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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Recommended Read: Warrior Nation

Warrior Nation: Rebranding Canada in an Age of Anxiety - Ian McKay and Jamie Swift

Anyone who has visited Canada recently will have seen the heightened profile of the Canadian Forces in all walks of life.  From the "Support Our Troops" ribbons on cars, houses, people, fire engines, ambulances, public buildings etc., to the "Highway of Heroes" and the "Route of Heroes", to the presence of more military personnel at Remembrance Day services or during citizenship ceremonies.  The list of examples is endless and fits with an increasingly militarised Canada where police brutality (I speak specifically about the G20 in Toronto) and hockey violence are to be praised and Don Cherry is a national icon.  For left-wing and free thinking Canadians, the blame falls immediately at the feet of Stephen Harper, our unlikely three-term prime minister and warmonger.  I had expected Warrior Nation to follow this train of thought - I was wrong.

In a sense, it does.  It is clear that no previous leader has put so much into the Canadian Forces or has spent so much money and effort into rebranding Canada into a military power.  Under Harper, the military has been raised to demi-god status, the root of all Canada's history (we weren't a country until the Battle of Vimy Ridge apparently) and the saviour for unfree people everywhere.  In this new Canada, where all historical facts are twisted to conform to military ideals, we are nothing without the military to show us how to be real Canadians, heroes.

However, the root of militarisation in Canada can be traced back to the earliest days of the country's existence.  Canada gained independence from the British Empire, but retained romantic visions of civilisation as embodied in the works of Rudyard Kipling and alike, where the British (and by extension anglophones of the world) brought civilisation to all sorts of backwards, barbarous places.  The Boer War is the first example of Canada intervening in a foreign conflict while broadcasting ideals of anglo perfection.  Naturally, much 'warrior' propaganda also accompanied both World Wars.

It is during the analysis of the Cold War years that this book really gets interesting, unpicking the myth of Canadian peacekeeping from the reality.  Pearson was in fact a conflicted man who sided with both peaceful diplomacy and armed force depending on the situation.  Trudeau was also not averse to using force when the situation warranted it, especially during the October Crisis.  Peacekeeping might have been motivated by fears of a nuclear war, but Canada's involvement in the first few decades of the UN missions was real and sincere.  This began to unravel in the 1990s as the scope of the missions extended into areas where no there was no ceasefire in force and NATO (read the United States), not the UN, began to take charge.  Today, Canada has fewer than 300 peacekeepers and the concept's legacy is being erased from official Canadian history or distorted to suit a more aggressive interpretation.

As is clearly shown, the entire blame for militarising Canada cannot be attributed to Harper alone, but this new urgency and zeal can be.  His policies of eroding social welfare spending while bolstering military expenditure pave a way for a Canada in a constant state of readiness for conflict while resurrecting Kipling's imperial ideals of a hundred years ago. 

Harper's ideology does not simply influence politics.  A walk around a major bookstore this morning highlighted how many books on warfare and the military are currently available - they occupy most of the history and politics sections.  Even the aforementioned Highway of Heroes has its own book.  Academia is also influenced as right-wing historians in favour of a 'warrior' past receive government funding.  Even Canada's game, hockey, has been militarised through the rantings of Don Cherry and praising of violence on the ice.

In all, McKay and Swift have told the story of how Canada has followed an American military ideal, and perhaps even surpassed it, in this well-researched history of Canada's military side.  Anyone looking for an indictment of Harper will find one, but they might find some of their own political heroes chastised as well.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Recommended Read: Female Chauvinist Pigs

Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture - Ariel Levy

Levy's Book asks a very simple but troubling question: can women today truly call themselves liberated?  Levy examines the modern "raunch culture" of supposedly "liberated" women who feel that their power is in promiscuity.  Levy feels that such a concept of liberation is inaccurate and she calls for a second sexual revolution, concentrating of what people actually want out of their sexuality, rather than what society has dictated they want.  I had always considered myself as a person with strong gender equality values, but having read this book, I now call myself a feminist - much remains to be done before gender equality is a reality.

CN's New Units

Newly-painted CN 5431 at Whitby

A very lucky catch on Sunday as I caught CN 5431, one of CN's newly-acquired SD60 locomotives, on a mixed freight at Whitby.

