in service, manufacturing, and transportation. They included the enlargement of the harbour, the construction of the town hall and market square, the construction of the GTR station and of the formidable GTR viaduct, in addition to dozens of private houses, commercial buildings and industrial premises. The viaduct was said to have been built under the direction of the contractor E. L. Betts.17

Although the railway boom contributed to the construction of most of the splendidly ambitious architecture for which Port Hope is renowned, neither the construction of the station nor the actual arrival of the trains elicited much excitement in the town. Local "railway jollifications" had taken place in the weeks prior to the official opening, when the contractors of the Cobourg and Port Hope township sections held two parties to celebrate their completion of work.18 The public reaction to the official GTR event was characterized by a contemporary reporter as indifference, which seems to have been a common attitude along the line.19 Outright hostility toward the GTR was frequently expressed by George Brown of The Globe, whose editorials summarized some of the alienation felt by Canadians. Widespread criticisms focused on the spectre of political corruption; on the favouritism shown to the contractors, which in turn restricted the opportunities of local manufacturers, contractors, and labourers along the line; on the perceived power of the contractors; and on the unpalatable issue of off-shore profits and control.20 As a possible example of that favouritism, prominent civil engineer Thomas Curtis Clarke, a resident of Port Hope, was chief engineer on the local harbour works and the Port Hope, Lindsay and Beaverton Railway, but he seems to have been conspicuously absent from GTR projects in town.21

The construction of the GTR line dramatically altered the economic and morphological balance of Port Hope, and contributed to improving the quality of architecture and engineering in the area. The unusual location of the station and tracks at the front of the town rather than far to the north emphasized the industrial character of the transportation zone across the waterfront and significantly altered the landscape through the construction of the viaduct and track gradients (Figure 6). In the extensive development of its river flats and harbour front as a heavy industrial zone, Port Hope manifestly demonstrated the utilitarian ethic of progressive 19th century boosters for whom technology represented an absolute, in the way that science had for the 18th century, and religious faith had for previous centuries. Finally, the project brought skilled workers into the area, many of whom may have demonstrated their masonry skills in the municipal projects of Cobourg of the later 1850s.

Port Hope was not a town that could rival Toronto or Kingston in the stakes for large scale manufacturing, high volume shipping, or international transshipment. The lake ports benefited from feeder lines to the northern concessions and inland centres more than they did from the GTR, which favoured long-distance freight haulage. For smaller centres, the effect of the railway was ultimately to limit their markets and even to challenge their local industries and merchants. After 1880 the combined possibilities of catalogue shopping and express delivery linked town and country dwellers with the markets of the biggest cities, and drew business away from the enterprises in the area.22 Although by 1881 Port Hope had increased its concentration of shipping revenues, the town was not successful in attracting many new industries. Nevertheless, enough local businesses prospered to keep Port Hope in the second tier of manufacturing centres in 1911.23 Through the 20th century, the decline of railway traffic and the consolidation of lines resulted in further changes to the patterns of land use. The major rail yards near the harbour were removed and converted to parkland, leaving only the former GTR facilities on the higher ground (Figure 7). Rail is no longer important in the economy or transportation profiles of Port Hope.


Aesthetic/Visual Qualities

Port Hope is one of three mid-size early GTR station designs to survive, and in its present restored state, it has considerable integrity. Of the nine former GTR stations remaining in Ontario, Port Hope is in better condition than most, but the process of restoration has replaced certain components, like the chimneys, which survive in nearer their original forms at Prescott or Ernestown. Its visual qualities are enhanced by its setting, which combines natural and engineered drama. The 23 mile stretch of line between Grafton and Newtonville was noted for its speedy construction over five months in 1856, including the Port Hope viaduct. An example of energy rarely surpassed was the assessment of English engineer C. H. Gregory.24

The standard early GTR repertoire of form and detailing is well expressed at Port Hope. It was built in 1856 as a first-class, type B wayside station with six bays on its long sides and two on each end, with gable bulls1-eye louvred ventilators. The openings are round headed with flush radiating arrowhead voussoirs of equal size (Figure 8). This is one of the few elements to vary between stations, and the Port Hope arrangement, wherein each stretcher block is parallel or perpendicular to the voussoir faces to facilitate cutting, is unique among the nine examples of GTR stations in Ontario.

