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Canadian Pacific Railway

Toronto Division


Railway lines in Toronto 1954 Click map to enlarge

Map of the City of Toronto 1834 and Annexations to 1914

A Brief History of the City of Toronto.

The Toronto Division was created October 26,1969. It consisted of the former Toronto Terminals Division, and the Trenton Division, except for the Belleville Subdivision beyond Mileage 172.8 just east of Oshawa (M.174.2). The Mac Tier, and Port McNicoll Subdivisions, as well as the Havelock Subdivision and its branch the Nephton Subdivision, were all included in the Trenton Division by this time. The Smiths Falls Division included the Belleville Subdivision from Mileage 172.8 to its beginning in Smith’s Falls, plus other eastern subdivisions.

The Toronto Terminals had once consisted of the Don branch of the Oshawa Subdivision between Leaside and Toronto Union Station; the Galt Subdivision from there to Obico where it connected with the Canpa Cut-off which was also part of the Terminal; and the North Toronto branch between Leaside and West Toronto. All were named as Toronto Terminals Subdivision and were part of the Bruce Division. Effective with the April 29th, 1951 employee time table the Toronto Terminals Division was created and included the above mentioned tracks plus that portion of the Oshawa Subdivision between Leaside and Agincourt; the Galt Subdivision between Obico and Cooksville; and the MacTier Subdivision between the West Toronto Diamond and Emery.

The Ontario District was eliminated and effective July 1, 1959. The Bruce Division was absorbed into the Trenton Division, (except for the Bruce Branches around Orangeville which were transferred to the London Division.)

Effective July 1,1959 eight Districts across the system were eliminated. The Ontario District had been made up of the Bruce, Trenton, and London Divisions. In turn the Ontario District was part of the Eastern Region, comprising the New Brunswick District, Quebec District, Ontario District and Algoma District. Note: In the Fall of 1916, "Divisions" and "Districts" had exchanged designations all across the system.

Eastern Lines and Western Lines, were replaced, effective August 19,1947, by Pacific Region, Prairie Region and Eastern Region, which reported directly to system Headquarters. Later, the Atlantic Region was created although it was absorbed back into the Eastern Region effective August 1, 1984.

The various Divisions have Sub-Divisions (S.D.), in later years abbreviated as: Sub., which are the actual main and branch lines themselves. Yard tracks, spurs and private sidings are all part of a Subdivision but designated separately.

Note: The London Division was combined with the Toronto Division October 27,1991.

Note: The descriptions that follow are based upon the late 1950's - mid-1960's pre-CTC pre-hump yard.

Operating Department

A General Superintendent oversaw the Terminal as well as the Superintendents of the Bruce and Trenton Divisions. A number of Assistant Superintendents, along with the General Yardmasters, their shift Assistants and shift Yardmasters ran the Terminal. A Master Mechanic oversaw the Division Master Mechanics, General Locomotive Foremen and General Car Foremen, who in turn had their own Assistants. (Shop Foreman) Engineers and Firemen came under the Master Mechanic as did the Road Foreman of Engines and the Travelling Firemen, while Conductors and Trainmen were under the Superintendents.

An Assistant Superintendent was on duty each shift as the ranking officer of the Operating Department, and was the man most often seen on site.

The Dispatching Office was located upstairs in Union Station. The Chief Train Dispatcher (or, a shift chief) and three dispatchers each shift looked after train movements. These were the Bruce and Trenton Division dispatchers as well as the Terminal Supervisor, who in turn issued train orders through Operators at Lambton Yard Office, various stations and towers both in the Terminal and along the various subdivisions.
Agent-operators, Operators, Assistant Agents and Levermen all came under the Chief Dispatcher.

Passenger trains starting out of the Union would get a clearance and orders from the TTR operator. West Toronto Depot would issue further orders to Northbound and Westbound trains.

Freight trains would get a clearance and orders at Lambton yard office, then a clearance and further orders at West Toronto Diamond Tower for Northbound trains, while Eastbound trains got their further orders at Agincourt Station. Leaside would issue a few orders to Eastbounds as necessary. Parkdale, Don, Islington, Weston and Cooksville seldom issued orders, but all were staffed by operators though not on all shifts.

