Welcome to the Craigleith Heritage Depot. We are a museum, a branch of the Blue Mountains Public Library, an archive, and a tourism information centre: a true community hub!
HISTORY OF THE CRAIGLEITH HERITAGE DEPOT
The Depot owes its existence to Sir Sandford Fleming, Canada’s celebrated railway engineer. In 1854 he settled his parents, brothers and sister on a lot originally owned by the area’s first settler, John Brazier. Naming the area Craigleith, meaning “rocky harbour” in Gaelic, the Flemings established a quarry and a furniture factory and donated land for the original schoolhouse along the Township’s first gravel road. The road followed an ancient native trail traveled by resident Petun indigenous people, Jesuit missionaries, and traders alike in the 1600s.
In 1872, Andrew G. Fleming, Sandford’s father, sold a parcel of land to the Northern Railway along the same road for the purpose of constructing a station for the community. By 1880, a handsome station with the very newest architectural design – a rounded turret – opened its doors to the whistle of the locomotive and promise of prosperity for the community.
In a direction quite unforeseen by the Flemings, the little station became the hub of ski trains from Toronto in the early 1940s, and planted the seeds for what was to become Ontario’s premier ski and four season recreational destination: Blue Mountain Resort.
With the ending of regular passenger travel in the 1960s, the Canadian National Railway sold the property. By 1967, Kenn and Suyrea Knapman had restored the station as a restaurant and de facto museum called “The Depot.” Over the next three decades, it added its unique lore and camaraderie to the community’s memories.
In July 2001, The Town of The Blue Mountains, with support from the Craigleith Heritage Committee and Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation, purchased the Depot. On September 21st 2008, the Craigleith Heritage Depot reopened its doors as a community heritage interpretation centre and tourism office.
This restoration would not have been possible without donations collected from over 250 members of the public and from local business organizations through the Craigleith Heritage Committee and Blue Mountain Watershed Trust Foundation in the amount of $329,000. The Craigleith Heritage Depot Restoration Project also received $175,000 from SuperBuild funding and $55,000 from the Trillium Foundation. A wall behind the Depot’s reception desk is dedicated to thanking these generous supporters with a commemorative partnership plaque.
The Craigleith Heritage Depot reopened again after a short closure on June 18th 2016, revealing its transformation into a community hub housing museum, library, archival, and tourism services for the benefit of The Blue Mountains community and visitors alike.