Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 90.8-95) along Orient Bay, ON. Features the grade at Orient Bay Station with the remains of the siding, signage and structures. It was home to the Nipigon Lodge (later Royal Windsor Lodge), which was built as a resort by Canadian Northern in 1916. It was visited by HRH, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII), during his tour of Canada in 1919.
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 87.3-90.8) at Orient Bay, ON. Features the grade as it skirts the east side of Pijitawabik Bay and approaches Orient Bay Station with cuttings, culverts, concrete ties used as rip rap and gorgeous views of the bay.
Then and now featuring CN 5227 and 5216 in September 1993 as they round a curve and lead an eastbound into the station at Orient Bay, ON while the high cliffs of the Pijitawabik Palisades loom in the background. Orient Bay was one of the major stations on this line when it was opened by Canadian Northern Railway in 1915. Located at Milepost 41.3/91, it was home to a station, two section houses, water tank and wilderness resort.
Thirty years later, the Palisades still remain but the rails are long gone (photo taken in May 2022). After becoming part of Canadian National Railways, the line was known as the Dorion Subdivision until 1960 when it was merged with the more eastern Kinghorn Subdivision. Twelve years after the first photo was taken, the last train would run on the line and the rails were pulled up in 2010.
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 87.3-90.8) south of Macdiarmid/Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, ON. Features the grade as it skirts the east side of Pijitawabik Bay with a huge rock cuts and the site of a serious April 1994 derailment.
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 87.3-90.8) south of Macdiarmid/Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, ON. Features the grade as it skirts the east side of Pijitawabik Bay with a huge rock cuts, two unique stone retaining walls, signage and fantastic views of the bay.
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 87.3-90.8) south of Macdiarmid/Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, ON. Features the grade as it skirts the east side of Pijitawabik Bay with a rock cuts, unique stone retaining wall, signage, two flange greasers and fantastic views of the bay.
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 87.3-90.8) south of Macdiarmid/Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, ON. Features the grade as it skirts the east side of Pijitawabik Bay with a rare stone culvert and a large, concrete reinforced rock cut.
Then and now photos featuring the Macdiarmid Tunnel, also referred to as the Jumbo’s Cove Tunnel. In the first photograph, taken circa 1996 by Mike Ročnik, an eastbound prepares to enter the southern portal of the tunnel. Bored by contractors working for Canadian Northern Railway, it was part of a line constructed between Ruel (Sudbury area) and Port Arthur (Thunder Bay), Ontario from 1911 to 1914. Opened for traffic in 1915, portions of it were encased in concrete in the early 1980s.
Today the tunnel is much quieter after service was terminated in 2005 and the rails removed in 2010. At 1058 feet, it remains one of the largest in eastern Canada. In a three week span in January 1912, construction tragically claimed the lives of 3 workers, two of whom are still buried nearby.
Do you ever feel like you’re in a funk? You know, when you’re spinning your proverbial wheels and not seeming to get anywhere. I think we’ve all been there at some point. For me, winter is always a time when I feel a little despondent, mostly because I can’t get out and hike where I want to (winter hiking just isn’t the same). I wish there was a way to describe it better…
Hey kids, I’m finally back. It’s been months since my last post, as the last time I put some thoughts down on the keyboard was back in May, so it’s been quite a while. I keep saying I have to write more regularly, but that never happens. I used to write this blog weekly or biweekly, then it became monthly and now I’m lucky if it’s a few times a year. I guess I’m just so busy with other things and at times lack the energy to collect my thoughts. I had the outline of a post in August all ready to go, but unfortunately never really got it started. I’m here now though, right?
Anyway, as I already stated, things are hectic as usual. The school year has been an insane whirlwind; I can’t believe we’re almost done the first semester. It was just yesterday that we were starting up the year. As typically happens, football makes the first part of the year fly by. Our season wasn’t particularly successful on the score sheet, but it was great to see the team improve immensely in a short period of time. Our senior team, with whom we won two Junior championships in the past, was able to capture the city title as well as a provincial bowl game. I had the privilege of travelling with the team to Guelph for the game, and it was especially memorable as my older son Ethan was a member of the squad.
So, speaking of school, there’s big things on the horizon. Finally, after several years of delays, we’re heading back to Europe. We planned this year’s trip back in 2019 following the previous jaunt across the pond. We were supposed to go in March 2021, but unfortunately this whole pandemic thing got in the way; you may have heard of it. In any case, excitement is building. All our previous trips were to northern Europe, but this time were going to sunny (hopefully) Italy. We just received our flight and some of our hotel information the other day, so excitement is building. As I’ve done in the past, I’ll be blogging daily about our adventures.
Since I haven’t written in such a long time, I should give you a hiking recap of the past year, as my last post was right at the start of the season. It was another prolific one, even though I said it wouldn’t be as busy as 2021. I hiked and biked 430 kilometres, drove over 9200 kilometres to those hikes and put together 139 videos (in 2021 it was 350km, 12000km and 134 videos). I was all over the area, from here in Thunder Bay all the way to Longlac and many places in between. This included a week-long trip to Geraldton in August, which was necessary to alleviate some of the driving to get to the east end of the line.
Some of the hikes involved redoing areas that I had covered in the past, either to improve the video or relay information that was not available when I first started exploring the Kinghorn. I also was out a lot with the drone, which really helps convey some of the detail about the line that you cannot see from the air. One of the big projects of the year was to finally finish the video about the Macdiarmid Tunnel, which I had started back in 2021. I had to record it twice, since I found out that my newer GoPro camera (Hero 9) doesn’t do as well in dark conditions as my old GoPro (Hero 7). You can check out some of my drone shots and the tunnel video below.
While I’m patiently biding my time until I can get out hiking again, I have turned my attention to a project that has been put on the back-burner for quite some time. My planned book on the Pigeon River Lumber Company/Gunflint & Lake Superior Railroad is still alive, but because of Covid, I was not able to do some research to complete the book. In the fall, I received an email from the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society regarding the progress of the book, indicating they might be interested in publishing it. I had done a little bit of digging while I was off in the spring, but I really needed to get to the Archives of Ontario in Toronto and hopefully into Minnesota for some archaeological work. Over Christmas, I cleaned up a few things and then sent in a proposal to the historical society for them to have a look at. With any luck, I’ll be able to head down to Minnesota in the spring and I’ll have to figure the whole Toronto situation. Ideally, I’d like to get the book completed next winter.
Anyway, it’s time to move on. I’ll be back soon, I promise. As I indicated earlier, I have the trip to Italy coming up in March, so I’ll definitely have a post before and during our time there. Until then…
Video of the former Canadian Northern Railway/CN-Kinghorn (Dorion) Subdivision (MP 83-87.3) south of Macdiarmid/Biinjitiwaabik Zaaging Anishinaabek, ON. Features the 287-foot bridge over the Postagoni River (pronounced paws–TAH–gun–ee), which was built in 1924, replacing an earlier trestle, and cost $103,000 at the time.