Preservation: Canada Can-Do

Canada Can-Do


Ontario, Canada, thrived due to the railroads that crisscrossed the region in the 1800s. At one point, about 3,000 train stations served communities throughout Ontario. Today, about 10 percent of them still stand.

The reason they’re still around is the Heritage Railway Station Act of 1982, which forbade the destruction of the remaining buildings; one of the best and brightest depots is in Allandale.

The original station was built in the mid-1850s but burned down in 1893. After an interim building was built, an improved version—the one still standing—went up in 1906. Then the Great Depression hit the town hard. Employees were let go; the building started to deteriorate. By the 1990s, the facilities were closed, and Allandale was part of the larger burg of Barrie.

Now, city officials want the station to serve as their centerpiece for economic development. They’re considering two proposals—one from the YMCA, another from a commercial developer—that would pump millions of dollars into construction, services and retail. The stipulation? The winning bid must restore and maintain the depot. Some even believe the building could again become a transportation hub for the area—one that could boost local tourism.

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