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Visiting Cobalt Station, Cobalt, Ontario: John M. Lyle's 1910 Building Serving Northern Ontario for 102 Years

Updated on April 14, 2020
Provincial flag of Ontario
Provincial flag of Ontario | Source
Old ONR Station, Colbalt
Old ONR Station, Colbalt | Source
Train Station - Cobalt
Train Station - Cobalt | Source

Over a century of service to Northern Ontario rail links

The design of architect John M. Lyle (1872-1945)(1), Colbalt's former station served rail links to Northern Ontario for 102, prior to its closure in 2012.

Features of the building — executed in brick — include an overhanging, curved roof and a conspicuous Flemish gable situated at the main platform entrance.

The station was administered by Ontario Northland (originally the Timiskaming and Northern Ontario Railway).

Services have been taken over by Ontario Northland Transportation Commission, a Crown Corporation which administers intercity bus services to the region.

Close to the station are some murals which depict local, historical scenes. Some military hardware is also on display.

I myself remember years ago, prior to the discontinuing of the Northland rail services, travelling to Northern Ontario by car along Highway 11 and seeing the relatively slow Ontario Northland train winding alongside the highway, since its course followed close to that of Highway 11 (and indeed predated it). Since the train was not particularly fast, it would run parallel to care for many kilometres.This sort of somewhat memorable scene is now a thing of the past.

Since the withdrawal of rail services to this and other Ontario Northland stations in 2012, instability in the Democratic Republic of Congo, where cobalt was traditionally mined more inexpensively, has meant that the mining of cobalt measures in Colbalt and district has become more economic again for companies involved in its extraction. However, with the rail infrastructure to Cobalt and elsewhere no longer available, it is doubtless too much for rail buffs to hope that rail passenger rail services would ever be resumed to this station.

Interestingly, prior to the opening of the rail service to the region in the early 20th century, the main passenger transport to the area was by boat, notably, the Meteor, which sailed on Lake Timiskaming.

The former station is situated at 22 Lang Street, Colbalt, in Ontario's Timiskaming District.

April 14, 2020


(1) Other works by Architect Lyle include: the Royal Military College Memorial Arch at Kingston, Ontario, the Royal Alexandra Theatre, Toronto and Whitney Hall at University College, Toronto; he also collaborated on work at Union Station, Toronto and at New York Public Libary Main Branch on Fifth Avenue, NYC; and many others.

Some sourcing: Wikipedia

Ontario Northland - overnight bus to the northland
Ontario Northland - overnight bus to the northland | Source

Also worth seeing

In Cobalt itself, the Cobalt Mining District is designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

In New Liskeard (distance: approx. 18.5 kilometres), the Little Claybelt Homesteaders' Museum has family history research facilities and various artifacts recalling local, pioneer days. A scenic waterfront at New Liskeard lies along the shore of Lake Temiskaming.

Devil's Rock , near Haileybury, Ontario (distance: approx. 7.9 kilometres) is an awe-inspiring rock outcrop, which overlooks Lake Temiskaming.

Notre-Dame-du-Nord , Quebec (distance: approx. 43.1 kilometres); another vacation spot on Lake Temiskaming, with a fossil centre museum and 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, take Highway 11 north to Cobalt. Some facilities may be withdrawn without notice. Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.

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

Map location of Cobalt, Ontario
Map location of Cobalt, Ontario | Source

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