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Fred Sloman (2003)
The Slomans Very few people have ever given more to the community nor been a greater part of the community than Fred Sloman, the teacher who devoted 39 years of his life on board CN’s School on Wheels car, from 1926 to 1965. During that period he taught children in isolated regions of Ontario. Most of the students taught by Sloman were the children of railroad workers and others were recent immigrants and Cree.

With his wife and five children living with him on the car, Sloman also brought the outside world to each community when he arrived with the school car. Not only was Sloman a teacher, he also helped bring a sense of community to each town he visited. Every evening, the teacher and his wife volunteered their time to give informal classes to the parents of the students. Sloman taught them to speak English and basic living skills, such as how to complete income tax forms and order from a store catalogue. His wife helped the women write letters to family overseas and instructed them in sewing, hygiene and child care. Sloman also ran movies for the communities and organized bingo and card nights.

Northern Ontario in those days was a land of hardships and deprivations, and Sloman diligently shared his knowledge with the locals and made a real difference in their lives. He not only passed on knowledge, but also instilled in his students the importance of education and giving back to the community, which they in turn have passed on to their descendents, who now make up the strong, tightly knit communities of modern northern Ontario. Fred Sloman, whose dedicated and diligent career touched the lives of so many, is a worthy addition to the Heroes of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in 2003.

Photo: Penny Auger

 
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