Thursday Doors – August 15, 2019

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing your link in the comments below, anytime between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time). 

The Brockville Rail Tunnel – Brockville, Ontario

Not many doors today, but an interesting story to tell all the same.

In the mid 1800’s the expansion of railway networks was driving industrial growth and commerce throughout Eastern Canada’s cities and towns along the St. Lawrence seaway.

In 1853, the Brockville and Ottawa Railroad (B&0) was incorporated to open a north/south transport route for raw materials, mostly lumber, coming out of the Ottawa Valley to the town of Brockville, Ontario. This convinced the Grand Trunk Railroad to include a major loading and servicing point in Brockville on its highly profitable Montreal to Toronto line.

The one problem that came of this was that the Grand Trunk Brockville station was actually built about 1 km (0.6 miles) from the ships and factories on the town’s waterfront.  In order to connect the two, the decision was made to by B & O to build what would become Canada’s first railway tunnel under the centre of town.

Taking almost over six years to complete due to financing problems, the Brockville Tunnel runs north/south from Water Street, for a total distance of 527 m (1,730 ft) and exits north of Pearl St.

The tunnel is straight with a one percent grade (incline) running north to south, and it measures 4.5 m (14 1/2 ft) wide and 4.3 m (14 ft) high.

The tunnel was used by rail traffic for well over a century but eventually the changing size of rail cars and the closing of waterfront factories saw an end to the tunnel’s usefulness. The last train went through the tunnel in 1969.

By then Canadian Pacific Railways (CPR) owned the line and the tunnel. CPR removed the tracks in 1976 and in 1983 the tunnel and waterfront property was handed over to the city for the symbolic sale price of $1.00.

Within a decade Brockville City Council was mulling over various preservation ideas for the tunnel. In 1988 the South end of the tunnel was fitted with an 85 ft walkway, interpretative signage, and then opened to the public. In 1992, both the North and South entrances ends were officially designated as Historic Sites.

In 2016 major renovations were undertaken to make it possible for visitors to safely explore the entire tunnel on foot and discover this marvel of mid-19th century construction for themselves. Interpretive signage along the length of the tunnel tells visitors the story of the tunnel and its construction.

They can also observe nature at work trying to reclaim the tunnel using ground water that seeps and drips constantly through the masonry leaving behind glittering mineral deposits.

The tunnel now includes a paved concrete walkway and a modern LED lighting system which is synchronized to music and sound effects.

It’s a lot of fun for kids of all ages. Imagine walking partway into the tunnel only to have the whole thing go temporarily dark. Then, you hear the sound of a train whistle and rumbling in the distance that slowly gets louder, as if the train is coming towards you. Instead of an actual train, a curtain of light comes barreling towards you along the inside of the tunnel in a mesmerizing sequence of changing colours – something like this:

Chooo-chooooo! All that excitement and no one got hurt 😀

Since re-opening in August 2017 the Brockville Railway Tunnel has received tens of thousands of curious visitors and is open year-round. Admission is free with donation boxes placed at various spots inside the tunnel for those who’d like to contribute to the cost of upkeep.

And as for those huge wooden doors placed at either end of the tunnel? Apparently they were used for years to keep local grazing livestock out of the tunnel in order to avoid messy and potentially expensive incidents.

As always, thank you for looking 🙂

Want to join in on the fun and share your own Thursday Doors post with other door lovers? Then simply add the link to your Thursday Doors post in the comments section below.

Don’t forget that if you share your blog posts on social media, use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag to help others find you, and please do take a few minutes to visit some of the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Photo Challenges, Photography, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to Thursday Doors – August 15, 2019

  1. joey says:

    Ooh! I just love that! I love things that are not what you’re expecting. Doors of interest, sure, but wow, so much more! What a neat thing to share 🙂 I wanna see it!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Librarylady says:

    Fun post about an unusual place. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jennie says:

    Wow! History and nature at their best.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Amy says:

    I’d love to visit that tunnel. That light show looks amazing!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Corina says:

    Wonderful that you wrote and posted the story of the tunnel! I enjoyed it along with the photos. What an interesting place to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. amoralegria says:

    Very interesting history of a tunnel. The light show sounds spectacular!
    Here is my contribution (again in France) this week:

    Liked by 1 person

  7. That’s such an interestingly oddball thing: a tunnel with a door!

    Here’s my stone lined door for the week:

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Colline says:

    What an amazing experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. A wonderful bit of history and beautiful photos. I love trains so really enjoyed the story. Nice post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Aimer Boyz says:

    Norm, thank you so much for this post. I’ve never heard of this tunnel, but I’m definitely going to visit now. BTW, amazing pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Maggie says:

    Wow. So impressive, Norm.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Sheree says:

    Doors (and tunnels) with a story – fabulous!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Very interesting use of that space! Who cares if there are no doors!?! 😉 Here’s my entry for this week:

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Great post. Reminds me of the tunnels on the south bank of the Thames between Tower Bridge and London Bridge. Meanwhile, back in Perigueux…

    Liked by 1 person

  15. TCast says:

    This is one great looking tunnel. I bet you it’s scary when it suddenly turns dark. Here is mine for this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow! I would love to visit that tunnel one day! Thank you for sharing such a unique experience!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Prior... says:

    Great way to prevent livestock accidents and Choo choo to the colors and depth – nice post.
    Here are my doors for this week – Baltimore part 2

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Junieper2 says:

    This is fun, even for adults:):) Am glad they found a useful purpose for the railway tunnel! First I wondered about the door, but later I thought it’s probably so people can’t make it their living place, or do sinister things at night.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Ludwig says:

    That is a neat place and a fascinating tale. When you mentioned “B&O Railroad” it triggered a recollection when I worked on an instrument for weighing rail cars for the B&O Railroad back in the late ’50s, but that was the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad.

