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Le générique du Bulletin
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May/June 2003
Vol. 35, no. 3
ISSN 1492-4676

Contents Next Article

All Aboard!
New Web Site Uses Trains to Transport Kids to Canada’s Past

Trevor Clayton, Communications

The Library and Archives of Canada (L&AC;) launched their newest Web site for kids at a playful ceremony amongst the mighty locomotives in the Canada Science and Technology Museum during the March break.

Led by National Librarian Roch Carrier and attended by L&AC; staff, museum staff and more than two dozen rambunctious children entertained with train paraphernalia supplied by Via Rail, the event was a merry success.

With the home page of the new site behind him and the historic railroads of the past on either side, Mr. Carrier enthralled the children with memories from his past.

"When I was nine I did a bad thing," he said to the kids who sat in rapt silence. "When the train slowed down near our village my friends and I would jump onto the platform and ride it to the next town. That was bad, but I learned how the trains moved through Canada and how Canada was built along the track. They had to build bridges, cut wood and dig tunnels through mountains.

"Go home and look at the site and tell your parents about what you’ve learned. When you go to school you can tell your friends," Carrier encouraged.

The Web site is an informative, fun and educational initiative for children beginning to learn about Canada’s past. It is easy to access and incorporates songs, pictures and movie clips along with text to provide a comprehensive understanding of the struggle and glory of Canada’s founding technology.

Nick Faris and Gavin Simmons, both 10 years old, each took turns to speak at the launch. Faris, a French immersion student, delivered an eloquent speech formally addressing Mr. Carrier and the crowd; Simmons was enthusiastic and even had a hand in designing the logo for the site.

"There’s a lot of interesting facts about the railway," Faris declared. There's "a lot of history in Canada."

According to both Faris and Simmons, one of the most interesting stories from the launch was that of the famed "last spike," which became damaged as it was driven into the track upon the completion of Canada’s railway system on November 7, 1885. Earlier in the launch, museum staff had shown the real last spike to the fascinated children.

This site is well suited for school research and school boards are being alerted of its potential for use in the classroom.

To see the site for yourself, visit online at www.collectionscanada.ca/trains/kids/.