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Black and white archival photograph of about 25 people posed in front of the John Street Roundhouse.

Employees at the John Street Roundhouse on closing day, 1988.

We hope you have enjoyed learning about Toronto’s railway workers. In this online project, we heard from just a few railway workers. This exhibit does not aim to share the experiences of all railway workers. That would be a never-ending project! Instead, we hope you have experienced a sample of what Toronto railway workers experience in their many different roles.

The Toronto Railway Museum is in John Street Roundhouse. In this online project, we were lucky enough to hear from John Clarke, who worked at the roundhouse. Peter Taylor told us about working as a porter during Expo 67. We heard about working at Union Station from Stuart Harvey. Michelle Ardron explained that railway workers can have many different jobs in their lifetime careers.

Chris Fox taught us that engineers have tough jobs. From John Mellow, we learned that communication is an important part of making railways work. Finally, we learned from SC Modiste, talking about her grandfather Walter Modesty, that railway jobs can be a source of pride for the worker, even in the face of hard work and discrimination faced on the job.

A messenger boy is as important in his sphere as I am in mine. The minute a single man slacks on the job a bolt begins to rattle.

– Sir Henry W. Thornton, Chairman and President, Canadian National Railways

While our railway workers here all had interesting stories from their jobs, there are thousands more who worked, and continue to work, for the railways in Toronto, Ontario, and across Canada. We encourage you to reach out to family members and friends – you never know who may have a story from working on the railways. It is essential to recognize the hard work they did and continue to do. We look forward to sharing these stories for years to come.

The Toronto Railway Museum continues to collect stories from Toronto’s railway workers. If you or someone you know would be interested in sharing their stories, please connect with us through our website.