Reviving Canada's First Railway Tunnel : the Hudson Family & Burnbrae Farms Supports Brockville's LegacyGeneral
A Short History of Canada’s First Railway Tunnel
1860 marked the completion of the Brockville Railway Tunnel, the first Canadian underground railway tunnel, a truly impressive innovation at the time. The tunnel connected the Brockville and Ottawa Railway to the city’s shipping port. It was fully operational for over 110 years until 1970, when the port ceased operations and shipping was consolidated to major hubs. In 1983, the city purchased the tunnel from the railway company.
In 2016, renovations began to restore the tunnel and transform the attraction to a public walking trail, featuring new paved concrete floors and modern lighting. It would also become the new central hub of the city’s Brock Trail recreational pathway. The project was completed in 2017 and Saturday August 12 th marked a historical day for the city of Brockville which was highlighted by the “Rails to Trails” Festival. The festival celebrated the official inauguration of the tunnel with a parade, official opening ceremonies and dedication.
Burnbrae Farms Donates $100,000 to Project
The restoration of the tunnel was made possible by generous donations by individuals and organizations like Burnbrae Farms. At the dedication ceremony, members of the Hudson family were on hand to present a $100,000 donation for the project to the mayor of Brockville, David Henderson and David LeSueur, Councillor, City of Brockville and Chair of the Railway Tunnel Committee as well as the many volunteers who made the project possible.
“It’s important to both the Hudson family and Burnbrae Farms to preserve the history of the town where our family first began farming in 1891. Our company is deeply rooted in this community and we share the belief that preserving landmarks such as this tunnel is vital.” said Margaret Hudson, President of Burnbrae Farms. “This is such a proud moment for us to see this project completed, where locals and tourists alike can explore this tunnel and learn about the history of Brockville” added Hudson.
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