Typical of many smaller station buildings in England and North America is the low-pitched gabled roof overhanging the walls on all sides. It is supported by triangular brackets on the long sides, and by simple rafters on the ends. The original slate roof has been replaced by asphalt shingles. The triangular brackets have a characteristic square section and hinge-end profile that recurs at four of the other GTR stations examined (Napanee, Ernestown, Prescott, and Brighton), even when the brackets themselves are partly enclosed, as they are at Prescott. At Port Hope they are let into the stone wall above a nailing board, below the boarded soffit (Figure 9).

In 1985 the building was restored to its ca. 1881 appearance, around the time when the red brick operator's bay was inserted in a doorway between two of the brackets. The disintegrating Port Hope limestone of the short east and west end walls was replaced with a stratified sandstone from Québec.25 A reasonable match in colour, laying and pointing has been obtained, although the replacement stone is discernibly different in weathering (harder and bluer). The celebrated English engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel had found that his limestone chimneys were corroded by an early acid rain combination of sulphur and rainwater which necessitated reconstruction in brick. His experience may explain the distinctive, sturdy, square stone pots and gabled slate roofs that capped the GTR chimneys.26 The Port Hope chimneys were rebuilt in stone in hefty birdhouse shapes atop the stone shafts to approximate the early profiles (Figure 10). The operator's bay has been left essentially intact (Figure 11).

Woodwork at Port Hope has been painted yellow on the soffit and dark green on the brackets, sash, and doors. The doors feature vertical boards divided by horizontal mouldings into three panels. Although not a design authentic to either 1856 or 1881, the doors meet security needs without affronting the aesthetic of the station. The number of doors has been reduced to two, both on the track side of the building, from a possible 1856 number of four or six.

On the assumption that the windows were reduced to their present size around 1881, they have been restored with low sills instead of the full-length French doors that still survive at the former GTR station in St. Marys. Fenestration combines the early transom form, elegantly divided into three lancet segments, with two-over-two sash of the 1880s (Figure 12). The transom treatment survives in remnants at just one other station, the neglected building at Ernestown.

The design for the Port Hope station can be speculatively attributed to English architect Francis Thompson in his role as chief architect of the GTR. Like Thompson's appointment, the design emerges from the web of connections among technical men working together on English railways. Both Thompson and GTR chief engineer Alexander McKenzie Ross were connected through Brassey and British civil engineer Robert Stephenson. Ross, who was involved in the planning of the GTR from 1852, had been resident engineer on Brassey's Chester and Holyhead Railway (CHR) under Robert Stephenson, and Thompson had designed the acclaimed buildings for Stephenson's North and East Midland Railway in 1845-46. All four collaborated on the great CHR Conwy (1845-49) and Britannia (1845-50) tubular bridges in Wales, and Stephenson was consequently invited to Canada in 1853 to assist with the daunting Victoria Bridge over the St. Lawrence: a project in which Thompson seems to have played no part.27

Little is known of Thompson's early training or career, except that he came from a tailoring family and in 1835 was appointed architect to the North Midland Railway, where he built26 stations, two of the earliest railway hotels (Derby and Normanton) and two locomotive round houses.28 Thompson spent two periods of his life in Canada. His architectural career started in Montréal in the 1830s, when he worked in separate partnerships with a Mr. Parry and John Wells, returning in 1839 to England. He is thought to have received his appointment to the CHR in 1846 through the auspices of Stephenson; for that line he developed two-storey station designs with accommodation above.29 Thompson returned to Montréal around 1852, probably through the Ross-Stephenson connection. He designed the GTR terminal in Portland, Maine, and the engine house and repair complex at Island Pond, Vermont, proclaimed as "the largest structure of the kind in the country.30 The appearance of these projects is not known; the Portland station was demolished in 1902.31

Thompson's hand is believed to be represented in the unsigned ink and wash drawing for a Second Class Wayside Station found among the papers of civil engineer Francis Shanly, where it is the only station design in the oeuvre of a man who rarely built stations (Figure 13) 32 Firm evidence to connect Thompson irrefutably to the drawing is lacking, although Thompson scholar O. F. Carter is convinced of his authorhip of the station designs.33 Clearly, whoever designed the prototypical small GTR station, designed them all, as the stations conform with few variations to a standard plan, elevation and detailing. Whether the station design in Figure 13 was the prototype design, or a copy thereof, has not been established.

