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Depot Harbour, one of Ontario's largest ghost towns, was originally founded in the 1890s by lumber baron John Rudolphus Booth as the western terminus of his Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway (OA&PS).  At its peak the town had 1,600 permanent residents, along with a railway station and roundhouse, grain elevators, docks, hotels, stores and a church.  in 1904 Booth sold the railway to the Grand Trunk and it was subsequently inherited by CN in 1923.  After CN assumed control, they decided the roundhouse was not required in their network (with the facilities at South Parry so close nearby) and it was retired.  The 1930s were not kind to the old OA&PS - grain prices fell during the depression, a damaged bridge in Algonquin closed the western section of the line and the reconstruction of the Welland Canal reduced the importance of the town and railway.  By the end of the decade the town had fallen into disrepair and its population had plummeted.  

I found out about Depot Harbour in 2012 while reading Ron Brown's book "Ontario's Ghost Town Heritage" and learned that while the town had long since vanished, parts of the old roundhouse (made of concrete) still remained.  So the next time I visited the Parry Sound area I made a quick detour to Parry Island and took this picture.
Copyright Notice: This image ©Craig Allen all rights reserved.



Caption: Depot Harbour, one of Ontario's largest ghost towns, was originally founded in the 1890s by lumber baron John Rudolphus Booth as the western terminus of his Ottawa, Arnprior and Parry Sound Railway (OA&PS). At its peak the town had 1,600 permanent residents, along with a railway station and roundhouse, grain elevators, docks, hotels, stores and a church. in 1904 Booth sold the railway to the Grand Trunk and it was subsequently inherited by CN in 1923. After CN assumed control, they decided the roundhouse was not required in their network (with the facilities at South Parry so close nearby) and it was retired. The 1930s were not kind to the old OA&PS - grain prices fell during the depression, a damaged bridge in Algonquin closed the western section of the line and the reconstruction of the Welland Canal reduced the importance of the town and railway. By the end of the decade the town had fallen into disrepair and its population had plummeted. I found out about Depot Harbour in 2012 while reading Ron Brown's book "Ontario's Ghost Town Heritage" and learned that while the town had long since vanished, parts of the old roundhouse (made of concrete) still remained. So the next time I visited the Parry Sound area I made a quick detour to Parry Island and took this picture.

Photographer:
Craig Allen [121] (more) (contact)
Date: 04/22/2012 (search)
Railway: Canadian National (search)
Reporting Marks: Not Provided
Train Symbol: Not Provided
Subdivision/SNS: Not Provided
City/Town: Depot Harbour (search)
Province: Ontario (search)
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5 Comments
  1. Thanks for the comments!

  2. Wonderful picture and narrative, Sir. I agree with Mr. Berry… Fascinating! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Fascinating.

  4. Arnold, I can’t say I spent a lot of time exploring the townsite when I visited. Once I found the roundhouse I spent focused on looking it over and being amazed at how much garbage had been dumped in the old turntable pit. I’d like to go back and spend some more time looking at the different ruins. Too bad the rails were lifted in the late 90s, they would have tied everything together. It would be interesting to see some pictures of your visit, if you have them.

  5. I forget my directions from this ruin, but when I first went to Depot Harbour in the 1970s, many of the town streets were still there, as dirt roads in the woods. Evidence of foundations were everywhere, as were some signs and some fire hydrants. The former home gardens still flourished, and it was eerie to see the beds full of tulips and daffodils, shrubbery abloom, and many other indications that this now wooded area was once part of a town. I would imagine there still is something to see; at very least a walk thru the town that foliage has recaptured would be a memorial one.

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