Derailed: Historic Freeman Station remains homeless

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,677
151
63
The Beach Strip
#1
Posted with permission from the Burlington Post
__________________________________________
Building must be relocated, restored by March 2011 in order for city to benefit from $666,666 federal stimulus funding
The $1 million relocation of the historic Freeman train station to a site on the beachway has fallen off the tracks.
It's back to the drawing board for the city to find a suitable spot and use for the building that has been propped up on beams behind the firehall on Fairview Street for the last few years.

City council recently voted to quash an earlier plan that the station be moved to a site southeast of where Lakeshore Road, North Shore Boulevard and Maple Avenue converge.

The station was originally located near Fairview and Brant streets along the CN Rail line. Once upon a time, it provided the platform for soldiers departing for service in the First World War.

Beachfront site abandoned

The beach site was chosen last summer among a handful of places because of its close proximity to the former Radial Electric Line and Grand Trunk Railway Line, its visibility to the public and the potential for complementary uses related to nearby attractions like Joseph Brant Museum and Discovery Landing.

Councillors, though, voted not to proceed with a process to determine uses for the station at beachway. They did so because they were especially worried about adding more buildings to the beachfront and obstructing views, said Leo DeLoyde, Burlington's general manager of development and infrastructure.

Instead, the city will hold a workshop on Monday (Jan. 18) to discuss ideas, with a staff report outlining a proposed process for public input into the final site selection and determination of a building use expected in February.

City Hall has long believed the building has significant cultural relevance and should be protected as best as possible.

It has been five years since the station was removed from its original location along the rail line. Ever since, local politicians have debated what do with it - including the now-defunct idea of using it as the new terminal for Burlington Transit.

It found temporary digs at the back of the fire department's parking lot and isn't hooked up to any heating source; it sits atop blocks and beams.

Staff say the crib structure holding the building in place was intended for a much shorter sitting period.

"It's starting to sag a little bit," DeLoyde said.

Freeman Station supporter Dave Morris has been trying for a long time to get the building relocated and opened for business of some kind. He urged council not to waste the stimulus money available to help save this "jewel" in the city's "heritage crown."

He said perhaps the building could be used to show off railway photos, adding he didn't want to see the station "languish" in a parking lot.

Councillors were adamant the station be saved and many didn't want to miss out on the upper level government money.

Others said they want to be 'wowed' by the potential use for the building that would also yield the best return on the use of taxpayers' money.

"Time is of the essence; this building is deteriorating. We need to get on with this. We have the money," said Councillor Rick Craven.

It can be a "benefit" to the city, added Councillor Carol D'Amelio.

"We cannot lose this station," she said.

Councillor Rick Goldring suggested businesses be invited to the workshop to offer ideas on what to do with the train station.

Mayor Cam Jackson wondered why a use of the building wasn't decided "almost immediately" after it was determined the station would be saved.

"We really have to find out how we're going to use it," he said.

Meanwhile, time will be a factor as council determines what to do with the building, staff says.

The city has received government stimulus funding totaling $666,666 for the relocation of Freeman Station. The city is contributing $333,333.

The stimulus-funding program requires the station be relocated and restored by March 2011.

That means a decision needs to be made quickly on the location of the building so that required design work and site approvals can be in place for a spring restoration.

Heritage Burlington - which approves of the beachway site - has told the Post there's concern about the building being subjected to more winter seasons.

The station closed in 1988 and, since that time, various efforts have been made to secure the structure and find a way to re-use it.

It was originally to become the new transit headquarters, but politicians nixed the idea during the 2007 budget approval, saving $1.5 million in the process.

Grand Trunk Railway built the Freeman station in 1906, replacing a station that burned two years earlier.

The station played a key role in the city's history in the shipment of farm produce.

If you have fond memories of Freeman Station from days gone by when it was still in operation, the Burlington Post would like to hear about it.

