Across the road from the CN Tower is the Toronto Railway Museum, the extant remnant of the Toronto Railway lands based around the Canadian Pacific’s (CP) John Street Roundhouse.
Strictly speaking the museum is in stall 17, with a furniture store in the lower numbered stalls and the Steam Whistle brewery in the higher number stalls. As we were visiting on a Tuesday, the museum was closed so only the external exhibits were visible, and the miniature railway was not operating. Despite this there was quite a bit to see.
The Toronto Railway Historical Association was established in 2001 with the aim of creating a museum based around the John Street Roundhouse. Working with the City of Toronto this aim was achieved with the opening of the museum on 2010.
The first thing to catch your eye when crossing the road from the CN Tower is Canadin National Railway 4-8-4-steam locomotive 6213 next to the coaling stage.
Although most of the roundhouse is now devoted to commercial purposes, some of the tracks are still in position, and the major feature of a roundhouse, a turntable in is position. The turntable has been in position since 2007, having been removed in the 1990s during development in the area.
Originally the Railway Lands were crossed by roads. These rail and road crossing were control by watchman based in shanty huts. These were normally located on top of poles to give the occupant a clear view. The shanty in the museum grounds is a at a lower level enabling a glimpse inside.
As road traffic increase grade separated crossings (bridges) were built and ultimately these huts were dispensed with, culminating with the viaduct into Union Station in the 1930s.
A feature of all roundhouses is a water tower. The John Street tower still exists, painted in the colours of the Steam Whistle brewery. As well as providing water for the steam locomotives, the tower also supplied the carriage washing plant.