Franz Station

Years of prosperity

Built in 1912 by the Canadian Pacific Railway, the Franz Station served for decades as an interchange and connection point for passengers in the region.

Means of transportation and source of income

The railroad was essential to the survival of isolated communities and businesses in Northern Ontario, allowing the movement of goods and passengers. In the case of the Dubreuil brothers, it served not only as a means of transportation, but also as a stable source of income. 

After settling in Magpie, the company immediately began supplying railroad ties and logs to the CAB, a contract that lasted for many years.

The 519

In its early days, getting to the village of Dubreuilville was difficult. Travellers had two options: the Algoma Central Railway to Franz (about 21 km away) or a company-owned float plane.

Because of the obvious need for a road that would connect Dubreuilville to the Trans-Canada Highway, which was 30 km away, the Dubreuil brothers financed and built what later became Secondary Road 519.

Although the road was originally built to accommodate the Dubreuil brothers' logging trucks, the town's residents began to use it to run errands in Wawa and to visit extended family in Quebec.

Station relocation

Franz's train station has since been relocated to Dubreuilville and served as a tourist information center and library for many years. It is now privately owned by a local resident.

The Gate

An accident prompted Dubreuil Brothers to install a barrier at the junction of Highway 17 to limit road access.

Authorized only

Highway 519 was winding and dangerous. In the winter of 1964, a major accident nearly took the lives of several Toronto forestry students who were heading north to see the state-of-the-art technology at Dubreuil Brothers. It was this accident that prompted Dubreuil Brothers to install the gate.

The gate was manned by a Mr. Gaudette, who, equipped with a radio and a logbook, monitored and recorded all incoming and outgoing traffic. Dubreuiville officially became a gated community!  No one could enter or use the road leading to it without permission.

Lavaléville

The concept of a gated community in the Northern Ontario wilderness was quite new and even inspired Franco-Ontarian playwright André Paiement to write Lavalléville after visiting Dubreuilville.

Loading lumber

Dubreuil & Brothers was able to load its wood products directly onto the Algoma Central Railway (ACR) cars and ship them directly to the Lumber Park in Sault Ste Marie.

A unique solution

The Dubreuil brothers finally obtained lumber rights in the Franz area, which prompted them to move from Magpie to the new village of Dubreuilville.

The harvested wood had to be transported by train from Franz to Dubreuil Lumber Park in Sault Ste Marie. Since Franz was 20 km from the Dubreuiville mill, the logs had to be trucked in first, which caused delays and added costs.  To alleviate this problem, a 30-foot deep valley was filled with gravel and 3,300 feet of rail was laid.

The diamond

Built in 1912, the original location of Franz Station is one of the few places where the ACR line crosses the Canadian National (CN) line. This crossing, also known as the Diamond, provided a connection to the world in all directions from the backyard of Dubreuilville.

Recruitment Center

Railway stations are often used as recruitment centers for new employees.

It was very common for individuals and families to come and settle with the intention of staying for a few years, and eventually staying for life.

One day, Raymond Lefrançois was traveling from Quebec to Alberta to find work. One of the Dubreuil brothers met him at the Hawk Junction train station (near Wawa) and hired him on the spot. Once in Dubreuilville, Lefrançois met his future wife with whom he started a family.



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Excerpt of
Historic Tour of Dubreuilville

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