The Little Station
Artist: Luke Despatie
What is the Little Station?
The Little Station is our three-season gallery and installation space.
Critical Mass programming occurs across many locations, depending on the nature of the event.
The Little Station, however, is a place of our own to host events and interact with our community.
Check our Where to Find Us page to see when we’re open and how to find it!
A Piece of Port Hope History
The Little Station’s complete history remains something of a mystery, but we do know that it stands as a remnant of early Canadian railway history. Recognized for its heritage value by the Municipality of Port Hope in the 1980s, the Little Station has had an unexpected journey around town.
Built in the mid 1850s, the Little Station might have been the first railway station built in Port Hope—by the Grand Trunk Railway Company of Canada for its Port Hope, Lindsay, and Beaverton Line.
Architectural clues like its low gable roof and three foot overhang with elaborate brackets allow us to place its likely original function as a fully-functioning passenger station. We can envision it as it once was with benches, a pot bellied stove, and a ticket wicket—a place of connection for the people of Port Hope.
As railway travel boomed, a new station was built in 1856 and the Little Station became a baggage shed. Rail travel along the corridor continued to grow and the Little Station was again outgrown. The building was donated to a railway employee who themselves later donated it to the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO). They in turn lent it to the Port Hope Yacht Club and somewhere along the way the Little Station ended up relocated to the Port Hope harbour.
Breathing New Life into an Old Space
In early 2018, with the Port Hope harbour slated for major development work and the Little Station at risk of being demolished, the ACO began to advocate for a new use for this historical building. The ACO agreed to lease the Little Station to Critical Mass to transform and animate the historic building.
On June 20th, 2018, the Little Station was once again uprooted and relocated to its current home in Lent Lane. With the help of the ACO, community volunteers and contributors, and long hours of work, the Little Station underwent extensive cleaning, repairs, and repainting.
The Little Station has now been restored and rehabilitated with a new lower level, and stands as a new home and hub for Critical Mass. Once again a place for the people of Port Hope to expand their horizons, Critical Mass is excited to re-imagine and transform the Little Station into a small centre for contemporary art.
The Little Station is finally proudly placed, back where it belongs: on the old Grand Trunk Line!