Oshawa, Ontario – The Oshawa Railway

Probably the most unique feature in regard to the industrial development of our town is the Oshawa Electric Railway, a combined freight and passenger line. Its original conception, construction and operation is due to the indefatigable exertions of Capt. R. C. Carter, of Deseronto. Having obtained the Charter from the Dominion Government in June, 1887, he appears to have held it quietly until the Spring of 1892, when he began a series of meetings, by-laws, votes, and bonuses, in never ending succession, until it was finally agreed to grant a perpetual franchise to certain streets and a cash subsidy of $5,000. In May, 1894, after many delays, when hope of the Railway had almost vanished, the G.T.R. station sidings were suddenly, one bright Saturday, fairly choked with equipment for an electric railway. The following Monday morning a contractor with hundreds of men began to tear up the streets, lay rails, and string the necessary wire. In July of the same year many of us enjoyed a ride upon the first car that swept over the rails. The preamble to the Act of Parliament of 1887, and the prelude to a recent agreement with the town in a general sense gives the real history of the railway.

The Oshawa Railway and Navigation Company was incorporated by Ch. 92, Dominion Statutes of 1887, to build a railway “commencing at or near the port of Oshawa on Lake Ontario, and extending thence to or near the Oshawa station of the Grand Trunk Railway, thence through the town of Oshawa by a belt line or single line of railway, thence to or near Myrtle or Burketon, thence to Lindsay or Bobcaygeon or both, thence to a junction with the Canadian Pacific Railway at Mattawa, with power to extend the said lines to the towns of Whitby and Bowmanville and to construct all necessary switches and turnouts; also with power to work ferries on water near or touched by the said railway; also with power to buy or charter sailing vessels, steamboats and other kind of craft, also to carry on in Canada and elsewhere, as their business may require, the business of wharfingers and warehousemen, and to acquire and hold by purchase or lease all lands, harbors, wharves, docks, elevators, warehouses and other estate, real or personal, required for the efficient working of the business authorized by this Act.”

The incorporators were R. C. Carter, George Crawford, Allen Chadwick, Robert Crawford, J. F. Wilson, W. F. Cowan and James McGill.

By Ch. 24 of 1887 a subsidy was granted for seven miles of their railway from Port Oshawa towards Raglan, not exceeding $3,200 per mile, nor exceeding in the whole $22,400.

By Ch. 91 of 1891, the name of the Company was changed to “The Oshawa Railway Company,” and the times for commencement ,and completion of work were extended.

By Ch. 8 of 1891, the subsidy grant was renewed.

By Ch. 2 of 1893, a subsidy was granted for “seven miles of their railway and branches as follows: From Fort Oshawa to a point at or near Edmonson’s Falls mill site, near Mill Street in the town of Oshawa (this portion being known as the ‘Lake’ section of the said railway); thence to a point at or near the town hall in the town of Oshawa, and thence to the Oshawa station of the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada (this portion being known as the “Town” or “Northern” section of the said railway)—in lieu of the subsidy granted by the Act 54-55 Victoria, Chapter 8 of 1891, a subsidy not exceeding $3,200 per mile, nor exceeding in the whole $22,400.”

Ch. 56 of 1895 authorized a re-arrangement of the capital stock, the issue of bonds and confirmed agreements with East Whitby and Oshawa.

Ch. 70 of 1900, granted certain additional powers, and extended this time.

An Act has been passed at the present session allowing the annual meeting to be held on such day as the directors may from time to time determine.

The amount of Dominion subsidy paid is $22,400, and municipal bonus $5,000.

In the Railway Statistics for 1919 the following information is given:–

Length of main line, 9 miles; second track, 3 miles; sidings, 1 mile.

Capital stock, $40,000.

Bonds, $18,452.

The line is operated by electricity.

It is now owned by the Grand Trunk Railway Company.

6th May, 1921.

AND WHEREAS in and by an Agreement dated the Fifth day of May, A.D. 1893, between the parties hereto, said Agreement being ratified and confirmed by an Act of the legislative Assembly of the Province of Ontario, Chapter 73, A.D. 1893, it was agreed by and between the said Corporation and Company that the Company should have the right to lay down, build and construct their railway along certain streets in said Corporation, “and such other streets as may be hereafter agreed on between the parties from time to time.”

AND WHEREAS in and by a certain other agreement between the parties hereto dated the 17th day of May, A.D. 1894, and ratified and confirmed by an Act of the said Legislative Assembly Chapter 110, A.D. 1895, it was agreed by and between the parties hereto that the Agreement firstly mentioned herein should be altered or amended so as to allow said Company to lay its tracks on streets in said Corporation other than those mentioned in said first Agreement.