The Railways of Ottawa

Finding No. 21   Railway Structures Destroyed (Mainly) by Fire

Canadian National Renfrew
Station Burned 8 January1987

Ottawa Citizen 9 January 1987

Fifth Arson Case Confirmed in Renfrew

By Barbara Sibbald Citizen correspondent
RENFREW The provincial fire marshall's office confirmed Thursday that a fire which severely damaged the 94-year-old former CN train station here was deliberately set.
It was Renfrew's fifth confirmed incident of arson in the last ten months. Damages in the blazes at a boat launch, the Salvation Army Chapel, Ottawa Valley Grain and the town's beach house totalled an estimated $75,000.
However, police also suspect arson was the cause of a $2-million fire last April which destroyed 103-year-old Trinity-St Andrew's United Church. Exact cause of that fire may never be known because of extensive damage to the stone building.
Fire chief Randy Foster said some of the fires were set in a similar manner and are definitely related.
"I don't know what's happening. I just hope we catch someone soon," said Foster.
The train station fire was reported at 6:14 a.m. by a neighbour.
Town fire fighters had the blaze under control in about two hours. However, flames destroyed half the roof of the 130-by-16-metre building on Renfrew Avenue West and damaged the interior.
Foster said the wooden building was in poor condition before the fire and would likely be torn down.
CN spokesman Ewa Jarmicka said they haven't decided what to do with the remains of the train station.
Jarmicka said there has been no dollar figure placed on the fire damage yet.
For the past ten years the station has only been used to store equipment There has been no electricity to the building for five years.
The train station was built in 1893 by Valley lumber baron J.R. Booth for his Ottawa-to-Parry Sound railway. CN eventually took over the line in the 1920s. Since 1980, the track has only been used about six times each summer. The line now ends in Renfrew.
Les Anderson, chairman of Heritage Renfrew, said the station was never considered for historical designation despite its age.
"The building was no beauty and it was nothing compared to the CP building which was torn down a few years ago," said Anderson.
The town had considered using the abandoned station as a base for summer recreation programs in 1975. The town was [sic]

Updated 1 November 2021

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