Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre is a lively expression of the rich cultural heritage of the Haliburton Highlands. Our charity serves the public interest by bringing the creative arts to life in Haliburton with contemporary art exhibits, community festivals, concerts, weekly programming and workshops. We are open all year and admission is free. Memberships are available and are a way for individuals, artists, studios and businesses to show their support for our organization. Our Main Gallery exhibits work by professional artists and group exhibitions by Members. We showcase locally made one of kind gifts and art in our Artist Boutique and run a summer demonstration series featuring Boutique artists and artisans. Haliburton Art and Craft Festival and Haliburton DrumFest are produced by Rails End every summer; in winter we also present a popular workshop series called “Artlovers’ Staycation”. You will find Rails End represented at most local events and we have an active volunteer community.
The station was built in 1878. At it’s peak in 1880, the Victoria Railway carried 74,600 tons of freight and 68,390 passengers with revenue of $83,580. Passenger service continued until 1972, on demand freight ended in 1978. Fall colour excursion trains stopped in 1970, but station agents were a thing of the past after 1964. Train service stopped completely in July 1980 when the long bridge at McLaren’s Creek burned to the waterline in July and the tracks were torn up in 1983 and 1984. Today the railway bed is the Haliburton County Rail Trail, a popular destination for walkers, off road cyclists and recreational vehicles.
A Cultural Hub
In 1979 the Haliburton Highlands Guild of Fine Arts moved into the Haliburton Station and Haliburton’s public art gallery was born. Fifteen years later, the building had deteriorated due to rot caused by run off from York Street and extensive renovation took place; the station was moved onto a permanent foundation with upgraded plumbing, electrical and heating systems were updated and accessibility features added. Subsequently in 2011 a furnace room was added and the cellar insulated (with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, an agency of the Province of Ontario). In 2016 capital improvements to the main floor are planned, once again with support from the OTF.
Today Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre is a welcoming cultural hub in Haliburton County known for its engaging community programming, contemporary art installations and the annual Haliburton Art and Craft Festival and Haliburton DrumFest. Memberships are available. Rails End is a member of Craft Ontario, the Ontario Association of Art Galleries (OAAG) and Arts Council Haliburton Highlands. The Gallery’s motto is: “Rails End Gallery and Arts Centre: bringing art to life in Haliburton.”
Volunteers and Staff
Curator and Director: Laurie Jones Administrative Assistant: Michelle St. Pierre
A Volunteer Board of Directors meets monthly. Rails End has several committees and Volunteers are one of our most valuable assets. There are many opportunities to help out at Rails End; from welcoming visitors at openings to tending the perennial garden. At our annual Volunteer Recognition Event we celebrate our collective efforts. Here you see some of our friends working on a group “needle felting” project during the 2015 Tea.
Hours and Admission
Admission is by donation.
Labour Day to Victoria Day Wednesday to Saturday 11 -5 Sundays 12 – 3 (closed Dec 24 through January 3 )
Victoria Day til Canada Day: Wednesday to Saturday 11 – 5 and Sunday 11 -3
Canada Day to Labour Day Tuesday 11 – 6, Wednesday 11-6 Thurs/Fri 11 – 5 Saturday 10 – 4 and Sunday 12 – 4
We are located in the beautiful Haliburton Highlands in the Municipality of Dysart et al. Learn more about our cultural environment in this video: