Well – which is it? Freeman Station or the Burlington Junction? What do you want it to be?

By Staff

March 19, 2014


In a recent letter sent to the Friends of Freeman Board of Directors,  David explains his reasons for painting “The Burlington Freeman Station”. David’s letter is reproduced below.

“ Over the past 35 years of my art career I have been striving to accomplish one thing, and that is to preserve Canada’s Heritage through my art. This has led me to create paintings of famous Canadian Heritage scenes, buildings, tall ships, covered bridges, lighthouses and more recently a series of Historic Canadian railway stations.

David Harrington’s limited edition print of the Freeman Station is available for purchase – but just to Friends of Freeman Station members.  The membership is a steal at $10 annually.

In 2012, when I read an article in the Burlington Post about a citizen’s group, named the  “Friends of Freeman Station”, attempting to rescue and preserve Burlington’s Freeman Station, I decided that the Freeman Station was definitely worthy of creating a painting that I hoped would capture some of the historical flavour of its famous past. For reference purposes I took over 100 photos of the station when it was temporarily located behind the Burlington fire hall on Fairview Street. I also researched to find historical photos and stories related to its past. In addition,  I managed to talk to some people who recall using the Freeman Station. From all of this information, I decided to portray the station as it stood in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s. 

I decided that the Freeman Station was definitely worthy of creating a painting that I hoped would capture some of the historical flavour of its famous past. To position it to that era, I included a 1957 Chevrolet Bel Air  (a favourite to this day amongst car enthusiasts), and a 1955 era “White Diesel” Coca Cola truck. The Coke truck was added to capture the story of one of the people who used the station frequently, who told me that he usually bought a Coke from the vending machine inside the station prior to the train arriving to take him to Toronto. If you look real close you can also see just a portion of a 1956 Ford Crown Victoria peeking out of the left side of the image.

At that time, for many companies, the train was the main method used for shipping their products. For this reason I thought that I should include, on the railway platform, wooden shipping containers originating from famous Canadian companies of that era. You will note wooden  crates from The T. Eaton Company, Barber Glass of Guelph, Seagram’s of Montreal, G & W of Toronto and Corby’s of Corbyville, Ontario.

I also added the luggage cart from the same era, as well as a mother and child with her 1950’s style luggage, also a business man heading into the station and of course the Coke delivery man. All of which I hoped would add to the sense of history and the hustle/bustle nature of the station in its prime.

I hope that this painting and the limited edition prints produced from this image help in keeping the memories and history of Burlington’s Freeman Station alive and that it may also bring back memories to those who had the good fortune of using this station in the past.

There are not many of these great stations left – so let’s all work together to help preserve Burlington’s Freeman Station!!”

 David Harrington

The Harrington painting is an original done as an acrylic from which a limited edition of 500 prints were made.

While the station is fondly known as the Freeman Station and the organization that was incorporated to save it is known as the Friends of the Freeman Station there appears to be a move to revert to the proper name of the station which is Burlington Junction.  We are told that the Freeman family isn’t all that keen on the idea of their name being attached to the station.

The T-shirts that were used for fund raising purposes are going to soon become collectors items – the couple of dozen left are the end of that production line.  The FoF are in the process of developing ideas for a new logo, a new design and it appears a re-branding of one of the most impressive community initiatives Burlington has seen for some time.

The FoF might want to re-think what they are deciding to do and ask their constituency how they feel.  Either way – it’s a pretty good story.

Background links:

New president at Friends of Freeman.

Fight to save Freeman station is won – city signs joint venture agreement.


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5 comments to Well – which is it? Freeman Station or the Burlington Junction? What do you want it to be?

  • Pat

    Various activities like what?

    I’d rather spend money on a new structure called a HOSPITAL.

    The only activity for the shed that I know would draw a crowd, is having the next July 1st fireworks display fired from inside the shed, kind of like the traditional schoolhouse firework display; that’s what usually brings families together with lots of joy and laughter.

  • B. Jacobs

    This station, when refurbished will be used for various activities. Rather than negative comments, why not help fundraise so the station can be restored, It is so easy to be negative; why not join in & help restore the “shed.

  • Not to confuse things but it was also known as the Burlington West Station.

  • Pat

    I already have a t-shirt. It says “IKEA was here”.

  • Pat

    How about “Old shed on Fairview”.

    Editor’s note: Here is a chance for a “citizen” to show his colours – buy one of those T-shirts before they become a collectors item and look for a way to spend some of your weekend time on the site helping turn that “shed” into something the city has every reason to be proud of.