Category Archives: News

Norton family sponsors Freeman Station Waiting Room

Friends of Freeman Station has received a generous donation from Burlington's Mikalda Farms Ltd. (Norton family) to sponsor the passenger Waiting Room at the restored Burlington Junction Station in memory of their McMillan ancestors, Alexander Donald and Charlotte Campbell McMillan and their descendants, including daughter Effie McMillan, and her son Frank McMillan and wife Lillie May Boniface McMillan.  

The "McMillan Room" Waiting Room at the Freeman Station will be available as meeting space for use by small groups.  Completion of its restoration to early Twentieth-century appearance is now assured, and is almost finished, including newly paneled and painted walls, flooring, restored ceiling treatment, and reconstruction of the original windows including the distinctive Jane Irwin oval window at the end of the room.

Read the story of "A.D. McMillan, Fruit & Vegetable Grower" at
Our thanks to the Norton family for their generous support.

AD McMillan truck

“W” Whistle post makes final “whistle stop”

Whistle posts along the railways reminded steam locomotive engineers on the Grand Trunk Railway, the Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Railway, Hamilton and Northwestern Railway, Canadian National Railway, and the Hamilton Radial Electric Railway lines to sound the whistle at upcoming road crossings and other mileposts.  Given the frequency of rail traffic through Burlington Junction in the early Twentieth Century (typically, more than 40 trains a day), there must have been an almost continuous cacaphony for the locals. And when the last of them faded into history, a bit of nostalgia, too.

Whistle post P1080335
Through the generosity of a local Burlington family, one of these Whistle posts has just arrived at its new resting place at 1285 Fairview Street – home of the Burlington Junction Station.  Thanks to all who participated in retrieving it and bringing it to the Freeman Station... where, from time to time, one may hear – just faintly – a hint of the past!

Some background on Whistle posts can be read at


The Friends of Freeman Station TH&B car in history

“Provenance” is everything, according to antiques enthusiasts, and the FOFS TH&B railway inspection car certainly has an amazing story to tell, as reported last week by Tim Miller, writing in the Hamilton Spectator, (Thursday, March 10, Wheels Section, page WH2)

Santa Claus parade 3

The President of the Toronto Hamilton and Buffalo Railway had his staff customize the car so it could run on the TH&B tracks, and he took it out often on inspection runs.  Now it resides in the FOFS collection of railway memorabilia for all to see and enjoy.

Santa Claus parade 2

Known nostalgically as “Sputnik” by old-time railway enthusiasts, the car is a 1951 Chrysler Windsor Deluxe four door sedan with a set of specially-constructed steel wheels for rail travel, a six-cylinder in-line gasoline engine and an automatic transmission.  Sorry, folks, no air conditioning, but yes it does have a heater!  It was in service from June 24, 1957 to June 24, 1977, after which it was sold to the Ontario Rail Foundation.  Then eventually passed into the hands of Rod Wilson, who donated it to FOFS.


If you’d like to see “Sputnik” up close, she’s in the “round house” at Freeman Station, and we’ll be bringing her to car shows in Burlington this Summer.

For more information, email us at



” I remember travelling through the Freeman Station”

As we meet folks around Burlington, many tell us of the times they came and went by train from the Burlington Junction Station.  We’re collecting these anecdotes — and we’d like to hear from you… if you have memories of coming to the Station, of watching the old steam engines come chugging through, of helping the farmers bring their produce up Brant Street by horse and wagon to load it on the “fruit train” destined for Toronto, Montreal and beyond…

Farmers loading baskets of fruit 1920

…of waiting in the Brant Street traffic jams as the trains rumbled through the Hamlet of Freeman; of working at the Tip Top Cannery and the Basket Factory; of “trading” at Pridmore’s Store; of good times at the Brant Inn; of going by Hamilton Radial Electric Railway to shop at FW Woolworth’s or Eaton’s or Robinson’s in Hamilton; late night meals at the Clans Restaurant; of great food at the Tien Kue Inn… please drop us an email — — and share your story. Let us hear from you!

And here’s a bit of nostalgia for you:


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)