Importance of Rails and Tales 2017
Steam locomotives and the railways they ran were foundational to Sir John A. MacDonald’s vision of the nation of Canada. The railways brought the first waves of settlers to Canada, a cultural influence that forever changed the way of life of the First Nations and Metis people. Throughout Canada’s history, rail transportation was indispensable to the development of mining, agriculture, industry and growing communities. During wartime, it was the Canadian railway system that did so much to meet the needs of our nation to transport troops and equipment to support those countries wishing to remain free in a desperate time.
The last steam expo in Canada took place thirty years ago, in Vancouver in 1986. As heritage rail equipment is lost over time, and the non-operational shells of steam locomotives increasingly find themselves on static display or turned to scrap, the opportunity for Canada’s citizens to live, breathe and experience steam rail travel will in the future become a rare or unavailable event. There is no better way to commemorate and honour Canada’s history and emerging significance as a sovereign state than to celebrate its rail heritage.
Rails and Tales 2017 is the work of many volunteers, teaming up with a railway company with the capability to deliver a dynamic railway experience, for the love of Canada, its history, and the place of railways within that history. The eight-day event will feature many activities spotlighting the history and culture of the Métis of the Big Valley area, the pioneer way of life and the early machines which laid the foundation for today’s thriving Alberta agriculture, and the important role the railways played in Canada’s involvement in the world wars. Bring your whole family to Stettler to ride the train to Big Valley and back. Or, take some time to explore East Central Alberta—not only Big Valley, but the many villages and towns in the area.