RCM Modular Buildings
Equally interesting were several cars of RCM modular buildings at the front of the train.

The Best of a Canadian Summer

VIA 57 races through Whitby

This past weekend has been truly spectacular.  The sun has been intense and the days warm, but the humidity dropped making for some really lovely weather.  With lower humidity, the hazy skies cleared to reveal white cloud and deep blue.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

Recommended Read: Bad Medicine

Bad Medicine: Doctor Doing Hard Since Hippocrates - David Wootton

A powerful and very easy to read history of medicine which argues that there was little benefit to medicine prior to the 1850s and the discovery of germ theory.  Wootton presents potted histories of doctors, medication, treatment, research and failure.  He shows how the inherent conservatism of the medical profession prevented it from embracing new treatments and concepts as they were discovered.  Likewise, any new discovery was perceived as a threat to the privileged status of doctors.  Wootton has a gift for presenting complicated concepts in a way that makes them very easy to understand.  This book concludes with a good summation of how medicine since the 1850s has been of great benefit to humanity.  I really found this book interesting.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fedeli - Four months since Rick Bartolucci announced his fire sale of Ontario Northland

It's true, Bartolucci and the Liberal Party are very attached to the sale of the ONTC, yet they really don't seem to know how to do it.
Fedeli - Four months since Rick Bartolucci announced his fire sale of Ontario Northland - NetNewsledger.com

Olympic ban stops Radio 4 news shows being streamed internationally

A case of corporate rights overriding the media's right to broadcast.  I am not too concerned about holidaymakers missing news from home, rather I am concerned about the BBC's position as a truly global broadcaster.  For years, the BBC has broadcast to the entire world, and not just the World Service.  I don't buy the line about international listeners not paying the license fee, the privilege of listening to BBC Radio is not governed by the TV license anyway.  It is a shame when money gets in the way of the best news coverage in the world.
Olympic ban stops Radio 4 news shows being streamed internationally | guardian.co.uk

Friday, July 27, 2012

City offers help to Danzig shooting residents: media training

For a city that insists it is the safest in the world (not) without a gang or crime problem (not), this move can only be seen as a way of trying to protect the city's image by manipulating what the residents say, especially after some very critical comments about how the city have abandoned the area in the past.
City offers help to Danzig shooting residents: media training

ONTC assets 'exciting' for forward-looking investors

Since the beginning, CN has always been the likely front-runner.  I am, however, far more interested in the idea of a native group buying the railway.
ONTC assets 'exciting' for forward-looking investors - CBC News

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Tourist train sees its final farewell

This is quite a coup for the York-Durham Heritage Railway.  It has the potential to really develop their service.
Tourist train sees its final farewell | Your community newspaper in Guelph, Ontario

ONTC: We have a bidder?

Actually, there have been over 25 expressions of interest already.  The government has yet to actually call for tenders.  Despite this, TGR Rail Canada have publicly declared their interest in buying the ONR.  There are several takes on this announcement today, but they are also somewhat contradictory.  While CBC suggests that the Northlander will still be cancelled, the North Bay Nugget stated that a redesigned Northlander would operate.

The reaction from the unions has been clear.  Rather than being reassured that their jobs might be protected, the unions remain committed to defending the ONTC as a crown corporation.  I still think that the commission should remain in government hands, despite whatever guarantees might be offered from potential buyers.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Historic Rail Car Travelling to the North

Some good news from the ONR for once.  It should be an interesting sight!
ONTARIO NORTHLAND TRANSPORTATION COMMISSION | Historic Rail Car Travelling to the North

Sorry Northern Ontario, Mississauga needs cash

A very articulate piece from Al McDonald, mayor of North Bay, suggesting the same correlation I referred to last week: the savings from the sale of the ONTC cancel the cancellation fees of the Mississauga power plant.
Sorry Northern Ontario, Mississauga needs cash | North Bay Nugget

Hunt: North losing ONTC fight

This is a very provocative piece indeed.  Has the whole campaign been utterly futile?  I hate to say it, but when the entire campaign is fought almost entirely in the north, yet the people who need to be informed are in the south, it misses the mark.  If the ONTC is truly to survive, we need rallies at GO stations, Union Station, Queen's Park, not North Bay.  Of course people in northern Ontario want the ONTC, stop preaching to the converted.  One ad was placed in one Toronto-area newspaper, more is needed.  Like it or not, the bulk of politicians are in southern Ontario and that bulk is needed to pressure the government.
Hunt: North losing ONTC fight | North Bay Nugget

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

GO to Niagara Falls


A few years ago, Jason Shron of Rapido Trains wrote a very good piece on how people needed to actually ride trains once in a while (scroll to the bottom of the newsletter to find it).  It's true, railway enthusiasts might look at trains as often as they can, but how many actually ride them?