Send us your stories of visiting the station, along with your full name, complete mailing address and a daytime phone number where we can reach you for additional comments. You can e-mail the information to dford@burlingtonpost.com or mail it to Freeman Station, c/o Burlington Post, 5040 Mainway, Unit 1, Burlington, Ont., L7L 7G5.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,677
151
63
The Beach Strip
#2
Put Freeman Station by the beach

Posted with permission from the Hamilton Spectator

Bill Kemp
The Hamilton Spectator
Burlington
(Apr 9, 2010)
Re: 'Don't move rail station to Ireland House' (Opinion, April 7)

Regarding the move by Burlington councillors to put the Freeman Station at Ireland House, I wholeheartedly agree with writer Dave De Jong that there is absolutely no connection between the two venues. The Ireland House is from a different era. The railway station is about transportation; Ireland House is farming.

It is my belief if this station is to be saved in Burlington, along the old rail line across the Beach Strip is the only suitable area, as the station would then be in its appropriate setting. De Jong also mentioned that there could be additional costs to staff and maintain the station, which I think council should look at before making any decision.

I do, however, disagree with De Jong that as a last resort, the Freeman Station should be donated to the fire department to use as a practice site -- in other words, burn it down.

My suggestion would be to send it down the rails to Toronto, as I understand they have shown interest in preserving it in their railway museum, which would be appropriate as a last resort to save the station. I also believe this location would offer more visibility to the general public -- again, at no cost to Burlington taxpayers. We have seen enough dollars go down the drain in the past several years. Please, no more ridiculous costs.

Remember that we in Burlington have only six councillors and a mayor, of which it only takes four votes to pass anything. We badly need a larger council.
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,677
151
63
The Beach Strip
#3
Freeman Station doesn't belong at Ireland House

Flo Walker
The Hamilton Spectator
Burlington
(Apr 16, 2010)
Re: Burlington's Freeman Station

Moving the Freeman Station to the Ireland House property would be an absolute travesty.

It would not be seen from the roadway by passersby, plus there would likely be a fee to view it.

I wondered myself why the former right of way along the Beach Strip hadn't been considered. Wouldn't it be the perfect place?

After all it is a historic building and would be enjoyed by all who pass by.

I have lived in Burlington since 1958 and have always loved this building. The connection between the railway station and the railway on the beach is significant. I hope council has another look at this option and indeed considers the aforementioned site.
 

David O'Reilly

Registered User
Dec 15, 2012
454
2
16
#5
scotto
02-11-2010, 10:08 AM
Posted with permission from the Burlington Post
__________________________________________
Building must be relocated, restored by March 2011 in order for city to benefit from $666,666 federal stimulus funding
The $1 million relocation of the historic Freeman train station to a site on the beachway has fallen off the tracks.
It's back to the drawing board for the city to find a suitable spot and use for the building that has been propped up on beams behind the firehall on Fairview Street for the last few years.

City council recently voted to quash an earlier plan that the station be moved to a site southeast of where Lakeshore Road, North Shore Boulevard and Maple Avenue converge.

The station was originally located near Fairview and Brant streets along the CN Rail line. Once upon a time, it provided the platform for soldiers departing for service in the First World War.

Beachfront site abandoned

The beach site was chosen last summer among a handful of places because of its close proximity to the former Radial Electric Line and Grand Trunk Railway Line, its visibility to the public and the potential for complementary uses related to nearby attractions like Joseph Brant Museum and Discovery Landing.

Councillors, though, voted not to proceed with a process to determine uses for the station at beachway. They did so because they were especially worried about adding more buildings to the beachfront and obstructing views, said Leo DeLoyde, Burlington's general manager of development and infrastructure.

Instead, the city will hold a workshop on Monday (Jan. 18) to discuss ideas, with a staff report outlining a proposed process for public input into the final site selection and determination of a building use expected in February.

City Hall has long believed the building has significant cultural relevance and should be protected as best as possible.

It has been five years since the station was removed from its original location along the rail line. Ever since, local politicians have debated what do with it - including the now-defunct idea of using it as the new terminal for Burlington Transit.

