NARROW GAUGE FOR US: THE STORY OF THE TORONTO AND NIPISSING RAILWAY
Volume 11 Number 3.
Boston Mills Press continues to offer high quality books about the development of railway transportation in Canada through this latest book by Charles Cooper. It is Cooper's second on the subject, the first having been Rails to the Lakes, which told the story of the Hamilton and Northwestern Railway.
This book chronicles the development of the Toronto and Nipissing Railway, a railway that had the distinction of being the first narrow-gauge common carrier in North America. The story is by no means a dull one for the T & N is intimately linked with the development of a complete railway system in Canada, and also, because of its involvement with narrow gauge, it is tied in with the history of railways in other parts of the world.
The story of the T & N is the story of the opening up of several parts of Ontario to the north of Toronto. It is the story of men like William Gooderham and James Worts who had a desire to increase their wealth and influence and saw the railway as a way to do this. It is the story of men like George Laidlaw and John Shedden who had the vision to see what railways would do for our young country and the ability to get others to dream along with them. It is also the story of power plays, mergers, and consolidations, of fortunes made and lost. Markham, Stouffville, Ux-bridge, Sutton, Jackson's Point, Sunder-land, Eldon, and Coboconk are all places whose history is inextricably linked with the T&N, and this book does a fine job of telling the story.
Profusely illustrated with good black-and-white photographs, the book has been produced with the quality that has come to be associated with this publisher. The table of contents, chronology, bibliography, and map index make this book easier to use as a reference source, while the addition of an index would have made it more useful. In early chapters, illustrations and text were mixed on the same page to good effect, and I would have preferred that the same had been done in the later chapters, rather than a sort of folio of pictures to end the chapter.
This book should have strong appeal for those who are interested in the history of the era and the area of Ontario that was served by the T&N, as well as for the railway enthusiasts. It is good reading and should be considered for purchase by libraries where interest in the subject exists as both recreational reading and as having some reference potential.
Albert P. Calame, Chateauguay Valley R.H.S., Ormstown, QC.
1971-1979 | 1980-1985 | 1986-1990 | 1991-1995
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