Have you been to Canada’s first railway tunnel? This half a kilometre tunnel in Brockville was constructed between 1854 and 1860 as part of the Brockville and Ottawa (B&O) Railway that tied the St. Lawrence River to the Ottawa River to take part in the lucrative timber trade.
The tunnel, located beneath the city of Brockville was completed in 1860, with its construction beginning in September 1854. It was completed for the Brockville and Ottawa Railway and then in 1983 was owned by the City of Brockville.
The half a kilometre (525 metres) long tunnel starts from Water Street at Armagh S. Price Park and runs in a north/south direction, exiting north of Pearl Street. The tunnel is 14.5 feet wide and 14 feet high and passes underneath Brockville City Hall.
During its construction, three different tunnelling methods were used throughout its length, making it a major accomplishment in its time. This industrial heritage has been restored and is visited by thousands of people who want to journey back in time.
Some new changes have been made, such as the north end path of the tunnel now leads to a parking lot. To make the tunnel more accessible to people using wheelchairs, the north end gorge has a paved ramp to enable them to travel through the Tunnel south to Armagh Sifton Price Park at Brockville’s waterfront.
Why Should You Visit Brockville Railway Tunnel
The tunnel is brought to life with a 90 minutes show including colourful lights, sounds and great music, so there’s plenty of time to walk the tunnel back and forth.
The LED lighted tunnel that has 735 light fixtures, each with 48 programmable Light Emitting Diodes, for a total of over 35,000 LEDs. There are a variety of special effects that you can enjoy at this marvellous piece of Victorian-era engineering.
There are thirteen information plaques along its length, where you can read all about its history and construction. The floor of the tunnel is paved with concrete, making it safe to walk on. However, wearing proper footwear is recommended as the floor may be slippery in some sections. The floor is slippery and wet because the centre third of the tunnel is unlined, resulting in water dripping down from above. This dripping water has resulted in the formation of several gorgeous and colorful mineral deposits along the walls.
The tunnel is also much cooler than the outside air (average temperature inside is about 13 degrees Celsius year-round) making it a great spot to visit during summer!
Brockville Railway Tunnel Hours
During a normal year, the tunnel opens for public touring from the first weekend of April to the end of November. Once open, you can access it daily from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM.
COVID-19 Hours & restrictions
2021 – The Brockville Railway Tunnel is now open seven days a week, including statutory holidays, from 9am-9pm.
COVID-19 guidelines should be observed within the tunnel and it is mandatory to wear masks and to maintain a distance of 2 meters from others.
Brockville Railway Tunnel Admission
This incredible experience is completely free to the public. However, donations can be made to the tunnel via the donation box inside the tunnel.
Brockville Railway Tunnel Location
The tunnel’s entrance is located in historic downtown Brockville at Armagh Sifton Price Park, directly south of City Hall at Water St.
Address: 1 Block House Island Rd, Brockville