Are you feeling hemmed in due to the pandemic and longing for some escapism? Look no further than your own backyard. As the place where modern Ontario began, SD & G provides a wealth of places to explore.
If you have driven around the Counties, you have passed numerous crossroads such as Bridge End, Glen Brook, and Goldfield, all thriving settlements once connected to the outside by rail.
I am going to take you on a tour of five of these sites along the famed Peanut Line, aka Glengarry & Stormont Railway, that ran northeast from Cornwall to join up with the CPR main line in St. Polycarpe, carrying milk, produce and passengers .
Operating from 1915, to 1995 the road bed, has become an all season trail, for outdoor activities. The line winds its way for 40 kms from Cornwall beyond the Quebec border through shaded wood stands and prime farming country.
To explore the route, plan at least three hours, and arm yourself with sunscreen, water and a local map.
The trip starts at Giant Tiger, the site of the station. Cross Sydney St. to the field that held the freight shed, and take the bike path along the rail bed. Going go east along 10th you will see a shaded lane on the old rail bed before Emard’s
To really get into the mood of the trip, head out to Boundary Road, where you will find the line just north of the 401. Don’t stop here, but head to Williamstown, keeping your eye out for Glen Brook Road. Turn south to the bend, and you see an idyllic country path on the old rail bed. This was the first stop, but nothing is left, and you will have to go to Williamstown to find the station.
Back on the County Road, you will pass another signed PEANUT LINE TRAIL before Williamstown. On the south side you will find an original bridge, on the north the trail. In the village, you will see a second bridge.
Now take Road 17 to Cedar Grove Road, to the stop sign at Road 34. The station was here, but because there was no “Wig-Wag” (arm) to alert drivers that a train was straddling the road while it was being unloaded, it was frequently the site of fatal accidents.
Now go to North Lancaster where you can turn south to find the road bed, and one house.
Return to North Lancaster and turn down 23 to Bridge End; here you will be rewarded with the discovery of the Bridge at the end of your travel.
With the exploration over, be sure to treat yourself with a perch roll on the way home at Lancaster!
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