"Tales of pioneer hardship and deprivation have been told many times. Yet still we remember in wonder, that people accomplished so much with so little; that men and women with simple tools, their bare hands, and their own inventiveness cleared the land, drained the swamps, made their own clothing and provided their own food. Through all these difficulties God was with them and they wanted their children educated intellectually and spritually." from Norfolk Street United Church history

Saturday, June 18, 2011

St. Thomas Canada Southern Railway Station commemorated by provincial plaque

ST. THOMAS, Ontario, June 17, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Today, the Ontario Heritage Trust and the North America Railway Hall of Fame unveiled a provincial plaque to commemorate the St. Thomas Canada Southern Railway Station.

"We are extremely fortunate to have this architectural landmark here in St. Thomas," said Dr. Thomas H.B. Symons, Chairman of the Ontario Heritage Trust, "to remind us of the proud railway heritage we enjoy in our province. The Ontario Heritage Trust is delighted to be here today to commemorate that history."

The plaque reads as follows:


The St. Thomas Canada Southern (CASO) Station, financed by American railway promoters, was constructed between 1871 and 1873 to serve as both the passenger station for St. Thomas and CASO's corporate headquarters. During the 1920s, the station was one of the busiest in Canada. The Canada Southern rail route through southwestern Ontario ultimately linked Chicago and New York City, and was instrumental in the economic development and growth of St. Thomas. Designed in the Italianate style by Canadian architect Edgar Berryman (1839-1905), the impressive building is embellished with classical details such as pilasters, arched windows and passageways, wide eaves and a heavy cornice supported by paired brackets. The building's design, scale and quality of interior finishes make it unique within Canadian architectural history and it stands as a symbol of the importance of railway development in southern Ontario.

"The St. Thomas Canada Southern Station strongly influenced the economic development of southwestern Ontario and the city of St. Thomas," said Minister of Tourism and Culture Michael Chan. "We cannot forget the impact these stations had in shaping our province - both from the community impact and their heritage significance."

The unveiling ceremony occurred at the CASO station, where the provincial plaque will be permanently installed.

"The railways helped build this community," said Joe Docherty, Executive Director of the North America Railway Hall of Fame, "and the workers they attracted helped settle the surrounding area. St. Thomas has rallied behind the efforts to restore this landmark building through their financial contributions and volunteer labour, showing how the railways continue to influence this community and keep it strong."

"The heritage of St. Thomas is strong," said Steve Peters, MPP Elgin-Middlesex-London and Speaker of the Ontario Legislature. "Provincial plaques such as this one identify people, places and events from our past that help define our future. The City of St. Thomas is proud to be recognized again today with this unveiling to commemorate the CASO station."

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an agency of the Government of Ontario, dedicated to identifying, preserving, protecting and promoting Ontario's heritage.

Quick facts:

...The Ontario Heritage Trust's Provincial Plaque Program commemorates significant people, places and events in Ontario's history.

...Since 1953, over 1,200 provincial plaques have been unveiled.

...There are 229 provincial plaques across Ontario commemorating transportation systems and communications.

...There are 11 provincial plaques in St. Thomas - including Alma College and Jumbo the elephant.

Learn more:

For more information on the Provincial Plaque Program, visit www.heritagetrust.on.ca.

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