1948 train at brewery in peril
As Canada Day approaches, it’s a good time to reflect on a few things we cherish most as Canadians, including beer, politics and history.
That’s why Steam Whistle is the perfect subject at this time of year.
The Good Beer Folks have found themselves facing the city over the right to keep a 1948 Canadian Pacific engine called The Hauling Fool on location outside Bay 14 at the Roundhouse, located on Bremner Boulevard, just south of Rogers Centre.
The CPR John Street Roundhouse was built in 1929, and is recognized by the Toronto Historical Board as an “architecturally and historically important surviving reminder of steam technology and the role of rail transportation in the city of Toronto,” according to the brewery’s website.
Steam co-founder Greg Taylor said the owners of the engine, Doug and Don Lister of Toronto, have been told to move it or lose it, which, he estimates, could cost $50,000 by crane.
They have a deadline of Tuesday to do so, and fears are it will be turned into 230,000 pounds of scrap metal.
The vintage engine was being painted and restored to its original yellow, grey and maroon by the pilsner-makers to promote one of Hogtown’s historical sites in the heart of Hogtown’s tourism area.
Steam Whistle’s brewery is attached to the Roundhouse, and they take up 14 of the 32 train bays that still sit there. Taylor says he had hoped a 10- to 11-bay railway museum would move in, and had an initial proposal from the city, but a Leon’s furniture warehouse looks likely to be the brewhouse’s new neighbour, along with a smaller, three-bay museum.
It’s not sitting well with Taylor and friends.
“They’re a Canadian company. There’s nothing wrong with them, but we don’t think they should move into a national historic site in Canada’s tourism centre.
“The message on our bottles is about celebrating the history of the railway, and it’s the railways that built our country,” Taylor said yesterday. “It was an important part of building a nation and it’s being forgotten. And that’s sad.
“That would never happen in Chicago ... It’s a national historic site. There’s not that many around.”
Even a restaurant or a vintage vehicle restoration facility would be a preferred tenant to a discount furniture chain, Taylor said.
Taylor said the brewery was prepared to help raise funds to help facilitate a larger railway museum’s opening.
Calls made yesterday to Toronto’s Culture Division spokesman Glenn Garwood were not returned.
“Railway history is an important part of our brand. If people want to find out about railway history, people come down to Steam Whistle,” Taylor offers.
The brewery is asking concerned citizens to contact the city and/or Leon’s to stop the train’s scrapping.
Barbecue Steak Steam Whistle