The Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa
The Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa was the creation of two entrepreneurs,
Henry Stark. Howland and Charles J. Pusey, who single-handedly pushed this
short railway line through some of the most rugged territory in the Canadian
Shield of Southern Ontario.
||Snowdon Branch Railway Ontario Chapter 85 with authority to build
from Kinmount to the Snowdon Iron Mines at Furnace Falls
|05 Mar 1880
||Toronto & Nipissing Eastern Extension Railway (Henry S. Howland
President, Charles J. Pusey Vice President.
||Myle Branch Tramway opened
||6¾ miles Kinmount Jct to Furnace Falls under the ownership
of the Snowdon Iron Mines - known as the Myles Branch Tramway
||T&NEE name changed to
||Irondale, Bancroft & Ottawa (IB&O)
||from Kinmount Jct, on the Victoria Railway (previously called Kendricks,
renamed Myles Junction in 1876 and renamed Howland Jct in 1919) to
York River (North of Bancroft)
||Myles Branch Tramway from Kinmount Jct to Snowdon Iron Mines at
||Furnace Falls - Irondale. Steel rails laid Kinmount Jct to
|23 Nov 1893
||Irondale - Wilberforce
||Wilberforce - Baptiste
||Baptiste - Mud Creek (2½ miles east of Baptiste)
|18 July 1899
||Charles J. Pusey with Z.A. Lash as executor of his estate.
||Control Assumed By:
||Z.A. Lash. Lash is General Manager of Canadian Bank of Commerce
and Solicitor for CNoR. Lash is a major creditor of the IB&O and C.J.
|16 Oct 1909
||IB&O Controlled By:
||Mackenzie, Mann & Co (CNoR)
|01 July 1910
||Mud Creek - York River (North of Bancroft) to connect with the COR
|12 Sept 1910
||First Through Train:
||Kinmount Jct to Bancroft
||IB&O Leased By:
||Central Ontario Railway
||COR Acquired By:
||Canadian Northern Railway (CNoR)
||CNoR Controlled By:
||Government of Canada
||Canadian National Railways
|31 March 1960
||Howland Jct - Central Ontario Railway (Last Train)
|30 July 1960
||Howland Jct - Central Ontario Railway (except for part of line through
Domtar Plant in Bancroft)
|In 1870, deposits of iron ore were found in Snowdon Township in
Victoria County in the area of Furnace Falls along the Irondale River.
The rush was on to discover more deposits. The original prospectors,
along with other investors, formed the Snowdon Iron Mine Company to exploit
the deposits. Around 1876, William S. Myles of Toronto bought the
mineral rights to some of the lots around Furnace Falls and took over the
Snowdon Iron Mine Company. At about the same time, Henry S. Howland
of Toronto also invested in the mineral rights to some of the lots.
Henry Stark Howland (1825 - 1902), of Pilgrim
Father and Quaker ancestry, was born at Paulings, NY, and came to Canada
in 1840. He was for many years engaged in the lumber and milling
business in the Klineburg, Ont. area, but later in life became the head
of the wholesale hardware firm of H.S. Howland, Sons and Company, Toronto.
He was a founding director and the first Vice-President of the Canadian
Bank of Commerce. In 1875, he was a founding director of the Imperial
Bank of Canada and became its first president, holding the office until
his death. In public life, he served as Warden of York County (Toronto).
He was active in the promotion of railway construction and was for some
time president of several railway companies whoese lines centred in Toronto.
Myles proceeded to build a tramway to ship out
these ores - subsequently referred to as the Myles Branch Tramway.
The rails were originally square-hewn hardwood logs and the iron ore was
hauled by horse-drawn cars. The line started at Kendricks (about
2.3 miles north of Kinmount on the Victoria Railway), crossed the Burnt
River and went along the south shore of the Irondale River to the mines
located at Furnace Falls.
It took two years to build the tramway due
to the opposition of some of the landowners along the right of way.
Myles spent about $60,000 in building the 6.75 miles of road - part of
these funds being borrowed from the Canadian Bank of Commerce on the security
of a mortgage on the properties of the Snowdon Iron Mine. It may
have been the case that, because the road was operated as a "tramway",
the Myles Branch Tramway was not incorporated as a railway. The records
are very fuzzy on this and the line may have been built in breach of the
By 1878, Myles had abandoned the properties and
Charles J. Pusey of Pennsylvania came in as lessee of both the Snowdon
and Howland mines. In partnership with Howland, Pusey shipped out
about 1,000 tons of ore to the United States in 1878 and 1879. In
1879 the Snowdon Branch Railway was incorporated under Ontario Chapter
85 with authority to build from Kinmount on the Victoria Railway to the
Snowdon Iron Mines - the same territory covered by the Myles Branch Tramway.
It's not clear as to whether the incorporation of the Snowdon Branch Railway
legitimized their operation of the Myles Branch Tramway.