Canada wouldn’t be the country it is if it wasn’t for the railroad. The vital link from coast to coast opened up what was the vast Wild West to explorers, entrepreneurs and settlers, and helped create the country we know today.
To honour this legacy, CP Rail is launching a cross-country train tour celebrating the 150th anniversary of Confederation, bringing concerts and entertainment, family-friendly activities, treats, a miniature ride-on train and historic train cars from as far back as 1917.
The CP Canada 150 Train stops in Montreal Sunday, August 13 at St. Pierre Square in the Old Port. An iconic diesel locomotive (1958) will lead the train, powering more than 10 beautifully restored Royal Canadian Pacific heritage cars that once carried Prince Philip and Princess Elizabeth before her coronation as Queen, hockey legend Maurice “Rocket” Richard, then-senator John F. Kennedy and his wife Jacqueline, and Canada’s first Prime Minister John A. Macdonald.
The three-hour event, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., will feature performances by champion Aboriginal hoop dancer Dallas Arcand and Juno-winning country music singer Dean Brody, along with special local guests. Montreal performers have yet to be announced.
A festival atmosphere will be created at each of the 13 stops along the tour, which will begin July 28 in Port Moody, B.C. and finish August 20 in Ottawa, following the same route as the very first transcontinental passenger train trip more than 130 years ago, but in reverse order. At each stop, children and adults will be invited to join in decorating a railcar dubbed The Spirit of Tomorrow, writing their wishes for Canada’s future on a commemorative card to be attached to the railcar. The decorated railcar will be displayed later this year as part of the 2017 CP Holiday Train.
Children will also enjoy riding CP’s miniature train, a quarter scale model of a General Electric AC400 locomotive. Other activities on site will include free treats, displays about the history of CP and the role the train company played in connecting Canada. There will also be children’s crafts.
Canadian Pacific Railway, now known as CP Rail, was founded in 1881 to connect Canada from east to west, a great feat of engineering that was completed in 1885.
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