History of Capreol

The history of Capreol is directly linked to the history of the railroad.  The town was born out of the formation of a railway divisional point.  The Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) was present in this area by 1908 but in 1915, the track was moved from the west to the east bank of the Vermilion River where Frank Dennie had made a land deal with CNR officials.

Frank Dennie.  Photo courtesy of the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre.Mr. Frank Dennie, an entrepreneur and local businessman, was ultimately responsible for the founding of the Town of Capreol.  One day, in 1912, he happened to overhear two railway engineers discussing plans to create a junction at a location where the line coming north from Toronto would meet the line being built from Montreal.  Mr. Dennie searched the area until he found the location post.  He approached the homesteader who owned the land, a Mr. Pierre Poitras, and purchased the 300 acres for a total of $250.  He obtained a patent for the land the following summer and began erecting the first building in Capreol, a pine log structure located about 50 feet from the river.

It is interesting to note that the Township of Capreol was originally named for Frederick Chase Capreol, an Englishman who came up with the idea of building railways in Ontario.  He was a civil engineer who worked to develop many concepts for the building of railways, canals, and bridges.

When Frank Dennie purchased land in the Township of Capreol, he suggested that the town be named after the township.

Not long after purchasing the property, Mr. Dennie met with Sir Donald Mann, a representative from the CNR, in Toronto to negotiate an agreement for the use of the land.  After much debate, it was agreed that Dennie would give the CNR the land they wanted and in return, the CNR promised to make Capreol a permanent divisional point complete with a station, shops, a roundhouse, and a large train yard.  With this agreement, Dennie ensured the economic survival of the fledgling town.  In the 1950's, CNR attempted to move their shops from Capreol to North Bay.  This idea was dropped when the agreement signed between Dennie and Mann was dug out of a safety deposit box.

Many of the streets in Capreol were named for Frank Dennie and his family including Dennie Street, Floyd Street, James Street, and Hanna Street.

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