Brockville – August 10, 2017: The City of Brockville is celebrating Canada 150 with a festival called Rails to Trails, August 10 – 13, 2017.
As part of the festival, and on the Saturday (August 12 th ) the Brockville Railway Tunnel Committee will host a tunnel opening ceremony at the tunnel’s south portal. This official opening will be preceded by a tunnel opening parade, starting at Court House Square and following the route used in 1854 for the cornerstone laying parade.
Tunnel Opening Parade:
Saturday, August 12, 2017 from Brockville’s Court House Square, Starting time: 10:30 AM
Tunnel Opening Ceremony:
Immediately after the parade (approximately 11:45 AM), In front of the south portal of the Railway Tunnel
Restoration of the tunnel formally commenced in August 2016, beginning with masonry repair over the winter months by Phoenix Restoration. Design and Implementation of the electrical infrastructure by Dave Bouwers of Ford Electric, who brought a team of local engineering and supply companies together, started in the spring.
A new rock base with drainage and a new concrete pathway has been installed. A lighting system by Philips Lighting has been installed along each side of the walkway. Video cameras, sound system, emergency buttons, WiFi and cell phone service have all been installed in the tunnel to ensure the tunnel’s safety.
The lighting system was designed and manufactured by Philips Lighting, a global leader in lighting. The tunnel has been transformed using Philips Color Kinetics dynamic LED lighting. Over 700 Philips ColorGraze MX4 Powercore fixtures have been installed along the 525 meters of the tunnel turning the historic railway tunnel into a visually stunning walkway.
The tunnel lighting will run a dynamic “Philips Light Show” each day, drawing in local residents and tourists alike. Residents will also be able to request custom lightshows to support events held within the tunnel and at the waterfront. The tunnel will become a central hub for community and visitor activities cementing it as one of the iconic, must-see landmarks in the Thousand Islands region.
Canada’s First Railway Tunnel was completed in 1860 for the Brockville and Ottawa Railway and later owned by the Canadian Pacific Railway until being acquired by the City of Brockville in 1983. Brockville’s Tunnel is a remarkable example of Canada’s pre-Confederation industrial heritage that this restoration project will repurpose for recreation, tourism and economic development.
Phase one of the project includes restoration of the Tunnel and landscaping of the former Canadian Pacific Railway property immediately north of the Tunnel (commonly known as “The Gorge”). Once open, the Tunnel and Gorge will become the newest section of the city’s Brock Trail recreational pathway. Phase two proposes redevelopment of the former Grand Trunk Railway lands west of the Tunnel, south of the CN corridor, with a proposed new Roundhouse-style visitors centre and tour bus parking area, and various improvements proposed for Armagh Sifton Price Park, south of the Tunnel.
The Railway Tunnel Committee’s web site www.brockvillerailwaytunnel.com contains more detail.