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Centre Road crossing at Port Credit, Ontario

January 19, 2023

Some 30 years ago, I scrawled some words on the back of a couple of black & white photographs.

They are actually contact prints, and the negatives are long gone. These prints are, to my mind, the only record of a certain everyday aspect of railway activity where they were taken. The pictures were captured by my late father, William MacLaren (“Mac”) Wilson in the early part of 1947.

Mac Wilson, from April 17, 1931 until the early 1950s, resided on Second Street in Port Credit, Ontario. That address was for practical purposes; he actually lived in the south end of Toronto Township. The Canadian National Railways’ double-tracked Oakville Subdivision was the northern boundary of the Village of Port Credit (with Lake Ontario as the southern). Until sometime in 1958, the southernmost Toronto Township streets were numbered consecutively from the northern boundary of Port Credit. That put my father only two village streets away from the busiest railway line in Canada (indeed, Dad clearly observed the CNR’s Port Credit station from his attic bedroom window).

As the photographs hold significance for my next book project, I present them here:

My notes inform us we are looking at a Mr. White, who (circa 1947) lives beside the Wilsons on Second Street. A former CNR section man, he is now employed as a crossing watchman at Port Credit. His responsibility is the Centre Road (or Hurontario Street, or King’s Highway No. 10) level crossing. While Mr. White holds down the eight-hour daytime shift, two other men cover the remainder of the 24-hour assignment.

We’re looking north in both of these views; the watchman’s shanty is in the northeast quadrant of the crossing. In the picture of Mr. White holding his stop sign on Centre Road, my father’s street begins among the buildings visible on the right (east) side of the roadway.

We’ll come back to Port Credit and its steam-era railway lore soon—my goodness, will we ever (P.S. See Port Credit station model in HO scale)! For now, though, I wanted to send a “shot-across-the-bow” to advise that something new is in the works!

This posting is part of the background for the Steam Through Port Credit hardcover (click on the book title to go to its separate page, where you may order a copy).

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