Roundhouse Park

Roundhouse Park is a 17 acre (6.9 ha) park in Downtown Toronto in the former Railway Lands. It features the John Street Roundhouse, a preserved locomotive roundhouse which is home to the Toronto Railway Museum, Steam Whistle Brewing, and the restaurant and entertainment complex The Rec Room. The park is also home to a collection of trains, the former Canadian Pacific Railway Don Station, and the Roundhouse Park Miniature Railway. The park is bounded by Bremner Boulevard, Lower Simcoe Street, Lake Shore Boulevard West/Gardiner Expressway and Rees Street.

Roundhouse Park
Roundhouse Park viewed from the CN Tower
Location255 Bremner Blvd, Toronto, ON, Canada
Coordinates43°38′28″N 79°23′07″W
Operated byToronto Parks
WebsiteRoundhouse Park


The John Street Roundhouse was built in 1929-31. Following the renovations of the roundhouse in the 1990s, the area to the east of the building became a city owned park named Roundhouse Park in 1997. The Toronto Railway Museum occupies Roundhouse Park and officially opened in 2010. The Museum occupies three stalls of the John St. Roundhouse and features an indoor display, an indoor restoration facility, a full size diesel cab simulator, an outdoor miniature railway, numerous railway engines and rolling stock as well as a fully restored railway village which includes Don Station, Signal Cabin D (with toolshed), a Watchman's shanty, a Water Tower and a coaling tower.

John Street Roundhouse

John Street Roundhouse
Built forCanadian Pacific Railway
Original useRoundhouse
Current useToronto Railway Museum
Steam Whistle Brewery The Rec Room
Governing bodyCity of Toronto
Official name: Union Station Heritage Conservation District
DesignatedOctober 3, 2008

The John Street Roundhouse was built for the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929-31 by Anglin-Norcross to replace the earlier John Street roundhouse built in 1897. Trains were so properly maintained at this location that railroaders recognized them by their "John Street polish." [1] When diesel run trains began being used, business was slowed at the Roundhouse and the building was last used for its original purpose in 1986. The Canadian Pacific Railway Company donated the roundhouse to the City of Toronto.

It is the only remaining roundhouse in downtown Toronto (the CNR Spadina Roundhouse was demolished to make way for construction of the SkyDome). One third of the original structure was dismantled, to allow construction of the Metro Toronto Convention Centre below, then reconstructed (1995) by Hotson Bakker Architects and is now home to Steam Whistle Brewing. Renovations to the brewery interior portion were done by William Hurst Architects. The remaining two thirds was rehabilitated by IBI Group Architects and now house the Toronto Railway Museum and Cineplex's Rec Room entertainment complex. The turntable and courtyard, Roundhouse Park with the restored wooden railway buildings was also completed by IBI and has received a number of design awards. The SkyWalk retains a direct connection from the Roundhouse Park, to Union Station.

John Street Roundhouse could maintain 32 locomotives at a time. 32 bay doors make up the inner rounded facade of the building and face the 120 foot turntable. This turntable was the largest used by the Canadian Pacific Railway Company and was constructed by the Canadian Bridge Company.[2] The exterior and interior of the building is mostly composed of brick and glazing. Each of the bay doors is of wood construction and can be left open to reveal a floor to ceiling glass wall with a regular sized man door inset. Natural light floods the interior space from the curved loft space and all exterior facades. Refurbished wooden columns also stand within the interior of the structure.[3] The coaling tower and water tank are auxiliary structures still located in the park from the working days of the John Street Roundhouse.[4]

The John Street Roundhouse was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1990.[5][6]

The Roundhouse and associated structures were first protected under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, passed by Toronto City Council on August 12, 1996. It was then designated under Part V of the Act with by-aw 634-2006 passed on July 27, 2006, as part of the Union Station Heritage Conservation District (encompassing the Park, Union Station and the Royal York Hotel). [7]

Toronto Railway Museum

Toronto Railway Museum
EstablishedMay 2010 (2010-05)
LocationToronto, Ontario, Canada
TypeTransport museum
Collection sizeSee Below
Public transit accessSt. Andrew station and Union Station
WebsiteOfficial Site

The Toronto Railway Historical Association (TRHA) was established in 2001 and is now incorporated as a federally registered charity. Its primary focus is the development of the Toronto Railway Museum (TRM).

