Exploring Canada - Part 1

Aspects of Canada in 1989

Our trip begins as winter fades and we cross the Jackfish River bridge at breakup,
travelling the Canadian National transcontinental line through Northern Ontario.

This is the Sioux Lookout, an important calling point for the three passenger trains a week along this line.

These services are maintained as they provide links to the Indian settlements en route, often at stations with minimal facilities.

This picture shows departure from Allanwater Bridge, where business has been brisk.

There are a surprising number of remote services in northern Canada and here is another,
the mixed train between The Pass and the mining town of Llyn Lake.

The Lynn Lake train is an incredible train and has even has basic catering facilities in the caboose that brings up the rear.

I was well received in Llyn Lake and was even taken for a trip down their gold mine.

Llyn Lake's original buildings had been moved here in the 1950's from the dying mining town of Sherridon
the buildings being jacked on to sledges and towed along winter roads, as per this display example here.

Departure from Llyn Lake was on the Thompson bus.

The bus, like the train, providing links to remote settlements en route.

Thompson is a much, much bigger mining town.

And has a neat station on a spur off the Winnipeg Hudson Bay line.

And it was a perfect, first generation, North American diesel that reverses in
to take us on to Churchill and frozen Hudson Bay.

The trees thin as we proceed north and the tripod telegraph poles
help keep their wires level in this tricky permafrost environment.

The treeless tundra then appears, pushed this far south by the chilling effects of Hudson Bay.

With Churchill ahead now the whole train has been turned on a Y as we reverse in the last mile or so.

And this is what we are here to see, frozen Hudson Bay, another ambition achieved!

Churchill is a summer outlet for grain exports and also "The Polar Bear Capital of the World"
as bears congregate aroiund here awaiting the freezing of the bay.

Back we go to Winnipeg in the comfortable coaches of this fascinating route.

And from Winnipeg we head back along Canadian National metals towards Sioux Lookout.
This is a one of the smaller stations along the line, neat Farlane.

We are off to see Art, a retired train driver with a fishing cottage at Niddrie.

Art's cottage, a former railway building, is the white building on the right.

And from Art's boat I am shown a beaver lodge.

...............And later, at another location, a beaver dam.

We now move to the more southerly Canadian Pacific and the junction station at Franz as we
look west towards Lake Superior and Thunder Bay.

And this is Roddy, who is rightly proud of his amazing station.

And great to still have a daily service on the transcontinental routes at the present time and with impressive 1950's rolling stock too.
Here we are also viewing the other line, the Algoma Central route from Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst.

And here comes the Algoma Central to Sault Ste. Marie, running three days a week at this time of year.

The Algoma Central Railway is another bear branded route, the Black Bear route.

And this spectacular viaduct is another prominent photograph of the Ledbury Station Gallery.

At Sault Ste. Marie, the bridge to America crossing the St Mary River which connecting Lake Huron with Lake Superior.

As we move on to Quebec, where Phil flies in.
Without her luggage............which has flown elsewhere............hence an impromptu raincoat!

The luggage arrives and off we go along a deserted road to Sept Isles, on the northern shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

As this cabin becomes our accommodation for the next couple of days.

You can see our spot on the top deck of the Nordic Express which, except in the months of frozen sea,
sails up the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Blanc Sablon. We board at Sept Isles when loading is complete.

And head off to deliver supplies to the isolated communities along the coast, some of which are very remote indeed.

Harrington Harbour for instance, which an outpost of English speaking Quebec
as settlement here was from Newfoundland downwards rather than Quebec upwards.

And this is how one moves around in Harrington Harbour at this time of year.

At St. Augustin the Nordic Express can't reach the village and therefore unloads
at this isolated quay for onward transhipment by smaller boat.

Conditions were grim at Blanc Sablon and we were very pleased to see this connecting ferry
loom out of the mist for our onward, 2 hour crossing, to Newfoundland.

We found Newfoundland pleasingly sunny and still remote.

A tent has come along on this trip and was very useful at times, as here at Plum Point.

And this our bus on to the much larger town of Deer Lake.

We regain mainland Canada at Sydney, Nova Scotia.

And regain long distance train travel again in Halifax, Nova Scotia, as we begin another crossing of Canada.

And the fantastic rear observation car gives an excellent view as we cross the St. Lawrence River on the approach to Montreal.

Back in rural Quebec the roadside sign suggest a grand station for Hervey Junction.

When, in reality, it looks like this!

And from Hervey one can still travel through northern Quebec to Cochrane, Ontario, in superb trains like this.
Cochrane is a bit special. See the old steam engine in the background for instance.

That's where I spent the night!

And there are polar bears on the platform too! This is Doug. He is waiting for the thrice weekly train to Moosonee
and he, like me, has a long wait for his train.

And this is Doug's train, the Ontario Northland "Polar Bear Express" from Toronto to Moosonee.
Moosonee is on James Bay, the most southern inlet of Hudson Bay.

I continue to head west from Cochrane, partly by train and partly by bus, as train services have pretty much faded away along this route.
The buses continue to be unusual. This is the Hearst Hornpayne service.

And at Hornepayne we connect with the thrice weekly Sioux Lookout/Winnipeg train again, the train we started travelling with.

And so we can finish part 1 of this Canadian story with a second Jackfish River Bridge photograph,
this time devoid of ice and with spring green trees in the spring sunshine.

End of Part 1

Click here for Canada Part 2

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