The Huntsville Train Station Society|
President: Lucille Frith 705-789-8903
The Huntsville Train Station Society ● Our Train Station's History
Project Description ● Support Our Heritage, Become a Member!
The Huntsville Train Station Society:
The Huntsville Train Station Society (HTSS) was formed in 2002 from a group of concerned residents wishingto save the historic station buildings and site. A non-profitcorporation with Registered Charitable Status, we are dedicated to assisting the Town of Huntsville in the restoration of the 1924 train station and property. We will be partnering with various government and corporate entities for historicrepairs and renovations. This will be a very large partnershipof many groups - some providing grants, or gifts in kind oflabour and some simply donating money to save a peice of Huntsville's History.
Our Train Station's History:
Construction of the Northern and Pacific Junction Railway (N&PJ Railway) in 1885 connecting Gravenhurst to Callendar was the essential link in the steamship dominated transportation network of the Muskoka area. It triggered the construction of six saw mills and was successful with the loggers, farmers and tanning businnesses that became a principal industry in the Town of Huntsville. The Grand Trunk Railway built the two-storey timber station in the picture in 1886 after absorbing the N&PJ Railway.
In 1924 the newly created Canadian National Railway built the present train station to replace the 1866 building. At the turn of the century, 11 buildings were located in the yard, including the agent's house and stable, section dwellings andtool houses, a freight shed, roundhouse and water tower.
The heavy reliance of Huntsville industries on rail support in the first half of the twentieth centuryis evident in the landscape, but few significant rail customers remain today. As rail passenger travel declined over theyears, the station's internal configuration has been rearranged, reflecting the change in balance between passenger and operating requirements.
The 1924 freight shed is one of a few stillstanding in Canada. The interior will be renovated for office use.
The 2002 Huntsville Strategic Economic Development Plan included the Huntsville Train Station Society proposal for the revitalization of the CN Train Station and site. The three-phase project commenced with the acquisition of the CN station site in 2003.
Phase 1 of our project began with the acquisition of the CN station site in the summer of 2003. The Huntsville Train Station Society will provide volunteers, materials and funds to assist the Town of Huntsville to stabilize and restore the 1924 Huntsville Train Station buildings and site. This site is of historic significance in the Huntsville area as it was a major driving force in the economic development of the town. This plan includes the acquisition of any railroad equipment necessary to complete the site's historic environment.
Phase 2 will be the construction of a pedestrian walkway over the railroad tracks to connect Centennial Park on Main Street to the waterfront and trail system on Hunters Bay.
Phase 3 will be the construction of the original steamship dock located on Hunters Bay to create a landing opportunity for public and private boating on the local lakes, and how about skating in the winter?
Following the stabilization of the station and freight shed, the Train Station site will be developed into a Transportation Depot, complete with a comfortable passenger waiting area, washrooms, and lockers. Ontario Northland will provide bus and train services as well as Bus Parcel Express. Northern Airport Service will connect passengers with the Toronto Airport and Huntsville Transit will provide local connecting service. The original operator's office will be reconstructed to provide ticketing and tourism services.
The "Baggage Room", restored and open to the public, will contain historic displays, memorabilia and artifacts from train and steamship travel over the past 100 years. This will also be the location of the HTSS office.
The Largest partnership in the HTSS will be our members.
Membership in the society is open to everyone who shares the interest in preserving the history of the Town of Huntsville by restoring the Train Station Site. Two types of membership are available.
● Members-at-Large may simply express support by contributing an annual membership fee of $25 (tax deductable). Others may also volunteer a few hours to fund-raise, demolish walls, construct walls, build benches or landscape the site. HTSS newsletters mailed to members along with regular articles in the Forester will identify current volunteer opportunities. Short, project-oriented efforts of a few hours at a time will encourage participation of volunteers with limiuted time and unlimited talents. Members-at-large may attend members meetings and are eligible to vote. As well, they may be elected to the Board of Directors.