Ontario Railway Station Museums
Brighton ex GTR
Huntsville & Lake of Bays
Owen Sound CNR
Smiths Falls ex CNoR (Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario)
Stations as part of larger or other museums, or tourist railways
When the vast majority of Ontario communities lost their railway stations during the general abandonment of passenger service in the mid-20th century, most were demolished, many became private homes or sheds, some became restaurants or B&Bs, a few were retained by the railways in maintenance or operating capacities; many were put to civic use such as for a community or seniors' centre, library, art gallery, museum, tourist information office, chamber of commerce; or were/are in a succession or combination of such uses that may also have changed over time. Some, while serving in another capacity, have gone out of their way to retain some recognition of the building's former purpose, although they may not be, or may not describe themselves, as a "museum".
Others have become part of a tourist railway operation or are part of county or community museums with a wider focus than railway history, so are not "railway museums" as such, but have been preserved, and usually demonstrate some railway history, to illustrate the contribution the railway made to the community and the function of the station as a social hub in an age when the station was also a primary communication link with the outside world.
This record is anecdotal, often with a "snapshot" in a given point of time. It is not intended to be a catalog of surviving stations and the use to which they have been put, nor is it intended to be a directory of places to be visited with opening days and hours, but where there are additional sources of such information, this information will link it. Nor does this webpage set out to list and describe railway museums that are not housed in a station, such as at Toronto, Ottawa, Niagara, Fort Erie or St. Thomas. Additional contributions, corrections, suggestions and updates are certainly welcomed.
This commodious station has been jacked up on its original location to provide for a new and lasting foundation. The station consists of a former large general waiting room (now the local chamber of commerce office), the former agent's office (now the reception area), and a substantial baggage/freight room that now houses the Bancroft Gem & Mineral Club Mineral Museum. Mining was the original major commercial reason for the railway to come to Bancroft and area in the first place. The station's original major design features have been faithfully retained, including the tin ceiling of the waiting room - a feature commonly reminiscent of old-time department and village grocery stores, but somewhat rare in stations.
A small community memento of its railway past. The station is now a welcome centre and a railway museum. Not far away is the surviving water tank, and there is also a caboose on a nearby plinth that is being worked on.
BRIGHTON (Memory Junction Railway Museum)
The Wikipedia link above provides some additional background information to this interesting combination "railway-local history-agriculture" museum. It is situated in and around one of the original remaining 1857-plus Grand Trunk Railway mainline stations through southern Ontario, its additional distinction being that while the others were built with limestone, this one was built with brick. I visited the Brighton station when it was still in service in the early 1960s, and did not see it again until a decade ago, when I came to visit what is now the privately-owned museum in the station (still in its original location but fenced off from the continuous rail traffic) and the grounds. The railway history component is by far the largest of the three, and the outside equipment artifacts are an important component of the visit experience.
Note: This museum is now closed, and its future appears uncertain. Its largest outdoor attraction, CNR Consolidation-type locomotive #2534 has been sold, and has been moved away. The owners, Mr. and Mrs. Bangay, are getting on in years. They would like to sell the property and inventory. Anyone interested in discussing this with them is invited to give them a call at 613.475.0379.