History of the Depot

The Depot owes its existence to Sir Sandford Fleming, Canada’s celebrated railway engineer. In 1854 he settled his parents, brothers and sister on a lot originally owned by the area’s first settler, John Brazier. Naming the area Craigleith, meaning Rocky Harbour, the Flemings established a quarry and a furniture factory and donated land for the original schoolhouse along the Township’s first gravel road. The road followed an ancient native trail traveled by resident Petuns, Jesuit missionaries and traders alike in the 1600’s.

In 1872, A.G. Fleming, Sandford’s father, sold a parcel of land to the Northern Railway along the same road for the purpose of constructing a station for the community. By 1880 a handsome station with the very newest architectural design, a rounded turret, opened its doors to the whistle of the locomotive and promise of prosperity for the community.

In a direction quite unforeseen by the Flemings, the little station became the hub of ski trains from Toronto in the early 1940’s, and planted the seeds for what was to become Ontario’s premier ski and four season recreational destination.

With the ending of regular passenger travel in the 1960’s, the CNR sold the property. By 1967 Kenn and Suyrea Knapman had restored the station as a restaurant and de facto museum. Over the next three decades it added its unique lore and camaraderie to the community’s memories.

In July 2001, The Town of The Blue Mountains, with support from the Craigleith Heritage Committee and Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation, purchased the Depot. On September 21st 2008 the Craigleith Heritage Depot reopened their doors as a community heritage interpretation centre and tourism office.

This restoration would not have been possible without donations collected from over 250 members of the public and from local business organizations through the Craigleith Heritage Committee and Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation in the amount of $329,000. The Craigleith Heritage Depot Restoration Project also received $175,000 from SuperBuild funding and $55,000 from the Trillium Foundation.

One wall is dedicated inside The Depot, thanking these generous supporters alongside locally donated artifacts, displays and memorabilia of the Town.