Toronto's Historical Plaques
2004 - Now in our 10th Year - 2014
Local Rail and Infrastructure Heritage
Photo by the City of Toronto - Posted September, 2011
Photo and transcription by contributor Wayne Adam - Posted September, 2011
Attached to this westbound St. Clair Avenue West transit shelter at Caledonia Road is this City of Toronto plaque. Here's what it says:
Plaque coordinates: 43.675339 -79.455023
George Cooper donated land for Davenport Station, located at Davenport Road on Station Street (now, Caledonia Park Road) for Ontario's first railway, Ontario, Simcoe & Huron. The first passenger train operated over this line from downtown Toronto to Machell's Corners (Aurora) in 1853.
Sometimes referred to as Oats, Straw & Hay, farmers were able to transport their crops to various regions. Though rail provided local employment, the industry went through booms and busts. OS&H became Northern Railway of Canada (1858), Grand Trunk Railway (1888) and then was taken over by the federal government's Canadian National Railways in 1923.
Rail also influenced great improvements in civil engineering, especially bridges and tunnels. CNR built an elevated crossing over St. Clair Avenue West in 1931 at the same time replacing Davenport Station with St. Clair Station. The bridge was built to the latest technology at the time, fixed-frame reinforced concrete and it was completed in 72 hours! St. Clair Station was used until 1982 before being lost to fires and neglect.
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Alan L Brown