Given Lindsay’s long and rich history when it comes to railways, it’s no surprise that the April 7-8 train show at the Victoria Park Armoury will likely draw a big crowd.
About 1,500 people from across the province descend on Lindsay for the annual event.
“Lindsay used to be a train town — 54 trains a day,” says Lindsay and District Model Railroaders President President Steve Coppin.
“If there was no railway, there would be no Lindsay,” he adds, noting that the town was built up and around the hub of the train stations, which employed 1,800 people along its tracks.
With displays to thrill train lovers of all ages, the show is the only one of its kind in the area.
Ian McKechnie, a train aficionado and Lindsay Advocate columnist, says these sorts of shows are vitally important.
“They have the potential to introduce people, particularly young people, to the principles of electricity, the art of re-creating something in miniature, and the social history behind what was, and in many places still is, a key story in the development of Canada, Ontario, and what is now the City of Kawartha Lakes,” says McKechnie.
“Lindsay’s development as a town was very much influenced by the railways,” he adds.
McKechnie says he was raised with the same electric trains that his own father had once played with many years ago in suburban Richmond Hill.
“Beyond that, I grew up hearing my mother tell stories about the slow freight trains trundling up Victoria Avenue, steps away from where she and her many siblings lived on Bond Street.”
He says train service to Lindsay was in its twilight years by then, “and was gone entirely by the time I came into the world.”
All told, the show will host 11 displays, two of which will feature live steam, and 14 vendors selling new and used trains as well as scenery materials.
The host club’s display features former Lindsay, Coboconk and Mariposa stations, designed and built to reflect historical accuracy where possible.
For the younger conductors in the crowd, a newly refurbished, interactive Thomas the Train display will be set up and manned by junior club member Cole Currie.
The show runs from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. both days.
“It’s a great outing and entertainment at a negligible price,” says Coppin, at just $5 per adult, $2 for children six to 12, and free for younger children.
McKechnie says that local museums and historical societies, working together with other community partners, “must investigate new and creative ways of sharing this heritage with a new generation.”
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