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CPR Angus Shops Montreal



CPR Parkdale Yard, and nearby industrial site redevelopment west of downtown Toronto. See below.

Redevelopment of railway yards, industrial buildings and lands has changed the look of Toronto and many other cities. Everywhere private sidings have disappeared along with the industrial base they served and the jobs they provided. Much of it was driven out by higher land values and taxes, making expansion and modernization unprofitable. They relocated farther out into the suburbs and to neighbouring municipalities where cheaper land and lower taxes permitted them to exist. Changing ways of doing business away from carloads to smaller shipments including delivery "Just In Time" allowed trucks and containers to replace trains and box cars.

One of the first to go in downtown Toronto was the large CPR freight and express sheds at King and Simcoe Streets. Here the Roy Thomson (concert) Hall (opened Sept.13,1982) and Metro (civic) Hall (completed 1992) were built. Immediately to its south was the CNR freight shed where the CBC Broadcasting Centre (opened 1989) and other buildings now stand.

Also in downtown both the entire CNR roundhouse, shops and coach yards were replaced with such places as CN Tower and Sky Dome and more recently residential high rises with much more to come. The CPR coach yard area east of Simcoe Street was the site of a still-born development, Southtown.

To the west in Toronto the entire CPR Parkdale Yard (actually two small yards) complete with passenger station, express building and freight shed all disappeared in the 1980's and is still being redeveloped along with many adjacent industries. John Inglis was a large industrial complex located next to the east end of Parkdale Yard off Strachan Avenue. Once a heavy machinery industry it finished its last years making household washing machines. Now, it is a residential redevelopment of townhouses and high rises.

To the north of Parkdale Yard was the massive Massey Harris Co. Ltd. (Later, Massey-Ferguson) complex of factories on both sides of King Street West. In business 1879-1986 it was Canada's largest agricultural implement manufacturer. Once was the largest employer in Toronto, thousands of men poured out at shift change onto a convoy of waiting TTC streetcars and trolley buses. Now, it is all-long gone save for the Main Office building located at 915 King Street West just west of Strachan Avenue, built in 1883 and just redeveloped into 46-units of condominium lofts called, what else? Massey-Harris Lofts. Residential housing is filling the remainder of 11-hectare site.

To the south of Parkdale Yard the Irwin Toy factory at 43 Hanna Avenue is being redeveloped into residential condominium lofts. For decades it was the Hinde & Dauch paper mill, maker of corrugated cardboard boxes. The near-by 24-hour Dominion Store supermarket is where the CPR Yard Office sat.

The top yard at Parkdale where the station and sheds were also located has seen residential high rise buildings go up and soon, townhouses will be built farther east along King Street West.

In a nearby area the CPR called the Circle, was a large number of light industries served by both the CNR and the CPR. All private sidings are long-gone as are most of the industries, replaced by new uses including loft offices.

A little northwest in West Toronto the massive Canada Packers plant was replaced with housing, while the nearby stock yards is full of mostly "big box" retail stores. Even the CPR backshops fell to one.

Farther north in the area of Mount Dennis was once located a Dominion Bridge plant where a few years ago it was redeveloped with 534 houses. Next to it is the long-closed Ferranti-Packard electrical plant just waiting for redevelopment.

Farther yet north was Emery, at Weston and Finch, once out in the country, by the 1950's it was within Metropolitan Toronto. In the 21st century it too is being redeveloped to house the ever-growing population. Emery Village is located where once narrow gauge wood burners chugged their way from Toronto through Woodbridge and Bolton, around the Horsehoe Curve to Orangeville and beyond.

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