Saturday, June 26, 2010

Canada Day: Canada by Train II

Presenting Trackside Treasure's second Canada Day homage to our great lone land, here are trackside scenic views, accompanied by excerpts from "The Colour of Canada" . The book, with prose by the late Hugh MacLennan: Nova Scotia-born novelist, Rhodes scholar, five-time Governor-General's Award winner and Companion of the Order of Canada, was originally published in Canada's Centennial year, 1967.

Canada covered hoppers load grain at Viking, Alberta.

The stark word PIONEER is still apt on this grain elevator on the siding of the transcontinental railway line which links it to Montreal and Vancouver. On thse plains when the first settlers came in, the creak of the wooden wheels in the Red River carts sounded for miles; then came the lonely wail of the whistles on the steam locomotives; now, there's the penetrating blare of the new horns on the Diesels.
Banff retrospective from onboard VIA No 1 (above).

The natural division between the Prairies and the cordilleran West is the most dramatic of them all. The piercing of the vast ranges of the British Columbia mountains by the railways was Canada's greatest single response to the physical challenge of her environment.

East of Devona, Alberta on CN (below).

At Calgary the foothills begin, rolling like the smaller waves that herald the moment of the titanic seas of a hurricane. Beyond them the earth-waves are grey, minaretted, the earth in tempest all the way to the Pacific.
Country road and the Rockies appear west of Redner, Alberta.

When you travel across the far western prairie the dramatic moment comes, not when you see the skyline of the Rockies, but when you reach the visible tilt when the prairie begins the rise.
Sunset from the Park car near the Manitoba-Ontario border.

Suddenly you see black earth appearing and then you are in a land-ocean, the black prairie of Manitoba, on the horizon is a grain elevator and the onion dome of a Ukrainian church.
Beaver dam and pond near Hornepayne, Ontario.

The breaching of the frontier between Ontario and the West is still the greatest achievement in the history of Canada. In this age of masses and abstractions, let it not be forgotten that this was the work of a very few men, that guts and imagination working together are the expression of the Divine in human life.
Fall foliage from the vestibule near Upsala, Ontario.

From Ottawa to the Prairies along the line of the Canadian Pacific you travel for a night, a day and most of the night following and nearly all of this journey is through the empty land of the Shield, the train wiggling like a mechanical snake around little lakes, with aspens and spruce blurring past the windows.
An A.J. Casson pine from a coach vestibule south of Sudbury, Ontario

The North begins in Ontario at Georgian Bay. It was here that Tom Thomson and his colleagues of the Group of Seven first painted the Canadian northland as it truly is, and thereby enabled millions of their countrymen to see the nature of their land.
Big sky and stooked hay east of Napanee, Ontario.

The farmland of Ontario seems almost too good to be true. It is gentle, rich and rolling, well watered, soothed by mists and moisture from the Great Lakes.
The iron-rich red soil along Rustico Harbour, PEI. This is a roadside, not trackside view taken after CN left the island. However, on my previous visit to PEI was 1982, there was still rail service.

Not all the Maritimes are stern and rocky; Prince Edward Island is almost a garden, famous for its potatoes, dairy products, the straightforward honesty of its people, its bathing beaches, its superb Malpeque oysters and Anne of Green Gables.
CC-130 Hercules and CF-5 Freedom Fighters as CFB Trenton, Ontario.

The air was crisp, the wind-scoured sky was cloudless. Finally the name "Canada" was spoken, the new Maple Leaf flag went up and instantly a squadron of RCAF planes cracked over in salute and burst upward like a fan of rockets into the blue.

Running extra...

I suppose I could have worked something subtly bilingual like "Cana-deux" into the title of this second Canada Day tribute.

The Great Northern featured Rocky the Goat, the mascot of the "Vandoos" is Batisse X.

As a country linked by two (until recently) transcontinental railways, it's not surprising they both have the word "Canadian" in their names. Can you think of a single U.S. railroad with "American" in its name?

Yep, I changed my Blogger template; it's farewell to Rounders 2. Until now, template changes were fraught with peril and could result in the catastrophic loss of blog content. Appearance is understated for now, but there are lots of truly freaky backgrounds available in categories like The Arts, Food & Drink and Patterns. What, no flaming penguins or train GIF's?


Canadian Train Geek said...

You need to have ANIMATED train GIFs to be truly up to date (for 1995).

Seriously, I like the new template. I'm all about the understatement.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Steve. The only other blog I've seen that uses an unchanged Rounders template is Byron Henderson's.

Now, about those spammers...