    This week I have another old storefront from Georgia.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Love that tunnel, what a bargain the city got buying at that price. I’m a bit claustrophobic but it wouldn’t stop me entering the tunnel, however, I would probably exit at record speed. Love the lighting, too. Here’s my offering for this week’s Thursday Doors, thanks Norm;

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Debbie Smyth says:

    Very interesting. And you’re forgiven for the door shortage, Norm. I enjoyed the exploration and what great colours. I’ve gone red today:

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Rowena says:

    Wow. People have already been busy posting. It’s now 1.00am Friday here in Sydney and there’s a trail of people ahead of me. I got rather bogged down trying to identify a red flower which turned out to be rather than an Australian native. However, it was red.
    I really loved your post this week, Norm and that tunnel is an incredible experience, which is the sort of thing you’re looking for when you’re travelling and exploring even just at a local level.
    My door this week comes from Patonga, which is local to me and the next Beach West from Pearl Beach where we went last week. I hope you all enjoy another touch of Australia:
    Best wishes,

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Rowena. Full credit for finding this place goes to my wife. Whenever we go somewhere new she has a few ‘interesting things to see’ websites that she likes to consult, and this rail tunnel came up on all of them.


  23. seaangel4444 says:

    This is so cool, Norm! I definitely want to visit this place! And the lighting is perfect for effect! Thank you as always for inviting us to share some interesting doors. Today I have an old door with a Coat of Arms above it. The unique factor is that this door is the entrance to an apartment building! Thanks, Norm!

    Liked by 1 person

  24. A good way to share history and have fun at the same time

    Liked by 1 person

  25. slfinnell says:

    Rail history is so cool! I may have to look for a tunnel on the Katy Trail now 😉
    My Link:

    Liked by 1 person

  26. In the UK, the tunnel would probably have been bricked up, for “Health & Safety” reasons.
    But my doors have returned from Asia to Europe this week. Enjoy

    Liked by 1 person

  27. scooj says:

    What a great way to revive such a wonderful asset.

    Graffiti doors at:

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Joanne Sisco says:

    I can’t believe you beat me there!! Had you stopped deliberately in Brockville because you knew this tunnel was there or did you find it by accident? And did you know it’s in the book Top 150 Unusual Things To See in Ontario?

    I did not know about the light effects though. You did a great job of capturing the effect in your photos. Like Marian said, if you’re not expecting it (and maybe a little stoned 😉) it could be quite a trip!

    Liked by 1 person

  29. marianallen says:

    Wow! I wouldn’t want to go in there stoned. I mean, not that I’ve ever smoked weed. And if I did, I didn’t inhale. And if I did, I blew it out again. Eventually. –I mean, GREAT POST! Mine is also light on doors, but involves a certain amount of construction.

    Liked by 2 people

  30. This is an excellent presentation of the effect, Norm! I’d love to stroll through this tunnel. You should see the one on the Slovenian coast. It’s also an old railway tunnel. In fact, the people who manage it should see your post and get some ideas. 🙂 For now it’s a brilliant shortcut between two towns and nothing else. I hate the most the motorcycles for the noise, even though they are forbidden to enter. Cars are blocked but they haven’t figured out how to prevent the bikers.

    Here is another Slovenian door dash in dying daylight for you and all door lovers:

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Manja. It’s a shame that some bikers refuse to respect the rules in your Slovenian tunnel; motorcycles and pedestrians in the same small dark space…I’m afraid that won’t end well 😦
      For this tunnel, the north end opens into a fenced-in wilderness area so there’s no real access for motorized vehicles. At the southern end there are volunteers who staff the entrance to stop motorcycles and to remind cyclists and skate-boarders that they have to walk.

      Liked by 1 person

  31. What a cool way to use the tunnel now! I’m sure it’s a big hit, especially with the youngsters. I have some unusual doors this week, but none with music that goes with them. 🙂 Happy Thursday.


    Liked by 2 people

  32. chava61 says:

    Here is my contribution posted on my relatively new photography blog:

    Liked by 1 person

  33. This is so cool, Norm. thanks for letting us know about this! Joanne, are you thinking what I am thinking? This could be part of our upcoming ROAD TRIP!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Joanne Sisco says:

      Norm beat us to it!! It has been on my list for 2 years and I talked to Karen about it for our road trip in September. Now I want to go even MORE!!!

      Liked by 2 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      You’re welcome Deb. Yes do check it out if you make it out that way. I wish we’d had more time to explore more of the Brockville waterfront area; it sure looked pretty. Hey what is this Road Trip of which you ladies speak? How far east are you planning on coming?


  34. Dan Antion says:

    Wow, Norm. This had to be the most fun Thursday Doors ever! What an interesting experience that must have been. Thanks for the sequence of photos. Those doors are marvelous!

    My post –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thank you Dan. I was trying to figure out how to put the sequence of shots into a slide-show but gave up in frustration. I don’t seem to be very patient when it comes to WordPress lately 😦


  35. Ally Bean says:

    Well I love this. It’s my kind of trippy. Great photos of the colors– and the doors are nice, too. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  36. willowdot21 says:

    This is a really good attraction 💜

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Sherry Felix says:

    There is a Water Street and Pearl Street in Manhattan and Brooklyn too. No fancy tunnel like the one you show here. We do have some lovely old buildings though. Love it. My contribution:

    Liked by 1 person

  38. This is definitely a piece of history being retold in a a marvelous way. I can only imagine the squeals of delight as that light show takes place. This is wonderful, Norm. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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