Roundhouse Park at the Toronto Railway Museum features historic structures including the Don Station, Cabin D and a Watchmen’s Shanty as well as a carefully curated collection of restored, full-sized railway equipment. The park is at 255 Bremner Blvd in Downtown Toronto.
Built by Canadian Pacific Railway in 1896, the station was located on the south side of Queen St and on the west side of the Don River. It was built for the convenience of passengers, so they didn’t have to go to Union Station. It closed in 1967 and was moved to Todmorden Mills. After 40 years, the Don Station was relocated to Roundhouse Park.
Built in 1890 by Grand Trunk Railway, this interlocking tower controlled signal lights and track switches. Cabin D had switch tenders who rushed around to manually position the tracks near the Bathurst St bridge and Front St W. This old-fashioned method was used at this location until the 1980s.
The first watchman’s shanty was located at Queen St W in 1885 where the street and rail crossing intersected. The watchmen were employees of the rail company who had been injured on the job and needed less physical work. The watchmen would see trains approaching, climb down the 4.6 m or 15 ft tower and manually lower gates to protect pedestrians and vehicles.
Locomotives, Freight & Passenger Cars
There are many beautifully restored pieces at the park including 1917 Fowler Boxcar, 1920 Caboose, 1906 Porter 0-4-0 Fireless Locomotive, 1967 GO Transit cab car, Pyke Crane and more.
The Canadian National Northern 4-8-4 steam locomotive was built in 1942 by the Montreal Locomotive Works company and used for passenger and freight service. During its 17-year career, the iron-horse travelled over one million miles between Saskatchewan and Nova Scotia. The locomotive was donated to the City in 1960, displayed at Exhibition Place then moved to Roundhouse Park in 2009.
The Toronto Railway Museum
Visitors can walk around Roundhouse Park to admire the vintage locomotives and trains as well as the historic railway structures, all free of charge. For those wishing to take a guided tour of the park or for admittance into the Toronto Railway Museum located inside the historic John Street Roundhouse, tickets can be purchased. Visit Toronto Railway Museum for more details.