Earplugs and The History of Trains in Parry Sound

Trains have been an important part of Parry Sound since 1890 when John Rudolphus Booth, the lumber baron owned the Canada Atlantic Railway Company (CAR), from Ottawa west to Depot Harbour (Parry Island) on Georgian Bay. He built the line not only to transport logs year-round to his Ottawa lumber mills, but also to take advantage of the increasing grain production on the prairies which was destined for Eastern North American and European markets.

Originally planning to build in Parry Sound proper, land speculation drove the prices up, so Booth decided to build to an appropriate harbour on Georgian Bay for the receiving of Great Lake steamers, Booth could avoid the large expense of building a land-line north of Ryan-GaynorLake Huron and Lake Superior.

Under pressure from the federal Department of Indian Affairs, the local band that autumn surrendered the necessary 315.5 acres (128 ha) for the rail access, terminus, port facilities and residences. (A further 110 acres/44.5 ha were purchased in 1899.) A swing bridge over the channel between Parry Island and the mainland at Rose Point allowed commercial boats to continue to ply the waterway.

In December 1896 the line was complete through Algonquin Park to Depot Harbour although it took another 16 months was needed to complete the freight yards and port facilities. The first eastbound train, Depot Harbour to Ottawa, ran on 22 April 1898. In the process Booth had acquired (1892) the Parry Sound Colonization Railway which had started to build track westward from Scotia Junction towards Parry Sound. Parry Sound's first rail service, the Canadian Northern, arrived in 1906 and in 1907 the "Canadian Pacific Railway trestle" bridging the Seguin River was completed. At 1,695 feet (517 m) long and 105 feet (32m) high , this is the longest trestle bridge in Ontario and took 5,000 men to build. The first scheduled train passed over the span in 1908.

Both CN and CPR have lines going through town, and in December 2005, they implemented a plan to reduce train congestion on their parallel lines in central Ontario through the Parry Sound area. Consequently, westbound trains from both railways use the CP tracks while eastbound trains use the CN tracks.

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