There were two General Yardmasters in the Toronto Terminals, one at Lambton Yard and one at the Coach Yard, the latter also responsible for Parkdale. Assistant General Yardmasters worked shifts and weekends. Lambton required four yardmasters per shift, plus the General/Ast.General. Parkdale and the Coach yard each had one yardmaster per shift. Secondary yards came under the responsibility of one or the other GYM's. Yardmen (switchmen) were under the General, as he was called, (amongst other things!), as were train crews when within the yard.

Lambton, West Toronto and John Street each rated a General Locomotive Foreman as well as a General Car Foreman.

Dispatching of engine, train and yard crews was handled by Crew Clerks and Call Boys. Once located in yard offices and shops at Lambton and John Street, in late 1956 a (Central) Calling Bureau was located above West Toronto Depot (Station).

Department of Maintenance of Way and Structures, later known as the Maintenance of Way Department is responsible for all track repairs as well as all structures including stations, yard offices, roundhouses, shops and shacks alike. A Division Engineer was under the (Division) General Superintendent although heeding to instructions from the District Engineer on engineering matters.

Under the Division Engineer were the various Roadmasters, plus the Bridge and Building (B&B) Master and the Signal Supervisor, the latter responsible for train signals and crossing protection signals. Under the roadmasters came the many Section Foremen, the actual men in charge of doing track maintenance and repairs.

Toronto Union Station, owned by the Toronto Terminal Railway, itself owned 50/50 by GTR/CNR and CPR, was the location of Division, District and Region offices. It was here employees were "called on the carpet" to explain yourself and be dealt with for serious offenses. Lesser matters were handled at local offices. All involved assesment of demerit marks, "Brownies", against your record which could lead to dismissal. None were pleasant! The expression, called on the carpet, referred to the fact these offices had a carpet in them unlike yard offices and other lower level places. By the 1990's reorganization and downsizing along with sale of Union Station to the City of Toronto caused these offices to be moved or closed.

Lots of bosses, nothing but bosses some would say! That was sure the way it looked to me when I started out as a call boy! In fact it was a joke when trying to assess fault for something, "How can we blame the call boy for that?" The section men suffered this indignity too! In other words, get the blame shoved as far down the ladder as possible.

The organization and job titles shown above and below was in effect in the 1950's and although this was good enough to run the railway for about 100 years, Canadian Pacific like a lot of other companies in the 1980's decided to (some would say, fell victim to) reinventing the wheel and began what was to become an ongoing downsizing, reorganization and constant upheaval of departments, responsibilities and ever-changing job titles, not all of which was beneficial. Yet, in spite of all this, they must be doing something right since Canadian Pacific Railway continues to prosper and to pay dividends!

Other Departments

The Traffic Department was responsible for setting freight and passenger rates and through their Marketing and Sales representatives, who also worked with local station agents, solicting freight business. It would also deal with interline matters, that is freight rates and routing over other railways to and from points.

General Freight Agent was the title of the Officer in charge of originating and terminating carload freight plus LCL (Less than Car Load) freight at Simcoe Street Shed a.k.a. King St. shed, (62 Simcoe Street), plus the other sheds. Station Agents came under the Freight Agent, but train order operators and towermen were under the Chief Train Dispatcher. Yard Agent was the top person at Lambton Yard Office over the clerks, but he himself was under the GYM (General Yardmaster).


City Ticket Office, 69 Yonge Street.

C.P.R. Building Yonge and King Streets
Toronto Public Library Virtual Reference Library

Recent photo 2021 Current owner converting into condos! NEW

General Passenger Agent was the man in charge of and therefore responsible for such things as ticket clerks and reservation clerks at Union Station and the City office located in downtown Toronto at 69 Yonge Street on southeast corner of King Street East, completed in 1913 it was the tallest building (15 stories) in the British Empire. This record did not last long. A new building was erected in 1916 on the northeast corner at 2 King Street East. British American Oil moved their headquarters here. Several foreign roads had their offices here for freight and passenger traffic solicitation. A smaller number were scattered elsewhere including at Union Station. On the opposite corner (north west) of King and Yonge Streets was for many years the city ticket office of Canadian National Railways first occupied by predecessor Grand Trunk Railway System. The CPR later closed its offices and sold off the building in 1988. Note: The intersections of Yonge and King Streets and Yonge and Queen Streets were the first two places where on March 10, 1927 the first automatic traffic signals were operated. Others were controlled by a police officer with a portable, manual signal some of which remained in use for many more years. Dundas Street West and Scarlett Road next to Lambton Yard still had one in 1950's! Where else can you recall one? Got a photo? CONTACT US!

