Tourist railroads and railroad museums in Ontario offer visitors a chance to experience what rail travel was like back in the old days.
Agawa Canyon Train, Sault Ste.
The most famous excursion train in Ontario. Great scenery, especially in the fall when you can enjoy the awesome fall colours. Note: the fall trips sell out MONTHS in advance, so you need to book early if you plan on going. Northern Ontario.
Community Waterfront Heritage
Centre, Owen Sound
Housed in a former CN station on the harbour, the museum features an old caboose and dining car on site, as well as working train models and exhibits.
Credit Valley Explorer, Orangeville
Three-hour scenic tourist railroad with meal service running between Orangeville and North Brampton.
Elgin County Railway Museum, St. Thomas
St. Thomas used to be called “the Railway Capital of Canada” because it was a hub for many railway companies, including a major line that ran between Detroit and Buffalo. This museum is full of restored heritage trains, a model railway, and train memorabilia. It’s located in downtown St. Thomas, right next to the former train station housing the railroad museum, the North American Railway Hall of Fame (see below).
Halton County Radial Railway, Milton
An outdoor living history museum with a collection of antique streetcars. Ride the beauties of the past. Buy a ticket and you can ride all day. Great family fun. Near Toronto. Click the link above for my detailed review.
North American Railway Hall of Fame/Canada Southern Railway Station, St. Thomas
This massive, former train station (built between 1871-1873) was once a major hub for many American and Canadian railway lines. The building has been lovingly restored and now houses a small railroad museum called the North American Railway Hall of Fame, as well as offices and a very grand event space for weddings and conference, etc. It’s definitely worth a visit to see a remnant of the “glory days” of railway travel. See also, above: Elgin County Railway Museum.
Northern Ontario Railroad Museum & Heritage Centre, Capreol
This museum features restored locomotives, boxcars, and artifacts from early Canadian trains, including a box car designed to look like an old “school train” from Northern Ontario.
Palmerston Railway Heritage Museum
The museum is located in the old railway station. Onsite you'll find railway memorabilia and an antique caboose that sits outside of the museum. http://www.palmerstonrailwaymuseum.com/
Port Stanley Terminal Rail, Port Stanley
This heritage train offers scenic train trips between Port Stanley and St. Thomas.
Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario, Smiths Falls
The railroad museum has over 10,000 artifacts including a 1912 Steam Locomotive, a 1947 Canadian Pacific Cadillac track inspection car, a Dental Car used in Northern Ontario to serve remote communities, and Nolans Flagstop station.
South Simcoe Railway, Tottenham
Operates trains from the 1920s era, from downtown Tottenham to Beeton. Journey takes just under an hour.
Toronto’s Roundhouse Park & Toronto Railway Historical Association, Toronto
This unique park is located in the shadows of Toronto’s CN Tower. Here you’ll find an antique roundhouse (repair shop for trains) re-purposed for retail, a brewery and a train museum, as well as a toy train ride for kids, and some gorgeous train-themed murals.
Waterloo Central Railway
Runs from Waterloo to St. Jacobs and Elmira. Runs special "murder mystery" train rides too. Various train cars from the teens and 1920s.
York-Durham Heritage Railway
Runs heritage trains between Stouffville and Uxbridge. Operates a small museum in the former CNR railway station in Uxbridge.
You may enjoy:
For regular train passenger service, see my story on Train Travel in Canada.