Heritage railway tours and train museums
Train enthusiasts of all ages can see historic rail artifacts and engage in immersive activities at the railway museums. And scenic train rides continue to showcase stunning views of Ontario’s forested hills and valleys, rural plains and rugged wilderness.
Here are some of the top historic trains, rail tours and railway museums in Ontario.
Note: prices and length of trips vary, and tours are weather dependent, so check ahead before you visit. Don’t miss out on train travel, tickets sell out fast.
Scenic train rides in Southern Ontario
Journey through the beautiful landscape of the Oak Ridges Moraine on the vintage Pullman passenger coaches, café cars and caboose belonging to the York–Durham Heritage Railway.
This fleet travels between Uxbridge and Stouffville, a railroad line built in the 1860s.
The York–Durham Heritage Railway is a small non-profit organization that hosts a series of themed train rides throughout the year. Events include “Spring High Tea,” “Summer Family Fun Fest,” “Summer Murder Mystery Dinner and Train Ride,” “Fall Festival” and Christmas train rides.
Location: 19 Railway Street, Uxbridge
Take a scenic heritage tour through Mennonite farm country in Woolwich Township and Waterloo Region.
The Waterloo Junction Railway was built in the 1800s. Today a small fleet of historic steam and diesel-electric locomotives operate along this historic rail line. Passenger train rides between Waterloo, the St. Jacobs Farmers’ Market, the Village of St. Jacobs and the town of Elmira run frequently.
Ticket proceeds from the Waterloo Central Railway go directly towards supporting their operations and restoration programs.
Location: 50 Isabella Street, St. Jacobs
Port Stanley Terminal Rail is Elgin County’s longest running tourist attraction. Operating for over 40 years, this heritage, diesel-powered locomotive travels seven kilometres along the former London to Port Stanley track through the scenic Kettle Creek Valley between Port Stanley and St. Thomas.
Keep an eye out for their special event rides held throughout the year, such as the “Easter Egg Hunt Train,” where kids can meet the Easter Bunny and the “Rare Mileage Autumn Colours Photo Trip” for a glimpse at the gorgeous foliage colours of the autumn season.
The Port Stanley Terminal Rail operates April to December. Check online for departure times.
Location: 309 Bridge Street, Port Stanley
Climb into a restored 1920’s rail coach in Tottenham and ride the rails along a century-old line that once connected Hamilton with Barrie and Collingwood.
Today, the train travels through Beeton Creek Valley and lasts about an hour roundtrip. You’ll enjoy a great commentary from the conductor along the way.
Regular scenic excursion costs $17 for adults, $14 for seniors and $9 for kids aged 3 to 15.
Location: Mill Street West, Tottenham
Scenic train rides in Muskoka and Northern Ontario
Travel back to 1904 aboard the Portage Flyer Train between South Portage and Lake of Bays. Chug alongside the Muskoka River in a turn-of-the-century, open-sided steam engine coach riding an authentic, narrow gauge railway—once the world’s shortest commercial rail line.
At Fairy Lake Station, visit the Steam Train Museum (open when the train is operating). The building is modelled after a typical 1920s Ontario train station and depicts how trains and steam travel opened up the area to settlement, tourism and business development.
The train runs from May to October at select times depending on the season, check online for more details and ticket information.
Location: 100 Forbes Hill Drive, Huntsville
Journey deep into the Canadian Shield on a scenic 182 kilometre rail tour that offers views of pristine northern lakes, granite rock formations, dense forest and native wildlife.
One of the most popular train tours in North America, this one-day adventure lasts for 10 hours. The audio guide will identify points of interest and recount the region’s rich history with stories of the Ojibwe, fur traders, explorers, entrepreneurs and the famed Group of Seven painters.
The train tour includes stopping points for hiking and visits to lookouts and stunning waterfalls (including the Agawa Canyon, Bridal Veil Falls and Black Beaver Falls).
Boxed lunches and coffee are available for pickup with your admission.
The tour season runs every day from August 3 to October 15, 2023, with the train departing at 8:00 a.m.
Location: 99 Huron Street, Sault Ste. Marie
Train museums and rail attractions in Southern Ontario
Learn about Toronto’s railway heritage at this downtown indoor and outdoor museum, located close to the CN Tower. Kids will love riding the miniature train that chugs around the circular railroad track.
The museum is open Wednesdays to Sundays, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. An individual pass costs $20, while a family pass (two adults and up to three children) costs $60.
Location: 255 Bremner Boulevard, Toronto
Explore the history of St. Thomas and its railways at the Elgin County Railway Museum (ECRM).
Known as the “Railway Capital of Canada,” St. Thomas is famous for being an important railway junction in the country, and that more than 100 trains used to pass through the city every day.
Discover its integral role in Canada’s railway history with a variety of experiences such as the History of Motion model train display, which offers a bird’s-eye view of the city’s historic rail yards and the Rolling Stock Gallery.
The Elgin County Railway Museum is open on a seasonal basis. Admission is $13 for adults, $10.50 for seniors and students and $7.25 for children (ages 4 to 14).
Location: 225 Wellington Street, St. Thomas
Discover the rail legacy of Komoka Railway Museum, formerly a busy railway station just outside of London.
Rail themed programs are geared for young steam locomotive enthusiasts. And kids will enjoy the miniature steam train rides throughout the summer.
Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for seniors, $1 for students and admission is free for children under 6 years old. Hours of operation vary so check online before your visit.
