The importance of transportation to a trading nation as vast as Canada cannot be underestimated. The great distances between mines, farms, forests and urban centres make efficient transport systems essential to the economy so that natural and manufactured goods can move freely through domestic and international markets. Transportation has and will continue to play an important role in the social and political unity of Canada.
The railway was designed to link the 3 lakes for which it was originally named - the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Railway. It opened in May 1853 when the locomotive Toronto (made in Toronto) hauled the first steam train in present-day Ontario from Toronto to Machell's Corners (present-day Aurora).