The train station

Steam locomotive arriving late 19th century

Steam locomotive arriving at Morin Flats, late 19th century.

We are at the site of the Morin-Heights train station. Built in 1895, it was in operation until 1962. The building you see here is a reminder of the original. The arrival of the train was a breath of fresh air for the inhabitants of the North who were isolated for several months of the year and who had to travel long
distances on rugged roads to reach the big centers like Lachute or Saint-Jérôme.

Montfort Colonization Railway

Map of the Montfort Colonization Railway, in the magazine Le Monde illustré, volume 16, no.806, October 14, 1899  Source: BAnQ

The railway line that passed through Morin-Heights was built by the Montfort Colonization Railway Company and linked Saint-Sauveur to Arundel. A transfer at the "Montfort Junction" was made to the Canadian Pacific Railway line, whose Montreal Saint-Jérôme section was inaugurated in 1876.

Train schedule, 1897

Source: MHHA archives
In the beginning, the train was mainly used to transport wood and other valuable products. Trade was facilitated, and economic development could begin. But soon, passenger cars arrived, and a new era began for the community.

The accessibility of the countryside attracted city dwellers who wanted to enjoy outdoor activities. Farmhouses were converted into boarding houses to meet the demand, and large rooming houses were built along the village's main street. In other words, all economic activity was centered around this train station.!

Snow trains

Skiers at the Morin-Heights railway station, circa 1945.
Source: McCord Museum

From the beginning of the 20th century, winter and summer, a whole population lived off of tourism. In 1927, the Canadian National Railway Company, which now operates the Prévost-Saint-Rémi-d'Amherst section on which Morin-Heights is located, adapted the old cars with retractable wooden benches to
transport skis and equipment. This was the beginning of snow trains.

Skiers arrival

Source: MHHA archives

Rowena Lummis Blair remembers the joyful arrivals of travellers.
« Morin-Heights was a bustling village in the days just before World War II. Winter visitors were met at the station by horse and sleigh, with buffalo robes folded high to help protect them from the cold. The sleigh would then go around, dropping off passengers as they went. At that time, tourists stayed at the Bellevue, the Commons, the Rockliffe Inn, the Dew Drop Inn, the Shady Brook, the Minto House, theLaurentian Rest, the Alpino House, Campbell's Farm, Watchorn Farm, the Swiss Inn, the Carriage House.»

« Meeting the train was always a party. Everyone was in their best costumes - the girls, all excited to greet their brothers and boyfriends. Lots of hugs and kisses! Morin-Heights was such a busy town in those days that CN always left two or three extra passenger cars on the side track for the return trip to
Montreal. »

Luxury tourism

Canadian National lunch car, 1940.
Source: Canadian National (CN) archives

The arrival of the trains regulated life in Morin-Heights. The popularity of skiing was dazzling, and people came from far away to ski down the slopes of the Laurentians. As many as 19 trains stopped here every weekend in 1940. Luxury tourism was created thanks to the publicity made in the United States. The
cars transporting the vacationers from New York, Chicago, Boston, and Detroit were nicknamed the millionaires' trains.


Aerobic Corridor

Snow removal on village and country roads only began in the middle of the 20th century. They had previously been plowed with a horse-drawn roller. With the popularity of the automobile, the roads were cleared, and the trains gradually lost their customers.

The last train left in May 1962, and the rails were removed. Part of its right-of-way, between Saint-Jérôme and Saint-Sauveur, was used for the construction of the Laurentian Autoroute, but from Morin-Heights onwards, this route became a linear park, the Aerobic Corridor, managed jointly by the municipalities and the MRCs of the Laurentians and the Pays-d'en-Haut. It is a 58-kilometre trail for biking, walking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing that allows tourists to discover the region from Morin-Heights to Amherst.

Extract of
Morin-Heights | In Harmony with Nature

Morin-Heights | In Harmony with Nature image circuit

Presented by : Municipalité de Morin-Heights
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