By the 1840s, largely through the work of Francis Thompson, railway station style was commonly understood in England tomean Italianate, with its round arched openings, wide overhangs, exposed rafters and brackets, and occasionally rustic qualities. The GTR stations are handsome exemplars of the Italianate style, with their quality coursed ashlar, low, snug profiles, and arched openings attractively disposed across the elevations, but the emphasis on corner quoins at half the stations acknowledges the indomitable survival of Georgian trim details in Ontario architecture and construction. The Port Hope and Brighton stations are notable exceptions, with unique arch surround treatments over the openings, and structural masonry that is otherwise uniform and without quoins. In these ways each station responded to the available materials and labour within the larger field of current trends in station design in providing a new building type suitable for Ontario. In its restored condition, the Port Hope station is an attractive example of early GTR design.

Since its restoration the station has suffered persistent vandalism. CNR has been conscientious in its maintenance and upkeep of the station, consulting with the Ontario Heritage Foundation on technical and aesthetic issues. The doors initially had glazed panels, but they have been replaced by solid doors, and as glazing is often broken, crude measures have been taken to secure the building by installing plywood behind the glass in the railway office half of the building. So far the techniques of resistance have not adversely affected the materials or surrounding of the station.

Functional/Technological Qualities

Specifications for GTR stations to be built by PBJB called for two-storey buildings of stone or brick with two upper and two lower rooms for the use of the Station Master, with outbuildings and other conveniences, together with a Ladies reception room, booking office, and open shed for General passengers complete with urinals and water-closets, and also a platform ... etc.34 None are known to have been built to two storeys, and in most documented cases, the required uses were distributed between at least two discrete buildings.

Two phases of evolution can be identified in the plan of GTR passenger houses in the 19th century. In the first phase, everything might have been crammed into the single volume. Half the station would be waiting rooms, and half would be quartered for baggage, freight, telegraph and ticket offices, with a ticket lobby down the centre (Figure 14). After the insertion of the operator's bay, it is thought that men's and women's waiting rooms occupied each end of the station, with a ticket lobby down the centre on the short axis. One of these interiors partially survives in the GTR station at St. Marys. The evolution of station use and social customs contributed to the changes. Possibly the construction of separate freight structures, at Port Hope and other locations, freed up space that was suitable for a women's waiting room, and the two cramped waiting rooms occupying one end of the station could be opened into a general waiting room; or the addition of the telegrapher's bay closed down the central corridor and altered the circulation in the station.

If the buildings were by Thompson, the origins for such plans, as well as the general design of the stations, are probably wholly English, even though they are not a direct importation of English types. One of the closest precedents in appearance was not by Thompson at all, but Joseph Paxton, chief gardener to the Duke of Devonshire and architect of his local station (Figure 15). Railway stations were a new class of building in Canada in the early 1850s, and although the GTR stations were not the first in Ontario, they seem to have been the first to be systematically codified by both contract and design. Once built, the stations lent themselves to easy supervision, simple circulation and communication, and offered the travelling public a familiar sight at every stop. Perhaps more importantly for a new and untested enterprise, the plan was suitable for expansion or reduction in size. This was effected during the contract phase, when the same design was built to three different lengths of five, six, or seven bays.

This flexibility was advocated by Robert Stephenson, and may have been commonly understood in the profession. Writing Railways: an Introductory Sketch, with Suggestions in Reference to their Extension to British Colonies in 1850, Stephenson recommended that special attention be paid to the simple and economical character of the stations generally on the Continent and in America as deserving of imitation as structures which can at all times be enlarged, extended altered, or rebuilt, without interruption of the traffic...35

The efficient system of end-wall access for passengers and agents seems to have been developed in concordance with Stephenson's advice. What ultimately happened was not the lateral expansion of the stations, but the abandonment of the end-wall doors in favour of through-access between street and track. Instead of being adapted to accommodate more traffic, the stations were typically augmented by separate structures or replaced.

At Port Hope the waiting room has been restored to a single space occupying two bays of the east end, having a red painted floor and wainscot and yellow walls, with additional space along the south wall for lavatories. The ticket agent is accessed through a window opening onto the waiting room, and the rest of the station is utilized by CNR. The plaster ceiling rosette is believed to be largely original to the period, ca. 1881, when the separate waiting rooms are thought to have been made into one (Figure 16).36

In 1877 the Port Hope Times castigated one of the rail lines in town for the notorious lack of accommodation for passengers, who are compelled at times to spend hours awaiting the arrival of trains in the beastly den they use as a station building, but it is hard to believe that the GTR was being singled out for criticism, as other stations were much smaller.37 The Port Hope GTR station was one in a series planned for commodious customer accommodation, efficient operations and flexible expansion. In materials and quality of design, the stations were the one element of the railway that could be considered first class.



