Ingersoll to Kingston circa 1905

This unique cabinet card from the Lorne Shields fonds of the Historical Photograph Collection at Ryerson’s Special Collections features not only an uncommon composition, but also an interesting history of Canada’s railway systems inscribed on its verso.

2008.001.184. [Portrait of two women in a doorway with tree branch], cabinet card [ca. 1910], 20.4 x 12.6 cm (with mount). Left: recto, right: verso.

2008.001.184. [Portrait of two women in a doorway with tree branch], cabinet card [ca. 1910], 20.4 x 12.6 cm (with mount). Left: recto, right: verso.

Written in pencil on the back of this cabinet card are the arrival and departure times for a journey from Ingersoll, Ontario to Kingston, Ontario via both the Grand Trunk Railway and the Canadian Pacific Railway circa 1905.

2008.001.184. Detail of inscription reading: "Leave G-T Kingston 3:45 pm Toronto ar 10:15 pm leave 11pm ar at Hamilton 12:30 leave Hamilton 2:35am in Ingersoll 4:31".

2008.001.184. Detail of inscription reading: “Leave G-T Kingston 3:45 pm Toronto ar 10:15 pm leave 11pm ar at Hamilton 12:30 leave Hamilton 2:35am in Ingersoll 4:31”.

Impressively, using the Grand Trunk Railway (inscribed as “G-T”), the traveller would have been able to make the trip in just under 13 hours, leaving Kingston at 3:45 p.m. and arriving back in Ingersoll at 4:31 a.m. with transfers in Toronto and Hamilton. According to Google Maps, the same journey today would take 13 hours and 50 minutes using Via Rail Canada (including transfer waiting time). Whether either of the women in the photograph were travelling can only be speculated.

Screenshot of Google Maps route from Kingston to Ingersoll using Via Rail Canada and Kingston Transit.

Screenshot of Google Maps route from Kingston to Ingersoll using Via Rail Canada and Kingston Transit.


Special Collections, located on the fourth floor of the Ryerson Library, holds numerous examples of late nineteenth-century and early twentieth-century photographs, including cabinet cards, cartes de visite, tintypes, daguerreotypes and ambrotypes, as well as contemporary guidebooks and manuals. To access Special Collections give us a call or send us an email to book an appointment at: specialcollections@ryerson.ca or 416-979-5000 ext. 4996.

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