Burlington, Ont.— May 9, 2011 – Freeman Station, built in 1906 by the Grand Trunk Railway, is being moved from Burlington Fire Department headquarters to corporately-owned land, thanks to an agreement between the city and manufacturer Ashland Inc.
The relocation was approved April 30, 2012, by City Council, based on a proposal by the non-profit community group Friends of Freeman Station. The historical structure, bought by the city in 2005, will move to land offered by Ashland, a global company that specializes in chemical solutions for consumer and industrial markets.
"I’m thrilled we’ve found a home for the station so restoration can begin soon," said James Smith, president of the Friends of Freeman Station. "Our volunteers have worked very hard to achieve this arrangement. I’m excited by the opportunity and impressed by the positive response from Ashland.”
The city, challenged with finding an agreeable home for historic Freeman Station, in January 2011 approved the creation of an ad hoc committee under the leadership of Ward 2 Councillor Marianne Meed Ward and Ward 6 Councillor Blair Lancaster to look at options for saving Freeman Station. Sites that had already been rejected by the previous City Council were not to be considered.
“The Friends of Freeman Station has done a phenomenal job, and has grown to 243 members,” said Councillor Meed Ward. “The community has really come through for the station, donating more than $30,000. I would like to send a special thanks to Rob and Laura Freeman and Don and Wendy Smith for their lead donations of $5,000 each.”
The relocation of the station is expected to take place later this year.
“It is thrilling to be part of a community success story,” said Councillor Lancaster. “The Friends of Freeman should be proud of the work that you have done. And, on behalf of my colleagues on council, I would like to thank Ashland for stepping up and playing an important role.”
Ashland celebrates a 100th anniversary this year. The current Ashland facility was built in 1912 by the Vera Chemical Company of Canada Ltd. Its four employees manufactured rosin sizing to supply Canadian paper mills. The Hercules Powder Company of Wilmington, Delaware bought the company in 1931. Ashland bought Hercules in 2008.
“We look forward to working with the Friends of Freeman Station to achieve a successful and timely completion of the restoration to Freeman Station,” said Scott Thomson, Ashland plant manager.
“This is a winning situation for all involved,” said Steve Zorbas, Acting General Manager of Development and Infrastructure with the city. “Finding a location where the restoration of Freeman Station can take place is an example of how the community directly contributes to developing a vibrant, prosperous city where partners in government and the private sector can work together to achieve success.”
For more about Freeman Station, visit www.burlington.ca/freemanstation. For more about the Friends of Freeman Station, visit www.freemanstation.ca
Facts about the Friends of Freeman Station
The Friends of Freeman Station is a non-profit community group and registered charity whose aim is to relocate, restore and preserve the historic Freeman Station for the enjoyment of current and future generations. Freeman Station is recognized for its architectural and historic significance by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Culture and Heritage Burlington.
While the group and many members of the public are still hopeful that the station ultimately can be located in Beachway Park, an immediate move will allow FOFS members to begin restoration and continue fundraising and public education in a new and more visible location. Public events are planned in co-operation with Ashland Inc., whose site is celebrating 100 years in Burlington this year.
The City of Burlington owns the station. Restoration is expected to cost $350,000. The station, which used to sit on the CN tracks just west of Brant Street, is being stored behind the Burlington Fire headquarters on Fairview Street.
City of Burlington:
Donna Kell, APR
Manager, Public Affairs
City of Burlington
Ph: 905-335-7600, ext. 7841
Friends of Freeman Station:
Friends of Freeman Station