The Port Hope station occupies an exposed plateau overlooking the shore of Lake Ontario (Figure 17). There are no buildings near it, and the ground around the station precinct is overgrown around the tracks to the north, scruffy and untended to the south. The land rises quite steeply above the main tracks to Williams Street, which represents the lowest part of a subdivision laid out late in the 19th century. The closest houses appear to have been built after the First World War. A spur track south of the building ran by the huge freight shed, 166' long, but only the track remains (Figure 2). The setting is rather desolate and bleak, with no relevant railway structures nearby, and dominated by nuclear industries in the distance. The splendid limestone viaduct that curves across the front of the town is not visible from the station, but from the harbour area it is possible to grasp the connection between the viaduct and the location of the station.

In 1906 the GTR real estate portfolio at Port Hope included three dwellings (one agent's, two sectionman's); a first class car repairer's shop, which was nevertheless a small frame building measuring 13'×13'; a frame carpenter's shop 24'×35'; a baggage room, freight shed, barn, stock yard, four frame wings and three sheds. The Midland Railroad had a round house and car shops on the flats between the harbour and the market square, and several spur lines ran out from the GTR and Midland to the harbour wharfs (Figure 5). Consequently, the Port Hope station operated in a considerably different functional context historically than it does now. As the economic strength of Port Hope shifted, the landscape changed to reflect the transition. The Midland was acquired by the Great Western, which amalgamated with the GTR in 1882, and the shops were redundant. The former industrial zone of Port Hope is now parkland near the town hall, and most evidence of the concentration of railway structures has vanished, except for the elevated viaduct and railway bridge east of the river. These are exceptional structures in the cultural geography of the Ontario landscape, and their presence in Port Hope speaks clearly of very special historical associations (Figures 6 and 7).

Built of brick piers on high stone foundations, the Prince Albert Viaduct originally had 55 spans varying from 25.5' to 60' where it bridged the Ganaraska River. The local press asserted that the work was second only to the Victoria Bridge in importance on the line.38 In 1893 it was rebuilt with all stone piers, and in the process of double-tracking the line the spans were reduced to 31, with a further reduction to 20 when the ends were modified by concrete arch abutments and embankment.39 In 1910 a new metal superstructure was installed to accept a uniform load of 4000 pounds per linear foot.40

Although the station now stands alone when seen silhouetted against Lake Ontario, its current setting reflects its contemporary use, which is principally commuter use at peak times (Figure 18). The station precinct is still subject to the rhythms of the timetables, and the area around the station fills with cars, people, and activity when the trains arrive.

Community Status

The citizenry of Port Hope is dedicated to the preservation of their built heritage. When informed in 1978 of CNR's intention to close and/or remove the station, Port Hope Town Council opposed either measure and instead, forged an innovative partnership with CNR, VIA Rail, the Ontario Heritage Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship and Culture to see the station retained, restored, and put back into passenger use. CNR provided the funds earmarked for construction of a new shelter, and permitted the very active local branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, Inc. (ACO) a not-for-profit organization founded in 1933, established locally in 1964 to assume responsibility for overseeing the project. With four-fifths of the necessary funding advanced by CNR and programmes and agencies of the Ontario government, the station was restored to its 1881 appearance. VIA Rail leases the waiting room and CNR maintenance crews use the remainder for storage and work space. A three-part heritage easement signed by VIA Rail and the Port Hope ACO for so long as the station exists has been taken on the exterior by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, with the provision that upon demolition of the station this agreement shall terminate.41 Foundation easements on private properties generally run in perpetuity, and for 99 years on religious properties.

The successful, cooperative restoration of the station was a triumph for all parties involved, but particularly for Port Hope, which has undertaken relatively innovative initiatives to encourage the retention, rehabilitation, and amelioration of its built heritage.


