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September 26, 2006
City of Toronto to revitalize the historic John Street Roundhouse: plan includes new railway museum
Today, Toronto City Council approved an agreement in principle for the reuse and revitalization of the John Street Roundhouse that will include a new railway museum.

The John Street Roundhouse is a 32-bay semi-circular structure formerly used by Canadian Pacific Railway for rail car maintenance purposes and is now owned by the City. Since 1999, bays one to 11 have been leased to Steam Whistle Brewery while the other bays have been largely unused. The amendments to the existing lease will allow Steam Whistle Brewery to expand its brewery operation and provide additional revenue to the City. The agreement also includes a head lease for the roundhouse with State Developments, in partnership with Tenen Developing and Producing, for the restoration and reuse of the remainder of the building, and includes provisions for a railway museum and the restoration of the railway turntable.

“The revitalization of the historic John Street Roundhouse is the realization of a long held goal of the City of Toronto,” said Mayor David Miller. “The proposed agreement will ensure that this national historic site will endure as a monument to Toronto’s industrial past, will continue to enrich Toronto’s architectural fabric and provide a lasting legacy for future generations.”

The adaptive reuse of historic structures is a key component of the City of Toronto’s Culture Plan. The John Street Roundhouse is one of a number of adaptive reuse projects of the Economic Development, Culture and Tourism Division. Other initiatives include the historic Wychwood Car Barns and the Don Valley Brickworks. The John Street Roundhouse and its associated heritage structures were designated as a National Historic Site in 1990 and under the Ontario Heritage Act by City Council in 1996.

“Revitalization and meaningful animation of our historic and architectural treasures ensure Toronto is recognized as one of the world’s cultural centres and a dynamic, livable city,” said Rita Davies, Executive Director of Toronto Culture. Creative uses for historic structures is also called for in the recently released, Imagine a Toronto… Strategies for a Creative City, an international comparative study that highlights opportunities for enhancing the arts and creative industries in Toronto.

The John Street Roundhouse complex was constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1929-1931 to service steam passenger locomotives using the nearby Toronto Union Station. The John Street Roundhouse was a state-of-the-art structure and the most advanced in Canada as it incorporated new direct-steaming technology. For almost two decades following its construction, the John Street Roundhouse was one of the most important and busiest roundhouse complexes servicing steam passenger locomotives in the national rail system.

Media contact:

Rita Davies
Executive Director
Toronto Culture



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