Our Mission

To Preserve and Honor Railway Heritage in North America and ensure the future sustainability of the Canada Southern Railway Station.

Our Vision

Recognizing, Honoring and Preserving Our Railway Heritage.

Who Owns the CASO Station

The Station is owned by the North America Railway Hall of Fame.

Where Does the Funding Come From

Funding for the Hall of Fame and the redevelopment of the Station comes from a variety of sources, including private and public donations, memberships, fundraising programs, government agencies, foundations, corporations, sponsorship, and legacies. We now have members and donors from all across Canada, the United States, England and Australia.


The formulation of the Canada Southern Railway Station business plan takes into account three years of research by a number of community partners and consultants. The original draft was developed by a group of students from the Ivey School of Business. The plan compares similar initiatives as well as taking into account the local St. Thomas market.

The first report, the Feasibility Study Summary Report, on the Canada Southern Railway Station, was completed in 2003 by Commonwealth Historic Resource Management Limited. This report presented a series of recommendations and observations for the station holders at the time to consider. It listed a number of goals and actions.

The second report, the St. Thomas Innovation Team Report, was completed in July 2006 by team leader, Glenn Miller, Canadian Urban Institute; Don Loucks, Heritage Architect and Urban Designer, IBI Group; Gary Conkwright, Director, Colleges of Ontario Network for Education and Training; Gordon Harris, Retail Specialist, Harris Consulting; and Philippa Campsie, Communications Consultant, Hammersmith Communications. The team was selected by the Canadian Urban Institute.

The Innovation Report investigated ways to reintegrate the CASO Station as an economic driver for the revitalization of downtown St. Thomas. Although the Innovation Report did synthesize both new ideas for uses of the building and items for immediate action, the report did not provide clear guidelines regarding the implementation of those tasks. Finally, this business plan is action oriented – with specific action items based on four main building use recommendations, namely the use of the banquet hall, retail, office and heritage space. It carefully analyzes and determines specific tasks NARHF will undertake for the recommendations to be implemented.

The large dining hall, the ambiance and the rich heritage of the building make in an ideal venue. The CASO Station will offer a comparable list of services in order to be able to compete effectively. In addition, the CASO Station will differentiate itself further from the typical St. Thomas banquet hall with. With the Station's unique architecture, attractive high ceilings and hardwood floors, as well as the availability of space, it is reasonable to assume that these aspects will increase the interest in using the facility.

Space on the first floor will be allocated for retail space, drawing locals and tourist to the Station and bringing in revenue that will help make the station sustainable. These stores will be the driving force in drawing visitors to the CASO Station. The flow of customers to the building will help build an appreciation of the building amongst the local population, and with this exposure will be able to increase the number of volunteers and the volume of donations to maintain the building.

The North America Railway Hall of Fame will be the major tenant at the Station, and will also provide education and programming that will focus on culture, heritage and community. The agency will also oversee the use of the Anderson Hall, Ladies Waiting Room and the Station Board room. The second floor office space will be occupied by a diverse variety of potential tenants.

Canada Southern Railway and Station Heritage will be presented in the waiting rooms, the second floor hall and dining room. The history of St. Thomas and area is closely connected with the growth and development of the Canada Southern and its successor railways.

The success of the building is associated with the perception of the building, "everything to do with marketing….and the Station has that ability". The CASO Station is a perfect candidate to be a central gathering area for the people of the community, and the restoration of the Station will help revive the city's downtown core. The re-development of the CASO Station will help create new job types in different areas, further diversifying the employment found in St. Thomas.

The CASO Station also has the potential to become something great for the people of St. Thomas. When the CASO Station is complete, the facility will be brand new, providing renters with more value for their money. In addition, renters will be willing to spend extra money for the Station as other high-traffic businesses will also increase their sales.


Newsletter Spring 2017

Newsletter Fall 2016

Newsletter January 2013

Newsletter June 2012


Tenants include Jeff Yurek, MPP, Ferguson DiMeo Lawyers, My Insurance Broker Corp.-Tim Sheridan, Karen Vecchio MP, Primerica and Las Chicas del Café, Elgin-St. Thomas Community Foundation


The Canadian Southern Railway Station is one of the most historic buildings in St. Thomas. It was completed in 1873 and made St. Thomas part of a continent-wide rail system that brought growth and prosperity to this community. Our tours will take you to the waiting rooms, dining room and second floor administrative headquarters. You will view artifacts of the station, learn about the station’s history, find out about some of its famous visitors, and learn about the North America Railway Hall of Fame inductees. Tours should be pre-booked and are on a donation basis.


John Shapendonk President
Matt Janes Vice President
Barry Fitzgerald Treasurer
Serge Lavoie Director
Angie Wait Director
Ron Bareham Director
Ted Bear Director
Carol Watson Director
Blaine Skirtschak Director
Brad Lister Director
Mike Kerkvliet Director


Larry Longfield Executive Director 519-633-2535
Tyler Roberts Hospitality Manager
Nancy Luftenegger Asst. Hospitality Manager
Terry Marshall Facility Manager
Brad Roe Asst. Facility Manager
Debbie Stojkovic Accountant 519-633-2535