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Capreol, Ontario (2008)

The Canadian eastbound from Winnipeg to Capreol Nov 30 - Dec 1 2008 The community of Capreol, a CN divisional point in northern Ontario and an important stop of VIA Rail Canada's route of the world-famous "Canadian" passenger service, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in August 2008.

Prompted by a reunion of the Prescott Family, the community organized a massive restoration and re-painting of steam locomotive 6077, with the finishing touches completed by volunteers, as part of Capreol's 90th birthday party. Tony Marquis, General Manager, Operations for CN’s Champlain Division in eastern Canada was on hand as part of the celebration, and made the official induction announcement on behalf of the Railway Hall of Fame. A native of Capreol, he is a third-generation railroader and a former locomotive engineer.

The township was named after Frederick Chase Capreol, a civil engineer from England responsible for building railways throughout Ontario. Frank Dennie, considered the community’s founder, built the first log house and provided land to the Canadian Northern Railway for its divisional point facilities. Capreol became an important point on the Canadian Northern's mainline as train and engine crews operated east to Brent, Ontario through North Bay and west to Foleyet. Many streets were named after Mr. Dennie and his sons.

Capreol VIA Depot, December, 2008Several influential railroaders came from Capreol including Harold Prescott, Mooch DelGreco, Bill McLeish, Gil Sweezey, Wayne Metcalfe, Pat Ross, Laurie Macdonald, Ernie Purcell, Joe Madigan and senior union officials Guy Ethier, Mike Wheten, Todd Cotie and David Colasimone. Several Prime Ministers graced the platform in Capreol while travelling by train across Canada; while Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother and the Governor General greeted “Capreolites” there.

Capreol is still a railroad town, with transcontinental intermodal and merchandise trains changing crews at the station each day as they work their way from Toronto to the west and return. The former roundhouse - converted by CN in later years to a Work Equipment shop, is now owned by a private investor.

In addition to the Millenium Centre project which serves as a training centre for CN, Capreol is also the home of the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre.

Mr. Marquis remarked at Capreol's induction into the Hall of Fame that CN has always played a very active role in the development of the community and the legacy of the railway includes historic mountain type locomotive 6077, the Prescott Park that it is located within, and the caboose and related heritage resources. Capreol's past and present is indeed tied to the ribbons of steel crossing northern Ontario.


Photos: S.I. Smith

 
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