It found temporary digs at the back of the fire department's parking lot and isn't hooked up to any heating source; it sits atop blocks and beams.

Staff say the crib structure holding the building in place was intended for a much shorter sitting period.

"It's starting to sag a little bit," DeLoyde said.

Freeman Station supporter Dave Morris has been trying for a long time to get the building relocated and opened for business of some kind. He urged council not to waste the stimulus money available to help save this "jewel" in the city's "heritage crown."

He said perhaps the building could be used to show off railway photos, adding he didn't want to see the station "languish" in a parking lot.

Councillors were adamant the station be saved and many didn't want to miss out on the upper level government money.

Others said they want to be 'wowed' by the potential use for the building that would also yield the best return on the use of taxpayers' money.

"Time is of the essence; this building is deteriorating. We need to get on with this. We have the money," said Councillor Rick Craven.

It can be a "benefit" to the city, added Councillor Carol D'Amelio.

"We cannot lose this station," she said.

Councillor Rick Goldring suggested businesses be invited to the workshop to offer ideas on what to do with the train station.

Mayor Cam Jackson wondered why a use of the building wasn't decided "almost immediately" after it was determined the station would be saved.

"We really have to find out how we're going to use it," he said.

Meanwhile, time will be a factor as council determines what to do with the building, staff says.

The city has received government stimulus funding totaling $666,666 for the relocation of Freeman Station. The city is contributing $333,333.

The stimulus-funding program requires the station be relocated and restored by March 2011.

That means a decision needs to be made quickly on the location of the building so that required design work and site approvals can be in place for a spring restoration.

Heritage Burlington - which approves of the beachway site - has told the Post there's concern about the building being subjected to more winter seasons.

The station closed in 1988 and, since that time, various efforts have been made to secure the structure and find a way to re-use it.

It was originally to become the new transit headquarters, but politicians nixed the idea during the 2007 budget approval, saving $1.5 million in the process.

Grand Trunk Railway built the Freeman station in 1906, replacing a station that burned two years earlier.

The station played a key role in the city's history in the shipment of farm produce.

If you have fond memories of Freeman Station from days gone by when it was still in operation, the Burlington Post would like to hear about it.

Send us your stories of visiting the station, along with your full name, complete mailing address and a daytime phone number where we can reach you for additional comments. You can e-mail the information to dford@burlingtonpost.com or mail it to Freeman Station, c/o Burlington Post, 5040 Mainway, Unit 1, Burlington, Ont., L7L 7G5.
________________________________________


Here is a page on 'The Friends of Freeman Station' that provides some more history. .

Welcome to Freeman Station
(Formerly called the Burlington Junction Station of the Grand Trunk Railway)
The Freeman Station, now owned by the City of Burlington, is the only building in the city whose historical and architectural significance has been recognized not only locally, but also provincially, by the Ontario Ministry of Culture, and nationally, by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
http://www.freemanstation.ca/
 

scotto

Administrator
Staff member
Feb 15, 2004
6,677
151
63
The Beach Strip
#7
Open House Days:

DATE EVENT TIMES SPECIAL ENTERTAINMENT
Sept. 28 Doors Open 10-4 The Poacher Ukulele Band 12:00 – 1:00pm Hayley Vallee 1:00pm – 1:40pm

Oct. 6 10-4 The Top Hat Marching Band 1:30pm – 2:30pm

See the Railway Diorama downstairs (G-gauge model railway layout). On the main floor – restored waiting room, Station Master’s office and more. Lots of railway memorabilia to see and buy. Outside stuff too!

Free admission. Donations gratefully accepted. Become a member!
Parking on site, main floor wheelchair accessible with washroom facilities.
We are located on Fairview Street east of Maple Avenue or west of Brant Street, beside the Burlington Fire Station.

Any questions email us at info@freemanstation.ca .

Updates will be posted here. We look forward to seeing you!

http://www.freemanstation.ca/


Freeman Station.JPG
 
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