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FAQs

Frequently asked questions

* Have you found a permanent location for the Station? Yes!  The Station is now on its permanent concrete foundation, shored up and stabilized, at 1285 Fairview Street, just East of the Burlington Fire Station.  It’s still a “construction zone,” but you are welcome to contact us to arrange a time and view the restoration progress.

* What is a “Whinstone”? Whinstones — large bricks of granite — came to Canada as ballast in Scottish cargo ships.  Believed to be at least 250 to 300 million years old, from the early Permian and Devonian times in Scottish geology.

Whinstones on station

Tossed ashore, they were repurposed as ballast along the rails of the Grand Trunk Railway and formed the stone fascia around the base of the Burlington Junction Station (see photograph).  You can dedicate a Whinstone in someone’s honour — click here or on our “Donate” page for details.

* So, who is “FOFS”? Following on the early work by the citizen Save Our Station committee, Friends of Freeman Station — FOFS — are the 100% volunteer group — no one is paid — of concerned citizens who, in agreement with the City of Burlington, took over the preservation, restoration, and management of the Burlington Junction Station.  (Read our “Mission Statement,” above.) We oversaw the relocation of the Station to its permanent foundation, saw to its shoring up, and have since focused on restoring it to its 1906 splendor. Work began in earnest in 2014, and in 2015, 2016, and now 2017 (even in the middle of this mild Winter) our volunteers have scraped, painted, paneled, wired, landscaped and otherwise toiled, some on a daily basis and others on our organized “Work Day Wednesdays” and “Work Day Saturdays.” Please consider joining FOFS — click on “Get Involved” for more information!

* How did the nostalgic mural come to exist? The mural, by artist Claire Hall, was commissioned by the City of Burlington as part of its public art programme.  Claire worked with our restorers to understand the historical importance of the Station as an important travel and commercial shipping hub for the hamlet of Freeman, and beautifully captured the essence of the Station’s legacy.

* When will the project be completed?  Much work remains to be done, and we expect 2017 will indeed be a very busy year.  More volunteers are needed.  We’re looking for masons, painters, landscapers, carpenters, plumbers, docents, and many other skills.  Also, our Burlington Diorama Railway Committee is in the planning and early construction stages to design and build an interactive, historical depiction of early Twentieth-century Freeman and surrounds.  If you would like to join this team, you would be welcome.  You need not have experience as a model railroader, and all are welcome.

* What has the work entailed? The first task, once the building was moved to its permanent foundation provided by a corporate donation of services by a local paving contractor, was to shore it up. It had been seriously damaged by its moves and temporary storage; the walls were almost completely disconnected from the floor! All new joists were placed underneath, spaced at 12″ intervals and thus well over-engineered to carry the load of the building and its future uses. Once the building was stable, 2015 interior work has completely re-framed and re-paneled the Waiting Room and the Station Master’s office. This work continued in 2016, extending into the Baggage Room and storage areas. All the windows and window frames were removed, refurbished, and reinstalled. A generous corporate donation resulted in the installation of a new roof. The distinctive oval window in the West end of the Waiting Room has been restored to its rightful place. A beautiful “Burlington Junction” sign was recreated and installed. Necessary exterior carpentry was undertaken as well, and a fresh coat of paint went on just before the installation of the mural.  And the granite Whinstones have now been re-installed around the base of the building.

* How will my donation be used?

Since we are a 100% unpaid volunteer organization, your tax-deductible donation will go entirely to the restoration and operation of the Station.  Please refer to our “Mission Statement” page, above, to view a summary of expenditures (“Consolidated Financials”).

* Once completed, how will the Station be used?  We will operate as an interpretive centre for Canadians new and old.  The elements will include railway history and railways as a major influence on Confederation,  the Station as a community hub of personal and commercial comings and goings, the nostalgia of simpler times (wood, horses,..1920’s, steam locomotives.), World War I & II involvement; and the growth of cities, transportation and communications. It’s also the story of saving the building for posterity:  our hands-on community involvement & volunteerism, and the cooperation of our gov’t & community joint venture.  In the end, we’ve created something “fun for all ages.”

The Waiting Room will be available as a meeting space for small groups of 35 to 50 people.  There will be a small gift shop, and of course our ever-growing collection of historical railway memorabilia will be on display.  On the Lower Level, a historic model railway diorama will depict bucolic life in the Hamlet of Freeman, now part of Burlington,  in the early Twentieth Century.   School groups will be invited to visit, and there will be visiting hours for the General Public, as well.

* What is the “LLRD”?  Once the building is restored, a dedicated team of FOFS volunteers will be assembling an historic model railway diorama on the lower level.  Details of the project can be seen by clicking here or on “Diorama,” on the Menu line above.

Read more about the restoration project in our “History” section.

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Video by Kevin Davies; photography by Bob Chambers, Bob Miller, Nikki Wesley, John Mellow, Joel Waterman, Denny Williams, Alan Harrington, Al Pettman and others (by permission)