The Toronto Railway Historical Association (TRHA) has developed a comprehensive vision and mission statement to position us for the future. Some key elements of that statement include:
In February 2002, TRHA made a deputation to the City of Toronto’s Economic Development and Parks Committee in support of the staff report which recommended the establishment of a railway museum as part of the City’s agreement with O&Y Properties Inc for the restoration, development and operation of the John Street Roundhouse. Council adopted this report.
- Assembling, conserving and preserving artifacts and objects relating to the development of the railway industry as described elsewhere on this website.
- Undertaking research to construct and maintain a comprehensive record of Toronto’s railway history. As part of this effort, TRHA intends to establish liaison with post-secondary educational institutions in order to foster and promote research into areas of Rail Heritage in the Greater Toronto Area that have not been adequately documented. TRHA intends to establish research bursaries for specific projects and provide publication aid where necessary.
- Identifying, celebrating and facilitating the study of the creative, technological, social and industrial achievements of Torontonians who have contributed to the development of railways in Canada. This would be partly accomplished through a research program to capture the oral history of individuals and organizations that were part of our rich railway history.
- Communicating this history of railways in Toronto through multiple different media. This includes the publishing of monographs and books related to Rail Heritage in the Greater Toronto Area. It also includes making this historical record available to Canada and the world via internet technology. We plan to make as much as possible of our collections, archives and other assets available by extending our presence through a “virtual museum” on the Internet.
Since 2002, in consultation with Culture Division staff, TRHA has continued to develop this vision for the Toronto Railway Museum and for linking its three component sites. The existence of three sites – two of them heritage properties – in close proximity to each other in the core of downtown Toronto presents unparalleled opportunities for the development of a superb railway heritage centre.
The three sites are:
Among the benefits to Toronto of the Railway Heritage Centre:
- The John Street Roundhouse
- Roundhouse Park
- Union Station.
- It will constitute a major new tourist attraction, bringing as many as fifty thousand visitors a year to Toronto. Developing new attractions is key to reviving tourism in Toronto which has been in decline since 2003.
- It will contribute to the revitalization of the Waterfront.
- The commercial tenants of the roundhouse will generate property tax revenues that will flow to the City.
- It will be far more accessible than any other railway museum in Canada since it will be located in the heart of Toronto’s tourist district.
- It will tell the story of the role of Toronto in the development of the railways and of Canada.