Chapter: Fun and Games

CNR Arrival/Departure Board-Grand Beach Station

"If the train's on time we'll be at the beach by 9."
1916 Grand Beach CNR station arrival/departure chalk board (& miniatures diorama) Arrival-Departure Board

Story

Spending the summer at the lake has been a Manitoba tradition for over 100 years. Both the Canadian Pacific (CP) and the Canadian Northern Railway (CNR) operated large resorts on Lake Winnipeg. With poor road conditions and limited car ownership the train was vital to the success of theise resorts.

The rail journey to the beach was also part of the adventure. There was a friendly atmosphere on the train almost like a family gathering. One former passenger remarked “Everyone knew each other. It was like a travelling social.”

A lucky few young boys got their first job on the trains. They worked as newies[A1] [A2] [LK3]  as newsies selling drinks and snacks to the passengers. The boys would then get to spend the day at the beach as they waited for the return train back to the city.

The Arrival/Departure Board was integral to Grand Beach Station and to the thousands who made the trip to the white sands and amusements offered there. Arrival and departure times were posted according to the train schedule and, when applicable, could be updated on this large wooden chalkboard. Special trains were added for holidays like Dominion Day (now Canada Day). The board also features the infamous Moonlight Special, which was used by the partygoers and night owls.

See Rod used to light gas lamps