Capreol Inducted into Canadian Railway Hall of Fame on its 90th Birthday
CAPREOL, ON – Capreol, a CN divisional point in northern Ontario for the past 90 years, was inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame Saturday night. The event involved a series of festivities, from sports to music and eating competitions, from dancing to a town-wide yard sale.
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 this past weekend by volunteers, as part of its 90th birthday party. Tony Marquis, General Manager, Operations for CN’s Champlain Division in eastern Canada, made the announcement on behalf of the Railway Hall of Fame tonight. 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 gave land to the railway for its facilities. Many streets were named after him and his sons.
Several 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; The Queen Mother and the Governor General greeted “Capreolites” there.
Capreol is still a railroad town, although now it’s a bedroom community to Sudbury. Its Work Equipment shop is owned by a private investor. Millenium Centre was a joint venture between the Town, CN and the Government of Canada. Then-mayor David Kilgour, Ray Bonin MP and Paul Tellier agreed to renovate the former high school, complete with a bunkhouse and training centre for CN employees. Capreol is also the home of the Northern Ontario Railroad Museum and Heritage Centre.
Marquis said CN has always played a very active role in the development of the community including the 6077, the Prescott Park that it is on, the caboose and related resources. Other dignitaries at the dinner were Mayor John Rodriguez, City of Greater Sudbury; councilors Ron Dupuis, Francis Calerelli and Stu Thomas, President of the heritage centre.
The Canadian Railway Hall of Fame is a virtual entity created in 2002 by the Railway Association of Canada with the support of its 57 member railways and the Canadian Northern Society of Alberta. Since then, some 75 nominees have been inducted on the website and in an interpretive park in the Big Valley, Alberta that has already attracted more than 20,000 visitors. For more information, please go to www.railfame.ca.
Railway Association of Canada