By grade 5, I had learned

(a paper cup for holding water)

(CP menu from 1956 similar to what I had to choose from with our meals package)

(this 1935 ed. of my gr. 5 Canadian history reader hadn’t changed that much by the time I studied it in 1960-61)

how to make a paper cup, something you can see demo’d on YouTube. That memorable summer my mother and I travelled on CP’s Dominion train to Vancouver from Winnipeg which showed me a number of places I had read about in my Canadian history school book that year.

The mountains were particularly memorable, especially the Spiral tunnels and the Connaught tunnel (which lasted 5 miles in darkness). In those days, passengers could get off during the trip (something you can’t do these days), sometimes for several minutes, sometimes for half an hour to an hour. I remember the Moose Jaw stop was about an hour and I walked over to the main street. The trick was to check my watch and see how much time I had left before it went without me.

One highlight was the meals and we always tried to get into the enclosed portion of the dining car which was snugly special. I always looked forward to eating ice cream out of a silver dish! And because there was a water dispenser in each car, I could make a paper cup–as I had learned) and bring water back to my mother in something I had made myself. The seats were movable and we put two facing each other so we could sleep over the gap between the two seats, something else you’re also not allowed to do anymore.

That was the trip that introduced me to the mountains for the first time, which was my first long distance train trip, and which included Stanley Park (playing at the pitch and putt and riding the miniature train), Victoria, the ferry ride between, and Butchart Gardens. It would be some 50 years later that I would return to actually go into the Empress Hotel for afternoon tea and stay in Victoria. And several years ago, I actually went back to play the impressive pitch and putt at Stanley Park, reuniting with my Inner Child from gr. 5 days.

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