The museum opened on May 28, 2010. The TRM operates year-round. Cabin D has also been moved to Roundhouse Park from the City's collection of historic buildings and was repainted and repaired but remains in its original structural state.

Don Station

The Don Station was built in 1896 by Canadian Pacific Railway and was originally located at the Don River and Queen Street East along the western bank of the river. In 1969 it was moved to Todmorden Mills. For many years while it was there the station was boarded up and not open to the public. Upon its relocation to the Roundhouse park, it was repainted and repaired and opened to the public to purchase tickets for the Roundhouse Park Miniature Railway.

Miniature Railway

The Toronto Railway Museum's Miniature Railway opened in 2010 within Roundhouse Park provides rides to visitors to the museum in season.[8] The ride has 4 cars carrying 4 passengers each, a caboose and is either towed by a replica steam locomotive/tender or replica CLC diesel-electric Whitcomb center-cab switcher.

Collection of trains

Roundhouse Park contains four full-sized locomotives, three freight cars, two passenger cars and one diesel multiple unit.[8]

Other Toronto roundhouses

  • CNR Spadina Roundhouse demolished 1986 to make way for Rogers Centre
  • CPR Lambton Roundhouse at St. Clair Avenue West and Runnymede Road, 1912–1913 (demolished 1960)
  • CPR West Toronto Roundhouse, 1884, 1891 (demolished 2001)
  • CPR Parkdale Roundhouse, King and Queen at Dufferin Street, 1891 by Credit Valley Railway; machinery and turntable moved to John Street Roundhouse in 1897; last used 1907
  • CNR Mimico 34-stall Roundhouse, Mimico Yard at current site of GO Transit Willowbrook facilities, 1906 by the Grand Trunk Railway, burned down 1965
  • CNR Danforth 31-stall Roundhouse, south and across the tracks from current Danforth GO station, 1884 by the Grand Trunk Railway, torn down 1940's


  1. Toronto Railway Historical Association. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  2. Old Time Trains. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  4. Toronto Railway Historical Association. Retrieved on 2013-07-26.
  5. John Street Roundhouse (Canadian Pacific), Directory of Designations of National Historic Significance of Canada
  6. John Street Roundhouse (Canadian Pacific), National Register of Historic Places
  7. "Heritage Property Detail-255 BREMNER BLVD". City of Toronto. 2015. Retrieved November 29, 2015. SEE 222 Bremner Blvd - CP Roundhouse, Water Tower, Coaling Tower; Sanding Tower; 1929; 1929. Adopted by City Council on Sept 4 & 7, 1984. Part IV Designation By-Law Passed by City Council on August 12, 1996. Part V Designation by-law 634-2006 passed July 27, 2006. Located within the Union Station Heritage Conservation District; Heritage Easement Agreement AT1915385 registered on Oct. 3, 2008. Partially repealed by by-law No. 1143-2008 passed on Oct 30, 2008.
  8. "John Street Roundhouse Park now home to Railway Heritage Museum". Spacing Toronto. May 28, 2010. Archived from the original on November 20, 2012. Retrieved Jul 26, 2013.
  9. GO Transit [@GOtransit] (14 May 2017). "It's finally here! Please welcome the latest addition to the @TORailwayMuseum: a restored original GO cab car from…" (Tweet) via Twitter.
  10. Toronto Railway Museum [@TORailwayMuseum] (13 May 2017). "The Toronto Railway Museum was pleased to welcome a very special part of our rail heritage to Roundhouse Park today…" (Tweet) via Twitter.
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