Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 12/4/2012 (1953 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It was a fitting tribute for a community brought together by the railway — two long blasts of the Canadian Railway whistle, not heard in more than 40 years, sounded off at noon Thursday to commemorate Transcona’s 100th birthday.
"When you heard that bell you knew it was lunch time, knew it was time for the guys to get back to work and knew when the school day was done," said Corinne Fulton, who was one of hundreds of people who gathered at the Transcona Legion on Regent Avenue to celebrate the area’s centennial.
The crowd did a countdown to the whistle-blow and when it didn’t sound off right away, host Peter Martin joked "only dogs can hear it!"
Taking in the celebration was one Transcona resident, Nan Valentine, who has truly been there from the start.
"(Nan) is almost two years older than Transcona," announced Peter Martin, the centennial’s co-chair.
Nan moved from Scotland to the community in 1913 and is part of its railroad history, having worked at the Canadian National Railway for 11 years. Nan said she has "loved living" in Transcona.
Sharing that same sentiment is Loretta Nowicki, who has lived in the area for more than 64 years.
"It would be easier for me to move to another city than another part of Winnipeg," she said. Nowicki’s favourite spot in the community is the corner of Kildare Avenue and Plessis Road, where an old steam locomotive is on display.
"My father was an engineer and he drove that one," said Nowicki.
A Grade 4 choir from École Centrale sang a cute song about hearing the train for the crowd and dignitaries, including Lt.-Gov. Philip Lee, Premier Greg Selinger, Elmwood-Transcona MP Lawrence Toet and Mayor Sam Katz.
"This community has come a long way since the first census listed the population as eight men and three women and 15 dogs," said Lee.
Transcona is now home to 32,000 people and officially became a part of Winnipeg 40 years ago.
"Transcona has a phenomenal sense of tradition," said Premier Greg Selinger. "There’s a sense of pride of what they’ve accomplished and you know they’re going to be here another 100 years from now."
Selinger announced to the crowd he has spoken with the CNR vice-president who said he’s "going to bring the jobs back to Transcona."
Mayor Sam Katz spoke about the community’s rich military history and how Regent Avenue was paved during the Depression as a way to provide employment. He also spoke about his own experiences as the "only Jewish assistant ice maker in Winnipeg" at a curling club in Transcona.
Katz presented the centennial committee with a birds-eye photograph of Transcona in 1911, when the CNR was under construction. The mayor also presented a $7,500 cheque from the city to the committee for upcoming events.