Railcars arrive in Port McNicoll for good
Danny Myette, right, a coowner of Danco House Raising & Moving, was contracted to move four railcars from Orillia to Port McNicoll and set them up on rails. GISELE WINTON SARVIS The Free Press
Orillia’s Ossawippi railcars have finally reached the end of the line.
Headed for Skyline International Developments’ $1.7-billion development in Port McNicoll, the last railcar pulled out of Orillia’s waterfront Friday.
“It’s a long time coming,” Skyline CEO Michael Sneyd said Friday. “We’re really excited for the future...”
The cars fell into Orillia’s hands after the Ossawippi Express restaurant — which was housed in the antique train cars on leased city land along Centennial Drive — went out of business in April 2010.
Four railcars went to Port McNicoll, two were donated to museums and two were scrapped.
The London and Port Stanley No. 4 railcar was donated to the Halton County Radial Railway Museum. The Toronto Railway Historical Association took an 1896 car that survived the 1917 Halifax explosion.
Skyline’s railcars will become part of the development company’s yacht club district along the Port McNicoll waterfront.
Like their use in Orillia, Skyline will use the railcars as a restaurant.
That will require a lot of work.
“All that’s left of the Ossawippi is essentially the shell of those cars,” Sneyd said.
Skyline will be completely retrofitting the interior of each railcar.
One railcar will house a refrigeration unit, the kitchen will be in another and two will be used for the dining/lounge area.
Skyline is also constructing a railway station, which will be connected to the railcars and used as the restaurant’s bar.
“We’d like to get it open for this summer,” Sneyd said. “We realize that’s a very ambitious plan where we are right now, but that’s what we’re trying to achieve.”
The yacht club district will feature the railcar restaurant, the railway station, the S.S. Keewatin and a yacht club with administrative offices for the marina and club facilities.
Tay Township has awarded Skyline the rezoning needed for the restaurant and yacht club facilities.
Skyline must now obtain a site plan.
“We have submitted an initial site plan, but we have yet to submit the revised ones,” Sneyd said. “We’re just in the process of finalizing those.”