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Canadian Pacific Railway

West Toronto Yard

R.L.Kennedy

Map of Yard 1910
Goad's atlas

Toronto Junction yard 1907. Postcard view may actualy be much older. Chuckman's Photos

West Toronto Yard looking west along the ice house lead. (ice house behind camera) Coaling plant at right.
This undated photograph must have been taken in the Depression judging by the near-empty yard.
Canadian Pacific Archives 17819


Roundhouse and Back Shops

2644 4-6-0 MLW 96553 10/1909 (Renumbered 3/1913 D10f 844) November 28, 1911

The CVR roundhouse and car shops at Parkdale were built in the 1870's, following the beginning of construction in 1874 and the opening of the first portion of the line in 1877. They were soon to become inadequate to handle increasing traffic and this brought about the West Toronto shops and yard. (Parkdale shop remained in use until 1907). In 1891 a brick roundhouse was built with a rectangular machine shop and blacksmiths shop along the back of it. The roundhouse was later expanded to 32 stalls. A large 15 track erecting shop with a transfer table was added. Also built was a car shop, complete with a transfer table, making West Toronto the only location in Canada having two transfer tables, (these move laterally rather than in a circle as a turntable does.) The car shop was expanded handling both freight and passenger equipment. In later years a new coach shop was built at John Street and the West Toronto shops concentrated on freight and service equipment including rebuilding wooden vans.

The largest steam locomotives that could fit into West Toronto roundhouse were D-10's and these were soon replaced by bigger power for heavier freight trains. Prior to the Great War (World War I) a D-10 and 35 cars was a full-sized freight train. West Toronto yard was expanded, but this wasn't enough and a new yard was built (Lambton) adjacent and to the west of it, from Runnymede to Scarlett Road. A new larger (Lambton) roundhouse was built at Runnymede and St.Clair. It originally had 30 stalls and was later increased to 37, with others made longer to accommodate bigger power, including P2 class 2-8-2's.

West Toronto roundhouse continued in use for yard steam engines and later diesel yard switchers. In the early 1950's the newest portion of the roundhouse, a separate 11-stall section was no longer needed and was demolished. Stored in there had been a genuine 4-4-0, #30. It had been a spare engine for the old K&P, a light branch line and had last been used in 1949 in the movie Canadian Pacific staring Randolph Scott. Only three others remained on the roster, the famed trio of 29, 136 and 144, all destined for preservation.

The Erecting shop (a.k.a the Back Shop), performed medium overhaul work on steam locomotives, while Angus Shops in Montreal did major, heavy rebuild work. Angus also built brand new steam locomotives! The last steam engines repaired at West Toronto were: 807, 2332, 3607, 5116 and finally 1098, which left on June 29, 1957. Road diesels were maintained there for a short time, but the shop was loaned to the Engineering Dept. for Maintenance of Way machinery repair. The roundhouse was later used by the Bridge & Building Dept., and the Signals & Communications Dept. The turntable remained in use to turn diesels, both road and yard power, also the one track running through into the erecting shop, remained in place.


Ice house, viewed from the southeast. 1915-16
Canadian Pacific Archives A.3521

The ice house (for icing refrigerator cars) located near Keele Street was removed in 1928 following installation of a four hundred foot icing dock at the Lake Simcoe Ice plant on the North Toronto Sub.

Also located in West Toronto near the roundhouse shop tracks were the gas house, a small cement block building used by the Car Dept. to service heaters in insul boxes and reefers. As well as washout tracks where car interiors were cleaned by a contractor, Lauderdale Car Cleaners, who also did stock cars which were cleaned and manure loaded into old wooden gondolas at a small facility known as the Klondike. This was two short tracks with end ramp located on the northwest edge of the yard at Ethel and Dodds Aves. where West Toronto Street ends. Rubbish would be burned in open incinerators or shipped off to a railway dump, at one time there was one at the west end of Leaside yard but in the 1960-70's it went to Port Mc.Nicoll. Old wooden rolling stock was burned and scrapped at Scarboro Pit.


Keele Street

Street Scenes

Lambton station was closed in 1939. The Car Dept. building next to it was also closed. It is said part of the station was moved on a flat car and became the Keele Street yard office. (This MAY have been a World War II expansion of operations). This small wooden office was replaced in 1959 with a larger cement block building to accommodate Industrial Clerks and the Yardmaster. These clerks kept track of a new system of Car Control for local industries. There were Mobile Checkers who drove Morris Minors painted in CPR Tuscan Red with large CPR Freight emblems on the doors. This allowed clerks to check sidings, pick up Bills of Lading etc. from customers. This building was demolished after Toronto Yard opened.

There was a yardmaster at the east end Keele Street Yard Office overseeing the Ice House Lead Job, as well as the Local jobs that worked industries. A switchtender was located here every shift to let trains in and out of the yard. A switchmen's shack was located beside the Ice House Lead and was used by the yard foreman to telephone information up to the hump or talk with the Keele Street yardmaster.

New concrete block yard office at Keele Street is still under construction.
Railing to the right is the north west corner of subway underpass.
Old yard office is to the left, RIP track and wheel shop in the background.
The Ice House once stood near here, a little to the west by the back shops. R.L.Kennedy

Yard job with U3 class 0-6-0 6213 heads east from Keele Street to Lake Simcoe Ice on the
North Toronto Sub. to load up newer "Ashdown" cars with ice. CP 422969 is first car.
7/12/1947 Al Paterson

Note: Maple Leaf Mills at right, formerly, The Campbell Flour Mills and map of tracks 1912.

Map Toronto Junction industries September 1912 showing Keele St. industries and CPR freight shed.
Heintzman & Co. piano factory, Nordheimer Piano, Comfort Soap Works, The Campbell Flour Mills.
West Toronto Junction Historical Society archives.

Looking west along the Galt Subdivision towards Keele Street where the famed Heintzman piano factory was long located. Taken from Old Weston Road bridge. CPR West Toronto freight office and shed at left. Maple Leaf Milling at right.
August 4,1957 Toronto Public Library/J.V.Salmon Collection

A pig transfer eastbound (backing up) at Keele Street (likely from the Queensway)
to Parkdale Yard with 7022 and wooden van 436277. August 1974 Michael Taylor.

Note: A&P supermarket on former Heintzman piano factory site,
later became Canadian Tire store and now highrise condos



Story of the Ashdown Cars

West Toronto Shops

Diesel refueler truck
Shown at West Toronto

Packers 2005

Part 5

Back to Part 3



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