Station Agents were the original "multi-taskers" representing all departments with the public including passenger ticket sales and reservations, telegram sending and receiving, express and LCL shipments, weighed, sent and received, freight rate quotes and ordering freight cars for shippers, billing and collecting payment for all of these services including depositing cash and cheques in the bank. In earlier years money was sent in special envelopes sealed with wax bearing an impression to headquarters in Montreal. In addition to all of this he would also handle written orders to train crews assisted by operator at busier locations and on often on other shifts. Some stations would have one or more assistant agents who would do office tasks and other work such as checking shipments being loaded, sealing car doors and checking car numbers in business tracks at the station.

System Headquarters

While the District level fits between the Division and the System Headquarters, certain functions are at System level. These would include such overall "heads" as Chief of Motive Power and Car Department (later, Chief of Motive Power and Rolling Stock), Chief of Transportation, and Chief Engineer. There was also a Superintendent of Motive Power and Rolling Stock, Eastern Lines and another for Western Lines. The Traffic Department headed the Passenger Traffic Manager and Freight Traffic Manager. System positions included, Accounting Department, Purchasing Department (Stores), Medical Services, Time Service, and of course the Railway Police, which is a Federal police force. Note: West Toronto shops were a System facility.

Eastern Lines headquarters were moved from Montreal to Toronto (Room 356, Union Station) May 1, 1937.

Subsidiary Companies


Lambton yard office May 27, 1956 Click to read detailed caption
Toronto Public Library (TRL) J.V.Salmon Collection S 1-3571A

YARDS: The main freight marshalling yard was the combined Lambton/West Toronto yard, which handled freight trains to and from all points in Canada and the United States. The other most important yard was Parkdale, which marshalled fast merchandise trains to Sudbury, Vancouver and Montreal. Only a Montreal originated merchandise train arrived at Parkdale. Regular transfers operated between Parkdale and Lambton and both yards originated many local jobs to switch industries.

Smaller yards were located at Leaside*, Obico*, Fez City*, Bloor & Dundas (Hill)*, North Toronto* and the John Street Coach Yard. Along with the Toronto Harbour Commission's joint yards at Keating St, Rees Street and Spadina. *= No yard office.

SHEDS (inc. Team Tracks): Simcoe Street (a.k.a. King Street) included a crane and ramp. Parkdale. Cherry Street. West Toronto included a crane. North Toronto, Leaside, Lambton, Queensway, John Street (pre:1927)

EXPRESS: Canadian Pacific Express Company (formerly, Dominion Express Co.) had a large shed at King Street next to the freight shed along the south side of King St.W. between Simcoe and John Streets. Other buildings were at Union, Parkdale and West Toronto stations, while still other locations handled express in the station building express room.

TEAM TRACKS: Lambton (Jane St.), West Toronto, Osler St., Dufferin St., Shaw St., North Toronto. Rogers Road, Weston (inc. a depressed ramp at Oak St.) Parkdale, Liberty St., Mowat Ave., Wabash Ave., Bloor St. Toronto (King St. inc. Peter St. auto ramp and horse platform), Cherry St. George St. Parliament St. Eighth St. Wickman Road, Islington, Dixie, Cooksville. Leaside, Ashtonbee, Agincourt.

Lambton roundhouse c.1935 Paterson-George Collection

SHOPS: Lambton roundhouse. West Toronto roundhouse and Erecting Shop, also car shops and rip track. John Street roundhouse, coach shop. Proposed: Leaside, Obico.

STATIONS: Union, Parkdale, West Toronto, Islington, Cooksville, Don, Leaside, Agincourt, North Toronto, Weston, Sunnyside.

