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Heritage trains and carousels entertain visitors on the North Bay Waterfront

September 2020

The northern Ontario city of North Bay has a long railroad history. In fact, it was the extension of the Canadian Pacific Railway lines into the north bay on Lake Nippising that led to incorporation of North Bay as a town in 1891.

To celebrate this heritage, a railway heritage park was established, officially opening on 31 July 1994, on the shore of Lake Nippising, operated by the Heritage Railway & Carousel Company, the vision of local dentist Rod Johnston, and then-North Bay mayor Stan Lawlor.

The park features a miniature passenger railway, set on a 15-inch gauge track, that takes visitors on a half-mile circuit around the park, and past two recreations of historic carousels.

The train was acquired from a seller in Cleveland, and was transported to North Bay and fully restored.

Originally, driving the miniature train was a steam and diesel engine, which pulled two coaches. This was replaced in 2006 with a miniature replica of the steam-powered Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) Lucy Dalton, named “Little Lucy Dalton,” the very first locomotive to come to North Bay in 1882. It’s quite fitting to see “Little Lucy” making her way along the waterfront, just like the original Lucy Dalton would have done almost a century and a half ago!

In 1996, the CPR donated a decommissioned caboose that became the train station, and by 1998, when a car barn was erected, the rolling stock included two steam engines, two diesel engines, eight passenger cars and a caboose.

Historic Carousels

The idea of having adding a carousel to the park came from Heritage Railway volunteer Barry Jacobs in 1998. Volunteers set about building a recreation of a heritage carousel, finally seeing it opened to the public on 1 July 2002.

Using a restored 1908 Herschell-Spillman carousel frame that had operated at an amusement park in the United States from 1944 to 1975, a collection of new animals were added to bring it to life.

The animals that make up the carousel were carved by Chuck Kaparich of Missoula, Montana, who carved 28 of the horses, and North Bay Wood Carvers, who carved the remaining nine. A rocking chariot, stationary chariot, spinning tub and band organ were also added, carved to reflect the wildlife of Northern Ontario. All were placed on

In addition to painting the horses, local artists created 28 original paintings of local scenes. A fundraising campaign, which had donors “adopt” a horse, raised the money to pay for the carousel.

A second carousel, the smaller Winter Wonderland Carousel, opened at the park exactly three years later, featuring 16 animals found in northern Canada, like a deer, fox, black bear, cougar, moose, and even a whimsical rendition of the mythical hippocampus, a relative of the Loch Ness Monster who supposedly resides in North Bay’s Trout Lake.

The Heritage Railway & Carousel Company is open on weekends from Mother’s Day to 30 June 30, and Labour Day to Thanksgiving, and from 10 a.m. to sundown in July and August.

Sources: https://heritagetrainandcarousel.weebly.com/carousel-history.html, https://sideroadsofmuskoka.wordpress.com/summer/going-for-a-spin-in-north-bay-cont, https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=8183, https://www.facebook.com/pages/category/Landmark—Historical-Place/North-Bay-Heritage-Train-And-Carousel-Company-176645256198040/

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/heritage-trains-and-carousels-entertain-visitors-on-the-north-bay-waterfront/

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