Thursday, 11 July 2019

CP Relocates its Ontario Street Operations, 1967

As Canada's Centennial approached, the City of Kingston was looking to memorialize the important events that had happened on the Canadian Pacific (Kingston & Pembroke) waterfront station site across from City Hall on Ontario Street. These included the life and death of Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. MacDonald. To do so, CP would have to vacate the properties they occupied here and elsewhere in Kingston's downtown, in what today might be called a land swap. Excerpts from the City of Kingston report, above the name of then-Kingston mayor Bill Mills:

Of interest is the requirement to maintain railway access to CLC and the Kingston Shipyards, though the future of both would not be long. The project file included drawings and photos of the Market Battery and new plans, as well as photos of Sir John A.'s funeral cortege on Ontario Street as well as at Cataraqui Cemetery.

What they gave - a people place which looks much the same 50 years later (CSTM collection STR31724a.001.aa.cs) and only a remnant of the Market Battery:
What they got: CP Express (left, beyond guardrail) and Superior Propane (far right) as seen from the Division Street overpass:
An additional voice in this story comes from a 2001 edition of Historic Kingston: 

Excerpt from a latter written by George Vosper to well-known planner George Stephenson. It described events following the release of the 1960 urban planning report. The new Urban Renewal Committee's first action was to arrange a meeting with the Vice President and Eastern Manager of the CP, Mr S.M. Gossage at his office in Union Station, Toronto.  On the day of the second meeting, Gossage had arrived in Kingston in his private car at the CP station across from City Hall. Several of his staff arrived separately. They drove around Kingston and returned to City Hall where Mr Gossage commented what a shame it was that City Hall's portico was missing. He was told by George Vosper that he himself could be the one to put it back on. The result was a land swap: across from City hall for industrial park property. The photo (below) posted to the C. Robert Craig Memorial Library may show this private car visit. Dated May 4, 1961, CP business car Kingsmere, originally built for the Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo in 1927 at Angus Shops, later rebuilt at Strathcona for CP, is pictured by the CP freight sheds across from City Hall in Kingston:

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