Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Montreal-Vancouver Round Trip, August 1968 Scenery & Canada Day 2016

From August 5 to August 23, 1968 my parents and siblings travelled from Montreal to Vancouver on CN. It seems fitting to publish this post just in time for Trackside Treasure's annual observance of Canada Day - celebrating the treasure found trackside across this country! Check out Canada Day 2015, Canada Day 2014, and Canada Day 2013 which includes links to all previous years' posts!  In subsequent posts, I'll include photos of the trains we rode and our family's activities on this trip. Thanks to my brother Dave for scanning these photos taken by our father, L.C. Gagnon. Includes are some passages from a trip account written by my mother. Typical Canadian Shield topography east of Winnipeg (top photo), and a Winnipeg streetscape during an impromptu taxi tour that we took on August 7:
"Our original intention was to see if there was a city bus tour; Laurie also had a hankering to take a bus out to Lower Fort Garry, being a fan of Fort Henry at Kingston, Ontario. After research and discussion, we settled on a Moore's taxi tour to Lower Fort Garry, which turned out to be not too far from Winnipeg ($17.50). As we drove out of town I noticed a Greek Orthodox church."
"The aspect of the land changed dramatically outside Winnipeg. Grassland stretched flat and far off to the horizon. I drew the children's attention to the black soil in gardens beside the farmhouses and in cleared spots at the edges of fields. At home the soil is brown, here it was a black as black could be."
Not the first grain elevators we'd passed, these are at Wainwright, AB on August 8:
"During the night we had passed completely through Saskatchewan, seeing absolutely nothing of it. I remembered it from my trip before as having been flat. Now we were into the rolling hills of Alberta. There were also gullies, or I believe 'bluffs' as they are called there; there was still some black earth, but the predominant colours were brown and greens."
The first view of the Rockies and our train, CN No 5 the Panorama:
"At last we broke into the Rockies. The children were much impressed with the mountains. There was a steady click-click of cameras by Laurie and his understudies! We followed several green streams, and went through one tunnel."

CP's Princess Patricia in Victoria harbour August 14
 Returning east aboard CN No 2 the Super Continental, skyscape west of Edmonton on August 21:
Saskatchewan Pool elevator at Spy Hill SK, August 22
Approaching Winnipeg on August 22 - sunflowers again:
End-of-train east of Winnipeg also on August 22 (below):
"We ate supper on schedule at 1800 during a long stop at Sioux Lookout, a rather barren spot. Eric went to sleep at the table and I kept having to jar him awake for the next mouthful. We were into the Canadian Shield country now, and you know what THAT is like."
Late the next day our family would detrain at Dorval, having observed forests, prairies, and mountains; seascapes, skyscapes, sunrises and sunsets!

"I felt I should apologize for the length of this account. But when I considered the mileage we had covered and the number of days there were to write about, I didn't feel as foolish. And I did want to tell you about MY COUNTRY - at least as I saw it."

Happy Canada Day to all readers of Trackside Treasure - Eric.


Brian P Schuff said...

Great views of times gone past. 1968 on the CN...Red,White and Blue fares and multiple trains...great images.

Eric said...

Thanks, Brian. In the wake of Expo67, this was indeed perhaps the last gasp for CN passenger service. Watch for more posts with more images and more retro-ness!

Zartok-35 said...

Happy Canada day, Eric! Cool stuff. It's a shame that schedule overnighted Saskatchewan, it's not all flat out here; the bridge in your current header photo is one of our scenic wonders.
The Compendium replacement is absolutely wonderful; thankyou very much!

Eric said...

Happy Canada Day to you, too Elijah. Glad you liked this post. Yes, there should always be more Saskatchewan!

Also glad that the Cross-Canada Compendium replacement reached you OK. Whatever it takes to keep a VIAphile on track, I'll do it!

Thanks for your comments,

GP9Rm4108 said...

Great to see a picture of the Spy Hill elevator!

Michael said...

You're lucky to have such a warmly written account of our country. Hope your Canada Day was stellar.

Eric said...

Thanks for your comments, Chris and Michael. That Spy Hill elevator is a slender one! There will be more to come from my Mom's account in the next two parts of the series as well. Sometimes humorous, sometimes the result of two days in a sleeping car compartment with kids, sometimes patriotic, sometimes poignant!

And then there's that well-adjusted little blond-haired boy! Sometimes angelic, sometimes charming, always entertaining and well-trained!
Eric, that's me

Allison said...

Thanks for this! It must have been hard to choose just a few photos and a few quotations!
We had homeschooling before it was fashionable...and it was in addition to school-schooling...and we surely come by our various ways of documenting and archiving quite honestly!

Eric said...

Watch for two more posts. Equally selective from the photographic plethora! The family one will be amusing!

Anonymous said...

The photo from the rear of the Super is so typical of much of Canada, and could have been taken in may locations between Vancouver and Halifax. An essential shot for the serious CN modeller.

Steve Lucas

Eric said...

Good eye, Steve. Not bad considering my Dad was likely holding on for himself, and perhaps child or two accompanying him to the vestibule while taking the photo!
Thanks for your comment,