Private Sidings 1926


Lambton Yard which got its name from the little village of Lambton Mills, was the main freight marshalling yard and included West Toronto Yard located in the "Junction", which in turn got its name from the railway junction of several lines. It stretched from the Diamond past Old Weston Road (overpass bridge), Keele Street, Runnymede Road, Jane Street and Scarlett Road, all subway underpasses, almost as far as the Humber River.

West Toronto Yard replaced the original Parkdale yard, (located on the eastside of Dufferin Street, between King and Queen Streets), of the Credit Valley Railway, which the C.P.R. had taken over through its subsidiary Ontario & Quebec Ry. The O&Q had recently arrived in (West) Toronto Junction from the east via Perth, Havelock, Peterboro and Agincourt. The Credit Valley ran from Toronto to Woodstock and St.Thomas connecting there with the Canada Southern Ry. (CASO) for the U.S.A. Later the CPR built a line from Woodstock through London and Chatham to Windsor connecting there with the Michigan Central and Pere Marquete into the United States. The CVR also had a branch from Streetsville to Orangeville.

Prior to Ontario & Quebec leasing the Toronto, Grey & Bruce in 1883, the TG&B in 1871 had leased the former Ontario, Huron & Simcoe engine shop with enclosed turntable, freight house and track from Queen's Wharf, a public dock built in 1833 before railways, (south and east of Front & Bathurst) to Parkdale. This track ran through what later became Fez City, crossed the GTR/CNR at Cabin E, just west of Strachan Ave. past Hinde & Dauch at Parkdale, parallel and to the east of the CNR's Newmarket Sub. (old OS&HU Ry), through West Toronto and Weston to Bolton, and Orangeville. In later years the portion between Parkdale (but not connected) and West Toronto diamond was a service track to switch industries and was referred to as the Old Bruce. The connection to the MacTier Sub. at the Diamond was altered to connect on the south side of the North Toronto Sub. across Osler St. eliminating some diamond work. West Toronto Interchange was located off this service track opposite West Toronto Depot next to Viceroy Rubber. It was closed in June 1986 due to CN having problems with multi-level auto carriers negotiating sharp curvature.

The CVR roundhouse and car shops 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.

Parkdale roundhouse and shop remained in use until 1907. The yard was rebuilt and remained in use for local industrial switching as the downtown area required a large number of yard jobs to service freight sheds and industries. It was expanded between King Street and Strachan Avenue, to handle marshalling of freight trains. The Galt Sub., which ran past Parkdale, handled westbound passenger trains to London and Windsor along with northbound passenger trains to Northern Ontario and Western Canada.

Parkdale top yard was built with all stub-end tracks ending against Dufferin Street. Many tracks were for storage of "hold" cars, many waiting to clear customs; others served a freight shed, team tracks and industries. The main portion of the yard was built on a grade and required a rider to tie hand brakes on every car being switched. Each shift had an extra yardman, (known as a rider), to help with this work. Jobs working out of Parkdale switched industries, sheds and team tracks at Parkdale, Cherry Street, Ashbridges Bay, Queen's Wharf, Mimico, and New Toronto.

LCL and Pool Cars

King Street

The area known as the "Hill" (so named for being on a slight upgrade), belonged to Parkdale, and was located north of Parkdale Station. A Service track, on the west side of the double-track Galt Sub. main line gave access to some industries, and included Bloor Yard at Bloor and Dundas Streets, about half way between Parkdale and West Toronto. It featured several stub-end tracks including a team. At one time a single 12-hour shift worked the yard with a Parkdale crew.

Decades ago there were just two shifts in yard service, Days was 13 hours and Nights was 11 hours, the difference taking into consideration having to work in the dark. Lead jobs all worked 7 days a week! No time off! Industrial and a few others worked 6 days per week. There wasn't even such a thing as paid annual vacation until the unions negotiated it.

Parkdale and Coach Yard switchmen were once separate from Lambton men, and in fact some hand and lamp signals were different between the two areas. By the 1950's they had been combined. Engineers and Firemen were all the same seniority and had to contend with those different signals.

Cherry Street shed and team tracks, were a secondary LCL shed. Pool cars were loaded at Cherry Street, along with other traffic. Interchange tracks handled local cars.

