Friday, January 23, 2015

Mushkegowuk might buy Ontario Northland Railway

This is an interesting partnership idea: TGR and the Mushkegowuk Council are reportedly looking to purchase the ONR's rail division. While this news seems like a positive and enlightened development, it is also very confusing. Last time I checked, the Ontario government was not looking to sell the ONR after all, has this changed?

>>>Mushkegowuk might buy Ontario Northland Railway | Timmins Times<<<

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Target to Close All 133 Canadian Stores: Good Riddance

In theory, I have no objection to American retailers setting up shop in Canada. In practice, I have very strong objections to the way they go about it: Home Depot and Lowe's drove many local hardware stores out of the market; Wal-Mart's prices killed Bi-Way and other discount department stores, all while degrading labour conditions and the place of unions in Canada. Target killed Zellers, and now it is killing itself.


Target's 2013 entry into the Canadian discount retail market was accomplished by buying out Zellers, then closing all the unionized locations. For instance, the popular Zellers at the Oshawa Centre never became a Target because it was unionized. The building's footprint is now a parking lot. With the unions safely out of the way, Target set about rebranding the remaining locations.

Many Canadians were excited to have a retailer renowned for its low prices coming to Canada. However, right from opening day, excitement turned to disillusionment. Prices were significantly higher than in Target locations south of the border and the selection was poor, with many shelves empty.

In what is a spectacular case of corporate arrogance, Target felt it could dupe Canadians by providing a retail store that was a lame copy of its American locations. They were wrong. Target Canada lost $1 billion in the first year due largely to poor sales. Future business textbooks looking for an example of 'how not to launch a retailer' need look no further than Target. Two years in, Target has decided to cut its losses and run. Good riddance to corporate greed.

That said, there are no winners here. Target is set to lose its shareholders yet another $500 million during the liquidation process; nearly 18,000 people will lose their jobs; Canadians will lose 133 places to shop; and Wal-Mart will increase its market dominance. Yes, there will be severance for the employees, but in an already iffy economy (thank you dominance of the oil sands), how much will that really help?

>>> Target to close all 133 Canadian stores, gets CCAA protection - CBC News <<<

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Restructuring Ontario Northland prepares to pick up steam

The ONTC's new 3-year restructuring plan is heading towards the community consultation process. So far, details are scarce, but it appears that the Cochrane shops will see a boost in work as the larger North Bay facility positions itself to attract more external clients. Job losses are expected, but largely through "attrition".

>>>Restructuring Ontario Northland prepares to pick up steam<<<

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Call of the Northland Updates

A little gift for all the loyal readers and all those who helped Call of the Northland to succeed. I have uploaded a new update which brings the Call of the Northland story right up-to-date. The update is available free of charge on the Northland-Book website - click here!

Like what you read? Consider buying a copy of Call of the Northland (if you haven't done so already!) to get the full story of the train that nearly toppled a government. All the details are at the Northland-Book site.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Lac-Mégantic à Découverte

Un excellent documentaire à propos de l'enquête du déraillement à Lac-Mégantic l'année dernière ainsi que la décontamination du terrain et du cours d'eau avoisinant.

Découverte - ICI Tou.tv

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Obligatory Holiday Train Shot

It's that time of year...
CP Holiday Train / Train des Fêtes du CP
CP 2246 pulls the Canadian Holiday Train out of Bowmanville on its way to Oshawa, 29 November 2014.

Friday, November 28, 2014

ONTC CEO to roll out transformation plan

Looks like some form of the ONTC will be continue into the future. Hopefully details will emerge over the coming weeks.

“We're open for business. This government wants us to be successful,”
Moore said. “And North Bay needs the ONTC to be around for another 100
years. I believe that will happen. I wouldn't be here if I didn't.”

>>>ONTC CEO to roll out transformation plan | North Bay Nugget<<<

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmas train returns

Some good new for a change! The ONR's Christmas train hits the rails again.

>>>Christmas train returns<<<

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Photo Update

Two recent photos to share today:

Firstly, the new Union Pearson Express trains are being tested between Mimico and Danforth GO stations in preparation for the launch next year. I was lucky enough to catch one of them near Bathurst Street on November 6.

Union Pearson Express

Secondly, and because it is Canada, snow has arrived in Ontario. CN 2202 and 2278 speed through a blizzard in Whitby on November 15.

A Taste of Things to Come... / Un avant-goût de ce qui nous attend...