Soon you will be able to travel anywhere in Canada with VIA Rail in your pocket! On April 30th Paul G. Smith, Chairman of VIA Rail’s Board of Directors, participated in the Bank of Canada’s unveiling of the new $10 bank note, which will feature a VIA Rail’s legendary train, the Canadian. The new bill will be in circulation in November of this year
Did you know that the Canadian runs between Toronto and Vancouver? It completes the journey in four days and four nights. With its breathtaking landscapes, this trip is an unforgettable experience. Imagine starting out amid Toronto’s skyscrapers and heading straight into Ontario’s forests. Moving West you cross the Prairies, with its countless grain silos and acres upon acres of fertile lands, snow white in winter and golden with wheat in the summer. Eventually, the majestic and awe-inspiring Rockies rise up before you and you get to travel through tunnels under them, and around them along the Fraser River—the same river that Canada’s explorers used over 200 years ago. Finally, your journey ends when you arrive at the Pacific Ocean.
The Bank of Canada also unveiled a new $5 bank note at the same time as the $10 bill, featuring another type of transportation: space travel. Fittingly, the new bank note was unveiled live from the International Space Station, in zero gravity, by none other than astronaut Chris Hadfield, who returned to earth just a few days ago! The new $5 note displays Canada’s achievements in space robotics; Canadarm2 and Dextre.
Commander Hadfield’s prolific use of social media during his five-month stay at the space station helped Canadians get a taste of life in space without actually having to put on a space suit. We recommend travelling by train; it is considerably easier and the food is much better! You too can share your experience with all Canadians by posting your photos and texts on VIA Rail’s Facebook and Twitter sites.
At VIA Rail, we work on improving safety and security every day, by assuming that every accident is an accident that could have been avoided. The government supports various measures to enhance safety on the rail network across Canada. As well, for over 30 years, Operation Lifesaver has been increasing awareness about rail safety and why it is imperative to exercise caution around railways. To this end, Operation Lifesaver hosts a yearly Public-Rail Safety Week, which was celebrated by the organization and its members, including VIA Rail, from April 29th – May 5th, 2013.
During the week, activities to raise awareness for people of all ages were held across Canada. Volunteers, including many VIA employees, made presentations at schools and many other locations to introduce young people and Canadians to safety and prevention. They were also present in train stations, encouraging safe habits. As a key partner of the Operation Lifesaver program, VIA Rail also organized several activities during the week. For example, we distribute a Guide for Public Safety at all VIA Rail stations as well as on-board its trains.
We always hope that informed people will be involved in their community, passing on their knowledge to family and friends, creating a chain of good behaviour “instigators”. Ultimately, the goal is a reduction in the number of accidents.
This year, Canada’s Minister of State (Transport) announced a $9.3 million investment to improve rail safety. In the same vein, the Railway Safety Act was revised. All these changes have a common goal: to make level crossings safer and enhance people’s safety overall.
VIA Rail challenges all adult leaders out there, whether they’re parents, teachers, coaches or just concerned citizens to build on the important work of Public Rail Safety Week and the people who make it happen. Let’s all commit to sharing and demonstrating safety in everything we do with the younger generation who we live and work with so that we can keep improving safety, for everyone’s benefit.
Thanks to an unprecedented cooperation between law enforcement and the security units of various government departments, VIA Rail and CN, an alleged terrorist plot against VIA Rail operations was thwarted. Because of early action by all involved, there was no imminent danger to any of us. For that, we are thankful and we salute the dedication and courage of those who protect and serve, often in the background, discretely but effectively.
Still, it is events like these that remind us that we must all be vigilant, at all times. Our collective safety and security depend on it.
Despite the many measures deployed by VIA Rail and its operating partners, in many cases, it is ordinary citizens who help stop trouble before it begins. Alert and attentive individuals, who report suspicious behaviour or identify potentially dangerous people, are true heroes.
Our law enforcement officials have demonstrated the best of inter-agency cooperation and dedication to a common cause. At VIA Rail, we share this commitment. Our employees are trained to remain vigilant and identify suspicious behaviour. We cooperate with all parties interested in ensuring the safety and security of our operations, our passengers, employees and the public. Events like this week’s allow us to renew this commitment and dedicate ourselves to continuously enhance what continues to be the safest way to travel.
In celebration of Earth Day, VIA Rail Canada is proud to announce its ongoing dedication to reducing the environmental impact of intercity transportation.
To read more about how our carbon-footprint is diminishing every year, have a look at today’s Media Release. For a more visual view, here are a few fun and informative graphics about VIA Rail that will give you a sense of why taking the train is good for everyone!
HAPPY EARTH DAY!
On April 8th, in Smithers, British Columbia, VIA Rail participated in an anniversary celebration of “the first train to steam through” their town in 1914 – 99 years ago. The event was hosted by Doug Donaldson, MLA (Member of Legislative Assembly) for the riding of Stikine, and by the Bulkley Valley Museum. With every anniversary, including Canada’s 150th and VIA Rail’s 40th both coming up in 2017, we are reminded of the role the train has played in connecting our country. How many transportation industries can boast being around for over a century? And how many can say they helped to build a country?
The town of Smithers itself can thank the Grand Trunk Pacific railway for its existence, by virtue of the fact that they created a divisional point in the place where Smithers now stands. To think about the influence placing a train stop had in founding Canada’s landscape is astounding… and nearly a century later, many remote communities still rely heavily on VIA’s service, and we’re glad to be able to offer it and support them.
Congrats Smithers, we’re proud our industry played a part in the creating of your town and that it has grown to celebrate its 99th year. Here’s to your centennial!