“At the CN station where I worked, that would sort of be a gathering place in the mornings for a chat and to talk things over,” remembers Jim Mercer, a former telegraph operator with the Newfoundland Railway.
As one of the stops on the Newfoundland Railway, Grand Falls Station spurred development of the Grand Falls paper mill and the shopping district on Main Street.
P.J. Connors, the first station master, moved to Grand Falls Station in 1905 to set up the railway station. As P.J.’s grandson John Connors’ recalls:
“75 percent of the shopping done in Central Newfoundland, I would say, was done in Grand Falls-Windsor. Main Street in Windsor was a high-volume area and, of course, what added to that was that the railway station was right on Main Street. Back in the ‘40s, ’50s and early ’60s, the express train used to get in at 8:00pm every evening. So that was the social thing, go and walk down and see who was going away, see who was coming home. It became a real area where people socialized and used the restaurants and supported the businesses of Windsor.”
In addition to the trains, privately owned “buses” (usually actual cars) were the other major form of transportation, and travelled between Main Street, Windsor and High Street, Grand Falls. Boyd Cohen describes the first Cohen’s bus:
“That was an idea that my father had as people had to go from Grand Falls to Windsor. There weren’t very many cars in town those days so they had to go out on a bus and pay for it. So my father said we’ll have a bus and anyone who wants to use it can pay for it, but if they make a purchase at Cohen’s it was free.”
These family-owned buses continued to run into the 1980s, moving both people and goods between Grand Falls and Windsor. Many residents recall sending lunch to the paper mill by bus or grabbing a bus to carry groceries between the two towns.