  1. ^ General Specification for Works of Construction, Journals of the Legislative Assembly (hereafter JLA) vol. 14 Appendix 1 (Appendix 13), 1856, lists 34 place names and adds, A station at Brighton is also intended, but does not include Prescott, which became quite an important point. The eight owned by CNR are St. Marys Junction, Georgetown, Port Hope, Brighton, Belleville, Kingston, Ernestown, and Prescott.
  2. ^ John Beswarick Thompson, The Grand Trunk Railway: Canada's First National Line (hereafter The Grand Trunk Railway), Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Screening Paper 1973-1, p. 1.5.
  3. ^ Thompson, The Grand Trunk Railway, p. 1.4, citing policies published in The Gazette, 11 July 1851.
  4. ^ Jacob Spelt, Urban Development in South Central Ontario (hereafer Urban Development) (Utrecht: Van Gorcum & Comp., l955), p. 77.
  5. ^ 1859 prices of 25¢ for shipping a barrel of flour by rail and 15¢ by water are cited in A. W. Currie, The Grand Trunk Railway of Canada (hereafter, Grand Trunk Railway) (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1957), p. 60.
  6. ^ H. A. Lovett, Canada and the Grand Trunk 1829-1924 (Montréal, 1924), p. 48.
  7. ^ The Grand Trunk Railway, The Guide (Port Hope), 11 August 1855, p. 2, discusses several of the rumours concerning the locating of the line.
  8. ^ A. W. Currie, Grand Trunk Railway, p. 101; G. Stevens, History of the Canadian National Railways (Toronto: MacMillan, l973), p. 135.
  9. ^ Stevens, History of the Canadian National Railways, p. 329.
  10. ^ Stevens, History of the Canadian National Railways, pp. 353, 370.
  11. ^ Stevens, History of the Canadian National Railways, p. 464; Christopher Andreae, Railways, in N. Ball, ed., Building Canada: A History of Public Works (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1987), p. 02.
  12. ^ Port Hope: Restored Grand Trunk Station, Acorn XI-1 (Spring 1986), p. 4.
  13. ^ Jim Leonard, Thomas Curtis Clarke, An Outstanding Civil Engineer from Port Hope, Ontario (hereafter, Clarke) (private, 1988), p. 8; Thomas Cruickshank, A Treasury of Early Homes in Port Hope (hereafter, Treasury) (Port Hope: Bluestone House Inc., 1987), p. 1.
  14. ^ Spelt, Urban Development, p. 103. Both feeders were preceded by the Ottawa & Prescott line, operating in 1854.
  15. ^ Elizabeth Bloomfield and Gerald Bloomfield, Urban Growth and Local Services: the development of Ontario municipalities to 1981 (Guelph: University of Guelph, 1983), p. 63.
  16. ^ Prospects of Port Hope, Port Hope Guide, 11 October 1856, p. 1.
  17. ^ Cruickshank, Treasury, pp. 1-6. Port Hope, Port Hope Guide, 30 August 1856, credits Betts in a report credited to The Globe (no date).
  18. ^ The Weekly Guide, Port Hope Guide, 6 September 1856, p. 2.
  19. ^ W. Arnot Craick, Little Tales of Old Port Hope (Port Hope: The Guide Publishing Co. Ltd., 1966), p. 40. The Guide, 1 November 1856, p. 1 noted, There was nothing very peculiar about its opening.
  20. ^ Thompson, The Grand Trunk Railway, p. 1.11.
  21. ^ Leonard, Clarke, p. 7, and passim.
  22. ^ Spelt, Urban Development, p. 151.
  23. ^ Spelt, Urban Development, p. 161.
  24. ^ Dianne Newell and Ralph Greenhill, Survivals: Aspects of Industrial Archaeoloqy in Ontario (hereafter Survivals (Erin Mills, Ontario: Boston Mills Press, 1989), p. 48.
  25. ^ Restoration architect Peter John Stokes, who located the Ducharmes Quarry in Québec for the project, confirmed this in conversation with the author, 29 October 1991.
  26. ^ A. Vaughan, A Pictorial Record of Great Western Architecture (Oxford: Oxford Publishing Company, 1977), p. 3.
  27. ^ Peter E. Baughan, A Regional History of the Railways of Great Britain : vol. XI North and Mid Wales (London: David & Charles, 1980), p. 22; James Hodges, Construction of the great Victoria Bridge in Canada (London: John Weale, 1860), does not mention Thompson anywhere in his pictorial folio, although the names of Stephenson, Ross, Hodges, and the contractors are prominently displayed on plates XXI, XXIIe, XXIII. Additional bridge information from Henry-Russell Hitchcock, Architecture: Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries (4th edn. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1987), pp. 110, 146.
  28. ^ O. F. Carter, Railway Thompson, Architectural Review vol. 143 (April 1968), p. 314. Reference courtesy Robert Hill. Carter's monograph on Thompson is expected to be published by the University of Toronto Press in 1992.
  29. ^ Thompson's Montréal work is cited by Robert Hill, compiler of the forthcoming The Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada, but his dates conflict with information presented by Thompson scholar Carter in Railway Thompson, p. 314. In recent correspondence of 1 November 1991 with this author, however, Carter indicates his indebtedness to Hill's research, and has apparently revised his chronology.
  30. ^ Improvements at Island Pond, Daily Transcript (Montréal), 25 September 1857, p. 2. Reference and general information on Thompson's biography by kind courtesy Robert Hill.
  31. ^ The Railway and Shipping World (December 1902), p. 403.
  32. ^ Ontario Archives Shanly Papers, MU 2701, Toronto and Guelph Railway—station drawing and freight shed, reference courtesy Shanly scholar Richard White. The drawing is on heavy, unmarked paper that is torn from a bound notebook, and numbered as if paginated.
  33. ^ Oliver F. Carter, ARIBA, 1 November 1991, in correspondence with the author.
  34. ^ JLA (Appendix 13), 1856.
  35. ^ Robert Stephenson, Railways: an Introductory Sketch, with Suggestions in Reference to their Extension to British Colonies (London, 1850), cited in R. Greenhill et al, Ontario Towns, Commerce, Industry and the Railway, n.p.
  36. ^ Daily Star (Cobourg), 18 January 1985.
  37. ^ Port Hope Times, 31 October 1877, cited in Port Hope Evening Guide, 24 March 1982, p. 5.
  38. ^ Local Items, Port Hope Guide, 15 November 1856, p. 1. The article occurred in the context of photographer, watercolourist and civil engineer William Armstrong visiting to take three photographs of the viaduct on commission for the GTR.
  39. ^ Newell and Greenhill, Survivals, p. 48.
  40. ^ GTR Betterments, Construction, Etc., Canadian Railway and Marine World (May 1910), p. 373.
  41. ^ The easement is dated 21 December 1987, Registration number 89413, in the Port Hope Land Registry Office No. 9. The citations are from Final Recital, p. 3, and 1.3, Demolition.


