Visiting the Railroad Station at Temagami: welcoming Canadians to Northern Ontario for more than a century

Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Railroad Station, Temagami
Railroad Station, Temagami | Source
Map location of Temagami municipality
Map location of Temagami municipality | Source

Memories of a picture postcard attraction?

This fine building in Temagami, Ontario, noted for its solidity and balanced design, was opened in 1907.

Some history and features

The original sponsoring company was the Temiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway. A feature for which the station was formerly noted was its enormous ceiling, sometimes even compared to that of a cathedral. However, as an energy-saving measure, a false ceiling was added in the 1940s.

Another interesting, former characteristic of the building was that an area now used for storage was reserved as a ladies' waiting room. (If the metamorphosis of this area is suggestive of some kind of subliminal social comment, I am nevertheless unqualified to articulate any!)

The building, with its pointed gable incorporating wood panelling and pronounced, overhanging eaves, reminds me of an Alpine chalet, receiving never ending streams of visitors seeking rest and fine scenery. (In the final analysis, who is to say that the station has not for many years been doing exactly this?) Certainly, with the profusion of snow for several months of the year, the building offers photogenic, picture postcard scenes as a significant local landmark.

The edifice as a whole effuses a sense of firmness and monumentality redolent of a receded pre-World War One era.

With the announced closure in 2012 of Ontario Northlander rail services, its future, at least as a strictly railroad station, seems in doubt. The railroad company, however, has often supplemented its activities with bus services, and the latter activity is likely to continue, in one form or another. The line's heyday is clearly past, but there is record of the northern trains, in their day, cutting an impressive sight. Stephen Leacock could write of the pre-World War One Colbalt Express and 'the long row of Pullmans and diners of the night express going north to the mining country, the windows flashing with brilliant light, and within them a vista of cut glass and snow-white table linen' (1).

Buses are doubtless more economic for this part of Ontario, but memories of the trains will continue to inspire rail buffs!

A Trust and a business are active in keeping the building preserved and open — free of charge. Model railroad kits and souvenirs are available from the building.

Its address is Highway 11 (West Side), Temagami, Ontario.

October 1, 2012

Note

(1) Stephen Leacock, qu. in: Robert Bothwell, A Short History of Ontario , Edmonton: Hurtig Publishers, Ltd., 1986, p. 109

Also worth seeing

In Temagami itself, its lakeside Welcome Centre and boat and bushplane berths attract many visitors.

Notre-Dame-du-Nord , Quebec (distance: 85 kilometres) is another popular vacation centre, situated on Lake Temiskaming, which holds an annual Truck Rodeo (French: Rodéo du Camion ).

...

How to get there: Air Canada flies from Toronto Pearson Airport to North Bay Airport, where car rental is available. From North Bay (distance: 98.7 kilometres), take Highway 11 north to Temagami . Lakeland Airways flies charter packages to Temagami and district. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. You are advised to check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.

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