masthead image

Tomiko

History

Town site photo

The original Tomiko station, ca. 1912

©Source: Lloyd Leonard

Tomiko is situated at mileage point 27.5 in Stewart Twp. on the Ontario Northland railway. The community started out in an isolated location as a siding, station, water tower and section village. The railway established a town site and by 1906, 354 residents were well entrenched at Tomiko. There was also a Baptist church.

The community was solely based on railway maintenance and lumbering. A few small mills were opened to produce ties and lumber for the railway's needs. By 1910 the village had two stores, a small school and post office, opened in 1906. Nearly two-dozen homes were built, along with a two bunkhouses; one for the railway men and the other for the lumbermen.

Tomiko's life was very brief. The church was closed by 1916. By 1921 the village had declined to the point where only the section village and one store were left. A few families subsisting off trapping and other prospects remained to form the remaining 63 residents.

After the depression began, railway crews were trimmed down and Tomiko dwindled to fewer than 20 residents. The school closed around the same period. During the 1940's the section village rebounded to 30-40 residents. With more school children in the immediate area, a railway school car was instituted to educate all the children along the line from North Bay to Cobalt. The larger stop was at Tomiko. The car would remain on the siding for one week every month.

By 1957 most of the line can been converted to diesel and the water tower and extra crews were no longer needed. By 1961 only 17 permanent residents remained. In 1966 the population dropped even lower - to 13 - when the last section crews were removed for good. The bunkhouse remained open for occasional use. The post office closed in 1966 and store in 1968. By 1971 Tomiko was completely abandoned. Today only three original homes remain. The new station, built in the 1940s, still stands and is used occasionally as a bunkhouse.

Special thanks to Lloyd Leonard for the image of the original Tomiko station.