Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Ordinary Canadians with Extraordinary Stories Lead 2006 Inductees to Canadian Railway Hall of Fame
OTTAWA -- Ordinary Canadians whose everyday work contributed to the railway industry in Canada are leading the group of 2006 inductees into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame– a virtual exhibit that honours the heroes, technologies, leaders and communities of the Canadian railway industry.
“This year’s inductions illustrate the important role that ordinary Canadians have played in helping the Canadian railway industry grow and prosper,” said Les Kozma, director and chairman of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame. “Without these people, our industry would never have made it to where we are today.”
Joseph Earl Shaw, who was born in 1916 in the Canadian Northern Railway depot in Condie, Sask., for example, devoted his working life to Canadian railways. Shaw worked as a station manager, telegrapher, dispatcher, chief dispatcher, and retired as trainmaster in 1978 in Edmundston, N.B. He continues to promote the railways with his extensive knowledge, and the name “Earl Shaw” is still well-known in Maritime railway circles.
Jess C. Nowicki, a third-generation railroader whose family helped build the railway westward, has devoted his life to educating about Canada’s railways. Well-known as the “Trainman” on the Park Car of the Canadian between Field and Medicine Hat, Nowicki would often give impromptu history lessons to passengers. He was also active in the community, receiving their heritage diesel locomotives for Medicine Hat’s downtown park. Also 90 years of age, Nowicki still tells the stories about his first-hand experiences on the railway.
“Both Joseph Earl Shaw and Jess C. Nowicki have been inducted into the ‘heroes’ category of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame,” said Kozma. “We would like to congratulate them and thank them for their continuing contribution to this industry.”
Father Albert Lacombe has been inducted posthumously into the hall of fame. Born in Saint-Sulpice, QC on February 28, 1827, Father Lacombe spent his early life on the family farm before being ordained into the Oblate order in 1849. Best remembered for his brokering of peace between two ancient rivals, the Cree and the Blackfoot, his negotiations between the Blackfoot and the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1883 was instrumental in the finishing of Canada’s first transcontinental railway. For his part, Father Lacombe was honoured as president of the CPR for one hour and will now be remembered as a leader in the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame.
Other 2006 inductees to the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame include:
Railway artist Max Jacquiard, whose paintings are featured in homes and offices across North America, has been painting steam trains exclusively since 1981. His paintings are vital in remembering the importance steam trains played in North American history and have revived the imagination of train lovers across the country. Max grew up in Flin Flon, Man., and later moved to Coquitlam. B.C.
The Myra Canyon Trestles, also known as “McCulloch’s Wonder,” were constructed in the early 1900s by the Kettle Valley Railway as part of a secondary mainline route. The railway’s Chief Engineer, Andrew McCulloch designed and constructed the route through the Myra Canyon, near the city of Kelowna, British Columbia.
The design involved the building of 20 trestles over a six-mile route through the canyon by seemingly hanging engineering works along canyon walls, several-thousand feet above the canyon floor. Despite being partially destroyed by fire in 2003, the trestles are being rebuilt and are scheduled to be completed by 2007.
The community of Melville, Sask. is being recognized as an integral railway divisional point between Winnipeg and Edmonton. Melville, named after Grand Trunk Railway President Charles Melville Hays, became home to railway crews working throughout Western Canada. Grand Trunk Pacific Railway also used Melville as the site for a large roundhouse and important service facilities for its steam fleet.
Today, Melville is still an important service town for nearby potash and mixed farming operations, continues to be an important divisional point for CN’s intermodal, potash, coal, grain and merchandise trains, and is served by VIA Rail’s transcontinental train, the Canadian.
The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame (www.railfame.ca) is a virtual hall of fame created in 2002 by the Railway Association of Canada with the support of its almost 60 member railways and the Canadian Northern Society of Alberta..
Since that time, more that 50 nominees have been inducted into the hall of fame. They are featured on the website as well as in an interpretive park located in the Village of Big Valley, Alberta.
The community is already the site of significant railway and local heritage preservation, and the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame Pavilion helps to complement those efforts. The historic interpretive park has already attracted more than 20,000 visitors.
For more information, please go to www.railcan.ca
Railway Association of Canada
Canadian Northern Society