Friends of Freeman getting close to the big day - Region is pitching in to make it a memorable day.

News 100 yellowBy Pepper Parr

June 17th, 2017

BURLINGTON, ON

 

It has to be the most impressive effort this city has seen, made by a bunch of people who just did not know how to take no for an answer.

The Freeman railway station – that was really just a small spur on the railway line that went through Burlington – took on a life of its own when those “concerned citizens” fought hard to keep the station alive.

Freeman - view from the south - volunteers needed

They still need donations and volunteers are always welcome – the big day will be July 1st.

When your city council couldn’t find a home for the station, they did their best to try and sell it – even if it was just for kindling. No takers.

The Freeman station got moved around a number of times while the city figured out what it wanted to do with the thing. When city council failed to come up with a solution citizens led by Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster more here.

The Freeman station got moved around a number of times while the city figured out what it wanted to do with the thing. When city council failed to come up with a solution citizens helped by Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster found a solution.

A group was formed and they managed to find some support on city council – Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster – joined forces to hold off the willingness of the rest of city council to see the thing meet a swift death – and end the ongoing embarrassment.

The tearing up of the rail line on what is now a magnificent pathway along the edge of the lake was the end of old time rail transportation.

Now GO trains, Via Rail and freight trains snake through the city but they don’t have the colour and the character that those old railway station waiting rooms had.

They had every reason to be smiling. Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster pose with five members of the Friends of Freeman Station after the Council meeting that approved the entering into of a Joint Venture that would have the Friends moving the station and taking on the task of renovating the building.

They had every reason to be smiling. Councillors Meed Ward and Lancaster pose with five members of the Friends of Freeman Station after the Council meeting that approved the entering into of a Joint Venture that would have the Friends moving the station and taking on the task of renovating the building.

July 1 – the Freeman Station will get its Official Opening – the Mayor will cut the ceremonial ribbon. It should be Meed Ward and Lancaster doing that job – they earned it.

The FReem,an Five -

These are some of the group that pushed their city council to working with them to save the Freeman Junction railway station.

The group that runs the Friends of Freeman station have this thing about the role of the Mayor – he didn’t do all that much to keep it alive in the early days. He did, to his credit, work to get them some of the funding they desperately needed to do all the work that was needed.

The story of the hundreds of hours those guys put in – and it was mostly a male effort, should not go unrecorded.

Freeman - cutting platic safety cover

Hardly a weekend went by during the last year and a half without at least some people working on the renovation of th station.

With the official opening day close close at hand there is a drive to get as much done as possible.

The Regions Heritage Services group has climbed aboard the effort and will be mounting a small exhibition in the space referred to as the Baggage Room.

Sarah Rolko who works for Halton Heritage Services as an assistant curator said the Friends of Freeman approached the Regional Heritage people initially for fundraising, collections management and exhibition development in April 2016.

Freeman - close to final

The station was taken off the blocks it was sitting on for a number of years and settled into their new home beside the Fire Station on Fairview.

“The reconstruction process then got very busy and we were unable to reconnect with them until January 2017”, she said

“We were able to start up conversations again after meeting in January 2017 at the “Making Heritage Happen Conference” hosted by Region.

From there, we made a plan to develop an exhibit for the July 1st opening.

Sitting on some "cribbing" with a sign badl in need of several coats of paint, the Freeman Station gets ready for its big move.

Sitting on some “cribbing” with a sign badly in need of several coats of paint, the Freeman Station gets ready for its big move.

The exhibit focuses on the hard work of the Friends of Freeman and other involved members of the community so far as well as the importance of the station within the community in the past, especially the major role the railway played in developing the city of Burlington.

The existence of the Freeman Station just might be the biggest thing Burlington has to celebrate and make note of as the County celebrates its first 150 years as a country.

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2 comments to Friends of Freeman getting close to the big day – Region is pitching in to make it a memorable day.

  • Walter Mulkewich

    Freeman Station was the very busy old Burlington Junction Station in the village of Freeman just off Brant Street on the very busy main CN railway line – not a “small spur” as suggested in this article.

    Editor’s note: We depend on people like Walter to fill in the holes in our knowledge base – we might convince him to show us just where the Freeman station used to sit when it was a very busy station.

  • stoneycanuk

    Congratulations to the Friends of Freeman station for saving a part of what little heritage we have in Burlington. Thankfully, there are a few concerned citizens!

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