I try to ride trains whenever I can.  This year's big trip was of course to Cochrane, but I hope to plan other smaller trips too.

This past weekend was one of these such trips.  Most people think of GO trains as a lowly form of commuter transport, but they are much more than that.  For many years, GO has put on special trains to ferry people to big events, such as sports in Toronto, but they have recently started offering special excursion runs on weekends in the summer.  A few years ago, GO began running Toronto-Niagara Falls trains on weekends.  This year, they are also running trains to Barrie

It was the Niagara Falls route that I decided to try.  If you ask people about places they have heard of in Canada, they will usually tell you Toronto, the Rockies and Niagara Falls.  The Falls are truly awe-inspiring and the aviaries are delightful, but the rest of the town is bit of a tourist trap and a let-down.  For me, the highlight is the trip there.  At just over two hours from Toronto, the train travels through the urban jungle of Toronto, the suburbs of Oakville, the heavy industry of Hamilton and the beautiful countryside of the Niagara escarpment.  Because GO coaches have an upper level, the view is even better.  This is not the fastest (we were delayed for 30 minutes waiting for the Welland Canal to clear) or the cheapest way to get to Niagara Falls, but it is certainly the most enjoyable.

Yard power at the Stuart Street Yard

For the railway fan, the trip also offers several interesting photo opportunities, notably the Southern Ontario Railway's Stuart Street Yard in Hamilton.  You also pass the CN yards at Aldershot and Oakville and the massive GO and VIA facilities at Mimico.

Once the train arrived at the Falls (or several miles from it), I changed seats and travelled back to Toronto.  Sometimes the most fun part of a trip is the trip itself.

The moral of the story: if you like trains, why don't you ride one?

City raising priority issues at AMO conference

Such a high profile meeting will help boost the campaign to save the ONTC.  However, much of the success of this meeting will depend on how many government ministers are willing to listen to the concerns.
City raising priority issues at AMO conference - The North Bay Nugget

Monday, July 23, 2012

Oshawa VIA Station Progress

 VIA 57 arrives at the new platform 2, 18 July

Last week, I dropped by the VIA Rail station in Oshawa to see how the construction was progressing.  The original platform is now fenced off and the new (third) track is being installed.  As a result, the new platform is in use, offering the chance to access some new photo angles, including an aerial view of the CN Oshawa Yard, thanks to the footbridge.  You can read about the project in an overenthusiastic article on VIA's website.

Profitable Caterpillar Pushes Workers for Concessions

This interesting, and depressing, article highlights how the injustice at the London EMD plant this year was far from an isolated incident.  
Profitable Caterpillar Pushes Workers for Concessions - NYTimes.com

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Toews' request delays Khadr's transfer to Canada

Another lame excuse in this highly embarrassing international situation.  So, you're worried that Khadr might be a risk?  Well, bring him back to Canada and assess him here, it's that easy!
Toews' request delays Khadr's transfer to Canada - CBC News

Union responds to minister's comments on ONTC issue

A long opinion piece from Brian Kelly that spells out both sides of the issue.  Once again, it is clear that the government doesn't care about the north - rather, it only cares about Liberal ridings.  The fight isn't over yet.
Union responds to minister's comments on ONTC issue - The North Bay Nugget

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Bizarre rail accident

This one certainly is odd.  There are strict regulations governing track maintenance and someone either disregarded them, or wires got crossed somewhere along the line.
Bizarre rail accident | The Belleville Intelligencer

Historic private rail car back on track to raise money for Alzheimer’s research

A profile of the Mother Parkers tour.  I'm not sure how accurate their tour information is because the website is still suggesting the trips to Cochrane and Moosonee aren't going to happen.
The Fixer: Historic private rail car back on track to raise money for Alzheimer’s research - thestar.com

The NDP Meets with the North

Provincial NDP leader Andrea Horwath met with northern leaders to discuss various issues, including the plan to sell off the ONTC.  The north remains an NDP stronghold, but is is clear that frustration is mounting with an NDP caucus that doesn't seem to be putting up much of a fight for the ONTC.  It is clear that the NDP has tried to stop McGuinty's plans, but it's also clear that they could be trying harder to do something.

