Visiting 470 Davis Drive, Newmarket, Ontario: late Victorian Carpenter Gothic for the former Grand Trunk Railway
Throwback to travel in the Victorian era
This simple but striking one storey, Stick style structure is sometimes referred to as being an example of Carpenter Gothic, not least because of the prolific use of wood in the buildings prominent eves. The building is situated at 470 Davis Drive, in Ontario's town of Newmarket, in the Province's York region.
Formerly the station belonging to the Grand Trunk Railway, the structure now houses Newmarket's Chamber of Commerce.
Although the coming of the railroad to Newmarket predated this former station building by almost 50 years, the structure is now well over 100 years old, dating from 1900, still in late Victorian times. The original company which sponsored the railroad to Newmarket in 1853 was the Ontario, Simcoe and Lake Huron Union Company Railway. This Company was subsequently purchased by the Grand Trunk Railway, which was also responsible for this building. Other companies which later used the building are the Canadian National Railway and GO Transit.
A Member of Parliament once even used this structure as a somewhat grand constituency office.
Conspicuous features include a gable dormer with decorative vergeboards, above a bay window, and three chimneys (1).
An interesting insight into social attitudes in Victorian times is seen in the fact that separate waiting rooms were available for men and women.
The building is virtually unchanged since Victorian times and one could imagine that one were on the set of a period film backdrop, were it not sometimes for the presence of Maple Leaf flags (with the design dating from 1965) instead of the British flag or the Red Ensign.
Albeit from another building, a passenger railroad still runs to Newmarket, but, as in many Canadian localities and destinations in the Western world generally, the proportion of rail services has been supplemented greatly by bus services over a number of decades. This building does give one a sense, however, of the heyday of rail in the Victorian era.
The building has been given Municipal Heritage Designation and is recognized under in the Ontario Heritage Act.
May 30, 2015
(1) See also: http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9225
Also of interest
Also worth seeing
In Newmarket itself, other historical attractions worth seeing include the North York Registry Office, dating from 1884 and the Pioneer Burying Ground at Eagle Street, dating from 1824, the Elman W. Campbell Museum and a number of striking church buildings.
How to get there: Air Canada, flies to Toronto Pearson Airport, with wide North American and other connections, from where car rental is available. Distance from Toronto Pearson Airport to 470 Davis Drive, Newmarket: 56.4 kilometres). The current GO Train station is located at nearby 465 Davis Drive, and links with Toronto Union Station and Allandale Waterfront and Barrie South. Please note that some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information. Please refer to appropriate consular sources for any special border crossing arrangements which may apply to citizens of certain nationalities.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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