George Street had a small team track area and included an office building. It was next to the Esplanade team tracks, a joint area for perishables beside a food terminal, located in an old (1866) GWR passenger station shed and known as the Toronto Fruit Terminal. This building burned down May 17,1952 and was replaced by the new Ontario Food Terminal, which featured a large team track area. It was located on the CNR between Swansea and Mimico, in a joint switching area. The Esplanade had been the original eastern entry to Union Station before construction of the High Level. It became a dead-end at Yonge Street, used to reach local industries and as a team track area.

Cherry and George Streets, as well as Ashbridges Bay and the East Wharf were all reached via Union Station while Leaside was reached via the Don Branch.

Toronto Harbour Commission (est. May 19,1911) property included, Ashbridges Bay, the East Wharf and Queen's Wharf areas. The largest yard was Keating Street, a joint yard serving the Ash Bay and East Wharf. Rees Street yard was a small stub-end yard located south of John Street Roundhouse, (but at lake level), it was reached via the wharf lead out of Parkdale which was actually the old TG&B! The THC did not have any crews of its own, instead the CPR and CNR divided up various areas to keep out of each others way and switched them handling the other railway's cars without a formal interchange. The TTR was contracted to maintain THC trackage.

The Toronto Terminals Railway, owned jointly (50/50) by the C.N.R and C.P.R. included Union Station in downtown Toronto, along with towers controlling the trackage connecting various lines, but had no locomotives or train crews of its own. Nearby were the C.P.R.'s John Street Coach Yard and roundhouse, while slightly to the west was the C.N.R's Spadina roundhouse and coach yard. Toronto was one of only three cities in Canada with a passenger roundhouse, where only passenger locomotives were maintained along with yard engines for passenger and freight switching, but no road freight engines. (CNR Spadina, while mainly a passenger roundhouse, did dispatch some freight engines). The only other passenger roundhouses were the Glen in Montreal and Drake Street in Vancouver both C.P.R. The TTR employed Red Caps, baggage handlers and other staff but the ticket clerks worked for either the C.P.R or C.N.R as did the train dispatchers, however the operators were TTR staff. Signalmen and section men also worked for the TTR along with a small office staff, all of which was managed by one official appointed for a 5-year period on an alternating basis from each owner railway. TTR also contracted to maintain trackage belonging to the Toronto Harbour Commission (see below).


Three types of telephones were used for communications within yards and between points in the Terminal. Ancient magneto crank telephones on a single "clothesline", dispatchers' carrier phones; both party lines and both maintained by the CP Communications Dept.; as well as regular Bell telephones.

Rules governing trains Toronto Junction 1898
O&Q employee time table No.22 Ontario Division London Section

Two-Way Radio introduced in October 1946

Trains and crews

Yard Assignments 1954

General Ad 1982
Details of all yard and road jobs, including explanation of crewing.

The Terminal by Area

Oshawa Subdivision Mileage 109.1 Toronto (middle of Union Station) to Mileage 96.3 Agincourt.
Agincourt, Scarborough, Leaside, Don

North Toronto Subdivision Mileage 0.0 Leaside to Mileage 5.9 to West Toronto Diamond.

North Toronto

Cherry Street, George Street, Esplanade, Ashbridges Bay, East Wharf and Queen's Wharf.

Galt Subdivision Mileage 0.0 (middle of Union Station) to Mileage 3.8 Bloor Street.

Downtown Toronto aerial views etc.

Toronto Coach Yard

John Street Locomotive Department

John Street Piggyback Yard

King Street Shed etc. (same link as in text above)

Parkdale Circle Hill including Wharf Lead, Fez City and Sunnyside.

Swansea and OFT

MacTier Subdivision Mileage 0.0 West Toronto Diamond to Mileage 9.47 Emery.

West Toronto Diamond, Tremof, Mount Dennis, Weston and Emery

Galt Subdivision Mileage 3.8 Bloor Street to Mileage 15.0 Cooksville.

Old Bruce Service track (former Toronto, Grey & Bruce mainline).

West Toronto, Lambton

Islington Queensway, Dixie and Cooksville

Canpa Subdivision "the Cut Off" Mileage .0 Obico to Mileage 2.6 Canpa included in above.

Lambton and West Toronto Yard

West Toronto Shops

Toronto Yard

Station Gallery

Time Tables



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