CBC Fiftieth Anniversary VIA Train
By Lorraine Symons
We left the Brockville station on the 10:10 a.m. train bound for Ottawa
Ontario. My friend Darlene and I were going to the Science and
Technology museum to tour the CBC's 50th Anniversary train that was in
town for the day. This train, which began its journey in British
Columbia, has been traveling across the country making stops along the
way and will finish its journey in Nova Scotia. It is a celebration of
the fifty years of the Canadian Broadcasting Corp.
Our train arrived in Ottawa right on time and we hailed a cab for the
ten-minute ride to the museum.
It was evident that many schools were present today, as the different
exhibits and play centres were jammed with children of all ages. There
were colouring contests, face painting, and clowns, jugglers and
magicians performing for their appreciative audiences.
One centre had two Ottawa Senator hockey players signing autographs and
answering hockey related questions. But when Leo Gravelle, a former
Montreal Canadian hockey player, made an appearance the line-up grew
longer for an opportunity to speak with, and acquire his autograph.
The CBC display was housed in two converted baggage cars. One of the
curators told us it took a year to complete the conversion of these
cars, the work being done in Toronto, and memorabilia was on loan from
the CBC museum in Toronto.
There were numerous old photos with the displays, and actual costumes
and props of many of these much-loved t.v. programs. Maggie Muggins',
Friendly Giant, Chez Helene, Mr. Dress-up, and Howdy Doody were but a
A section on the old camera equipment once used, and showcases'
displaying some of the many awards won over the years by the CBC was
A little further down the track was Via Rails new Renaissance train; the
passenger and sleeper cars were open for public inspection. It was nice
viewing these cars in daylight as I had only seen them at night. First
time visitor expressions of "ooh" and "ahh", and "look at this"
confirmed their surprise and pleasure at scrutinizing these cars up
I took a few pictures of the wheelchair accessible bedroom with its
wider doorways, much larger bathroom and lower positioned bed. It is
nice to know that people using a wheelchair can be comfortably
accommodated on these trains. There were plenty of Via staff on board
to answer any questions, and the Via information booth outside had many
give-aways for anyone coming in for a visit.
The Renaissance car numbers were: engine # 907 and cars
The afternoon was quickly slipping away, so we again hailed a cab and
proceeded back to the station to await our 4:45 p.m. train to
Brockville. While waiting in the ticket line we met David Jeanes, of
Transport 2000 Canada, who recognized our Train Web shirts. We chatted
about train station architecture in general, and talked of the old
Ottawa Union Station, in my opinion, the most beautiful station in
Canada. At 4:30 we boarded our train, content to sit back and enjoy
the hour and ten-minute ride back to Brockville. Arrival time was 5:55
p.m. On time.