I maintain that this issue is larger than partisan politics, but that is what is stalling progress.  The NDP is propping up a minority parliament and to push too hard for the ONTC would probably provoke an election.  As such, the ONTC is seen as expendable.  I hope I'm wrong.  NDP, prove me wrong.

Two takes on the meeting:
North Bay Nugget
North Bay Nipissing

Huntsville throws support behind Ontario Northland

So much of the debate about the future of the ONTC has focused on north eastern Ontario.  However, let us not forget that the ONTC's services reach all the way to Toronto and serve many communities in Muskoka, as this article highlights.
CottageCountryNow: Huntsville throws support behind Ontario Northland

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Is Toronto a Safe City?

Like many people this morning, I awoke to the news that a block party in Scarborough had gone horribly wrong.  A disagreement turned violent and gunfire erupted, killing two and injuring another 21.  This is the worst-ever shooting in Toronto, an impressive but horrifying statistic. 

Gun crime in the city seems to fluctuate each year, but everyone will agree that this is a particularly bad summer for firearms.  Whether it was the revenge hit that caused panic in the Eaton's Centre, or the shooting in a cafe during the Euro 2012 tournament, or the shooting after a Canada Day fireworks display, this has been a summer of very high-profile gun crimes.  Statistically, Toronto remains a safe city and homicide rates are dropping, but the prevalence of guns is increasing and attacks are becoming more brazen.

The police chief and the mayor are always trying to reassure people by saying that Toronto is a safe city and that there isn't a gang problem.  Fact is, as the number of shootings keeps going up, fewer and fewer people will believe them.  On a global scale, Toronto is a very safe city, but something must be done to curb this current wave of gun violence, death and injuries.  So often in Canada people are complacent until something huge happens.  It doesn't (hopefully) get much bigger than this.  Now is the time to act, to find out what is causing people to turn to guns, to make them so unhappy that they feel that violence is the only solution.

This story is international, the shooting has put Toronto in the headlines all over the world.  It is time for people to realise that there is most definitely a problem.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Printing: The Eco-Friendly Way

If you are like me, you find reading on computer screens extremely difficult and you cannot really absorb information unless you print it out and read it on paper.  This uses ink and paper, killing trees and adding even more chemicals to our already polluted world.  I refuse to stop printing, but there are a few ways to cut back on paper and ink use thanks to some clever software tricks.

Do you need a full page size?


When I'm reading an article, I often find that the text on the page is much larger than I need.  PDF readers, such as Adobe Reader or Mac's Preview allow you to skrink pages so that more than one can be printed on a sheet of paper.  This can cut your paper usage in half or more!  I find this especially useful with academic journal articles, as a half-page size is usually closer to the actual size of the original journal.  Suddenly, a 20 page article only takes 10 pages to print.

Do I need single-sided?

Often, printing double-sided is perfectly acceptable.  This again cuts down on paper and also space as your piles of printing will only be half as thick.

Do I need to print the whole webpage?


Even the best laid-out printable webpages don't always print properly, giving you a dozen sheets with a few lines of text on each.  I recently discovered Print Friendly, a browser add-on that lets you choose what elements of a webpage you need and which you can discard.  You can then save your edit as a PDF or print it directly.

Am I sure that this will print correctly?

As a Mac user, I really love how virtually anything can be saved as a PDF file.  I rarely print anything directly from a file - I almost always save it as a PDF first.  This shows me exactly how it will print and lets me choose not to print a page with only a line of text, for example (I could write it at the bottom of the previous page).  Combined with printing multiples pages on one sheet of paper, your paper use can drop quickly!