  1. Grand Trunk Railway (hereafter GTR) station, Port Hope, Ontario; constructed 1856, modified ca. 1881. Restoration completed 1985. View from north with eastbound train. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  2. GTR station, Port Hope, Ontario; view of south, lake side elevation with freight spur in front. (A. M. de Fort-Menares , 199 1. )

  3. Location of Port Hope, Ontario. (Railway Map of Southern Ontario, [Guelph: Clyde Publishing Ltd., (1984?)].)

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  4. Plan of the town of Port Hope, showing location of GTR/CNR station (Insurance Plan of Port Hope [Underwriters' Survey Bureau, 1955], plate 1.)

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  5. Plan of Port Hope in 1878, showing railway development. (Belden's Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Counties of Northumberland and Durham [1878, Belleville: Mika Silkscreening, 1972], p. 9.)

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  6. View of Port Hope harbour from the north with the GTR Prince Albert Viaduct ca. 1880. (Ontario Archives S14398.)

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  7. Port Hope Ont., taken from an aeroplane. 1919. The plane is directly over the station, which is below the bottom of the picture. (OA S 15124.)

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  8. GTR Port Hope station, restoration drawing by Alan Zeegen Associates, 1984, of west elevation showing arrowhead voussoirs . (courtesy Ken Rose, VIA Rail.)

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  9. GTR Port Hope station, detail of triangular bracket. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  10. GTR Port Hope station, south elevation and reconstructed east end with restored fenestration. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  11. GTR Port Hope station, north, town and track side elevation, with operator's bay and, at left, a replacement door. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  12. GTR Port Hope station, detail of a window on north elevation. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  13. Drawing for a Type C Second Class Wayside Station. The original standard design for GTR stations is attributed to English architect Francis Thompson. (OA, Shanlv Papers, MU 2701, Toronto & Guelph Drawings)

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  14. Conjectural plan of standard GTR station. (Dana Ashdown, Report Number 1: A Study of Canadian National's Heritage Railway Properties [Toronto: Heritage Branch, Ministry of Citizenship and Culture, 1985], figure 8.)

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  15. Rowsley station on the Manchester Buxton Matlock & Midlands Junction Railroad, 1849; Sir Joseph Paxton, architect. (G. Biddle and O. S. Nock. The Railway Heritage of Britain [London : Michael Joseph, 1983], p. 85.)

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  16. GTR Port Hope station, restored passenger waiting room. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)

  17. Plan of Port Hope station area in 1955; Lake Ontario shore at bottom. (Insurance Plan of Port Hope [Underwriters' Survey Bureau, 1955], p. 22.)

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  18. GTR Port Hope station, general view from north. (A. M. de Fort-Menares. 1991.)