Location: 131 Queen Street, Komoka
Fort Erie was once home to the third-largest rail yard in Canada and this outdoor museum pays tribute to its history with several exhibits.
View a 6218 Canadian National Railway Steam Engine, the original Grand Trunk Railway Station, tools and telegraphic equipment and tourist and excursion lines in Fort Erie.
An old CN B-1 Station, once used to monitor traffic over the International Railway Bridge, is now the museum’s office and gift shop.
Fort Erie Railway Museum is open seasonally. Admission is by donation.
Location: 400 Central Avenue, Fort Erie
Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this attraction is home to North America’s largest model railway layouts, depicting Southern Ontario as it appeared in the late 1950s.
Detailed, hand-painted models represent the major Canadian railways, Canadian National and Canadian Pacific, as they travel on great train journeys along the miniature track. The landscape is based on real locations within Southern Ontario, including its structures, rivers and the Niagara Escarpment.
St. Jacobs & Aberfoyle Model Railway is open from April to December, on Saturdays and holidays, between 10:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m. and on Sundays between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults and $5 for children, aged 4 to 12. Admission is free for children under 4 years old.
Location: 1440 King Street North, St. Jacobs
The Halton County Radial Railway (HCRR) is Ontario’s first and largest electric railway museum. A full-size operating electric streetcar runs on two kilometres of tracks passing through the scenic forests of Halton County.
Learn more about the history of electric railways in Ontario and Canada, and tour the various vintage streetcars, radial cars and work cars rescued from the scrapyard by the HCRR. A collection of photographs, memorabilia and archival materials is also on display.
The HCRR Museum is open seasonally. Admission includes unlimited streetcar rides and costs $24 for adults, $22 for seniors aged 65+, $12 for children 4-9, $18 for youth aged 10 to 17 and free for children under 4 years old. A family pass (two adults and two children) can be purchased for $70. Annual passes are also available for unlimited museum visits for a year from the date issued.
Location: 13629 Guelph Line, Campbellville
Also known as the “Steam Museum,” the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology features a collection of artifacts relating to the city’s industrial past and examines Hamilton’s relationship with water, steam power and industrialization.
Guided tours, public programs and special educational events are available for kids and adults alike, such as Train Days, Boats in the Park and The Electric City Festival.
The museum is open Tuesdays to Sundays, from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Tickets cost $9.00 for adults, $7.75 for seniors aged 60+, as well as students aged 13 to 17, and $5.50 for children aged 6 to 12. A family pass (two adults and unlimited dependent children) can be purchased for $24.75.
Location: 900 Woodward Avenue, Hamilton
The Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario is located inside a National Historic Site station building constructed in 1912 in Lanark County. It showcases valuable artifacts and demonstrates how these heritage machines were used.
An optional guided tour is included in the admission. Check for seasonal themed events, such as “All Aboard the Hogwarts Express” for Harry Potter fans and the “Haunted Train” for spooky stories about haunted ghost trains.
For the most passionate train buffs, three heritage cabooses have been converted to provide a unique overnight accommodation experience.
The Railway Museum is open from May to October, every day from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students and $6 for children aged 5 to 12. An annual family pass is $65.
Location: 90 William Street West, Smiths Falls
A popular tourist attraction in Kingston’s Confederation Park, Engine 1905 is a reminder of the city’s industrial past and home of the Canadian Locomotive Company.
More than 3,000 steam, electric and diesel engines, including Engine 1905, were built by the company for the Canadian Pacific Railway. After Engine 1905’s retirement in 1960, it was acquired and restored by Kingston to preserve a significant part of Kingston’s—and Canada’s—rail history.
Engine 1905 is available for public viewing year-round.
Location: Near Confederation Park, Kingston
Experience history in motion in Canada's first railway tunnel! Restored in 2018, this epic historical gem is free to walk through and features a stunning light and sound show. You can choose to walk the tunnel or take a ride on the Tunnel Express train.
Location: Armagh Sifton Price Park, 1 Block House Island Road, Brockville
Train museums and rail attractions in Muskoka and Northern Ontario
Located a half hour drive north of Sudbury, the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum & Heritage Centre is housed in an early twentieth century Victorian house.
Its vast collection of antique tools and equipment from the early days of railroading is dedicated to showing how the railroading industry, along with the lumber and mining industries, helped boost Northern Ontario’s economy.
Both private and self-guided tours are available. The Northern Ontario Railroad Museum & Heritage Centre is open daily between May and the end of August, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Admission is $14 for adults, $10 for students and seniors aged 55+ and $6 for children 12 and under.
Location: 26 Bloor Street, Capreol
A former Canadian Pacific Railway heritage train station was restored and converted into the North Bay Museum to continue telling the story of its role in Canada’s railway history.
The museum offers comprehensive programming and hands-on, interactive exhibits for people of all ages. Kids will especially enjoy the mini heritage train ride.
The North Bay Museum is open year-round on Wednesdays to Fridays, from 12:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults and seniors, and $3 for students and children aged 5 to 12.
Location: 100 Ferguson Street, North Bay
Discover the history of railroading in Kenora at the Lake of the Woods Railroaders Museum.
A large collection of preserved railway items and memorabilia gives visitors the opportunity to learn about its fascinating history. The most popular exhibit is a large model railroad setup that features running trains across scenes from all over Canada.
The museum is open during the summer, Wednesdays to Sundays, from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults and free for children under 12 years old.
Location: Off of Highway 17, Kenor
Last updated: August 29, 2023