Figure 1: CPR Staff Houses, First (now Talbot) Street, 1914
In 1912 the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) moved its 5 steamship fleet from Owen Sound to its newly constructed lake port and railhead at Port McNicoll.
People came from everywhere to work as transient labour or to build their lives here. Settlers included CPR families moved from Owen Sound and other terminals. Chinese labourers came to help construct the facilities.
Figure 2: Curling before Grain Elevator
Italian stevedores came from Depot Harbour and elsewhere to work in the freight sheds and the grain elevator. Locals came from family farms or the dying lumber industry.
Figures 3 and 4: Development Plans for Victoria Heights
Land speculators and other civic boosters hoped to see the area become the “Chicago of the North”. The advertisements promote “Victoria Heights” which was never developed.
The way of life in Port McNicoll centred on the railhead, harbour and the magnificent ships. Many CPR buildings and company houses, built by the CPR for senior staff members, were painted in “CPR red”.
Figure 5: On First Street, 1920s
The former CPR staff houses at 365, 367, 379, 381, 387, 389, 393 and 395 Talbot Street (formerly First Street) are Edwardian in style, copied from similar workhouses in the United States. All of the homes have been heavily renovated since their original construction; as a result very little except the basic architecture remains the same as the original structure.
For more detail on Tay heritage sites visit https://taytownshipheritage.wordpress.com
Bourrie, Mark – Chicago of the North: A History of Port McNicoll, The Port McNicoll Historical Society, 1993
Facebook Page: Port McNicoll Gateway to he North: http://www.facebook.com/groups/61683315861/
Haskill, Mary – Nosing into the Past, Life and Times in Huronia, Huronia Museum, 2002
Tay Township Heritage blog https://taytownshipheritage.wordpress.com
Tay Township Heritage Committee http://www.tay.ca/en/your-municipality/tay-heritage-committee.asp
Toronto Public Library http://www.virtualreferencelibrary.ca/search