The Grand Trunk Railway Station

Brighton 1890 Photograph courtesy Brighton Digital Archives

The mighty steam engine and the endless ribbons of rail that stretched across Canada in the mid-20th century brought new opportunity to the nation and to Brighton in particular.

In those days, ten trains stopped daily at one or another of the three local Brighton rail stations that were all situated within a few blocks of one another.

The railway allowed local fruit to be canned in Brighton and transported to ocean ports for shipment overseas; it delivered Brighton dairy products to thirsty Torontonians and, in the heat of the summer, it brought in thousands of passengers who were headed to the nearby Presqu’ile beaches. Families waved goodbye to soldiers heading off to war from its platforms.

This station changed lives.

But as the power of the railways ceded to highways and airways, the station was abandoned. It was saved from demolition when it was purchased by Ralph Bangay in 1996. Ralph used the building as the anchor of Memory Junction Museum. Its iconic steam locomotive and rolling stock collection attracted visitors from around the world but when Ralph Bangay passed away, the museum closed and the locomotive was sold to another collector while the family patiently waited for the right buyer. Enter George and Mitch Hamilton. This past February, they bought the property, vowing to restore the exterior of the station. A sigh of relief reverberated throughout the region, from railway buffs in general and local historians in particular. This charming building in this train town has a new steward.

[Spring 2021 departments]