I hope these tips are helpful and with a little extra work, you can be more eco-friendly while still absorbing information through paper.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Tory MP calls Bethune memorial a 'bow' to China

Many years ago, I researched Norman Bethune for a school project.  He is a fascinating person to study.  He wasn't particularly pleasant, but his dedication to medicine and helping others was strong.  Throughout his varied career, Bethune worked in Canada as a surgeon while also designing new surgical instruments.  In Spain, he pioneered mobile blood transfusion during the Spanish Civil War.  He then travelled to China, where he worked as a field surgeon with the communist rebels.  It was there that he died due to blood poisoning from a cut sustained while operating on a wounded soldier.  He remains a national hero in China to this day.

Yet his international reputation does not reach his native Canada.  Bethune was a member of the Canadian Communist Party and as such has been erased from much of Canada's history.  He gained official recognition during the early 1970s when Pierre Trudeau's government secured the house in Gravenhurst where Bethune was born.  Trudeau had great sympathy for labour rights and for far-left wing governments (notably Cuba).  He also wanted to promote a Canada that was part of the world, where Canadians (like Bethune) spread to all corners of the globe to use their knowledge and skills to help others.  This is the version of Canada I like to subscribe to, even if the current government is killing it.

Several years ago, I was able to visit the Bethune House in Gravenhurst and I remember talking with one of the tour guides about how Canadians were not aware of this important medical pioneer.  We agreed that his presence had been erased from the school curriculum and most history books.  This is not surprising.  Bethune was not a popular man socially, he did not love war and he often worked for the rebel side, both in Spain and China.  He was (heaven forbid) a communist and thus could not possibly be a good Canadian in Stephen Harper's land of capitalism and flag-waving patriotism.  Bethune was a Canadian who went abroad not to fly the flag, but to help people who needed helping.

Recently, over $2.5 million was spent on improvements to the visitor centre at the Bethune House to better honour Bethune's humanitarian values (if you believe the Conservative party spiel).  However, there is dissent within the ranks of the Conservative party suggesting that to honour Bethune is to praise communism and China.  Bethune was free to join the communist party just as any Canadian is free to follow their political beliefs.  He died nearly a decade before Mao took control of China, so he had no way of knowing what China might become. 

This is one of the very rare occasions when I find myself agreeing with Stephen Harper's government, although I suspect for reasons different from their own motivations.  Bethune deserves recognition as someone who made a difference all over the world, never wanting anything in return.  This is a model of Canadian citizenship that is commendable - he just got on with the job, not flying the flag, not getting all teary-eyed about Canada.  The Conservative are clearly trying to butter up China in the hopes of gaining closer economic ties, but I am still happy to see Bethune's profile increased in Canada, the country that has ignored him for too long.
Tory MP calls Bethune memorial a 'bow' to China - CBC News

To learn more about Norman Bethune, I would recommend watching the National Film Board's excellent documentary Bethune.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Rail network to see 'biggest investment' since the Victorians

I have always been envious of the British railway network.  Coming from Canada, the idea of having such a complex and useful network is a dream for me.  Of course, Britons are notorious for grumbling about their railways, but they should try travelling by rail outside of Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver!  Of course, this announcement isn't all new.  The electrification of the Great Western Main Line was announced in 2009, and improvements to Felixstowe have been in the works for years too.  Still, it shows that there is still commitment to railways in the UK.
Rail network to see 'biggest investment' since the Victorians | guardian.co.uk

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Northern Ontario residents feel they’ve been forgotten in plan to sell off train service

Finally!  A very good article published in the southern media!  Despite the fact that the photo caption is inaccurate - the ONR has more than one train (this shot appears to show the Polar Bear Express) - this is an excellent profile of the issue and it is a good opportunity to get up to speed on the story since March. 

Equally interesting is to read the comments at the end.  There is a wide mix of the "the north is ignored," "McGuinty broke his promise" and "they get loads of subsidies, they don't need a train."

There have been many meetings and protests in Northern Ontario since the announcement to divest the ONTC was made in March.  Unfortunately, there has been very little done in the Toronto area.  Logistically, it would be a lot of work to move people south, but the media is here.  News crews had to travel to Elliot Lake a few weeks ago because most outlets are exclusively in Toronto or Ottawa.  It's time for a major rally in the GTA so that people are actually confronted with the issue.  Other media outlets need to follow the Star's lead and profile this story.  It's time for Ontario news to move out of the GTA and cover the whole province.
Northern Ontario residents feel they’ve been forgotten in plan to sell off train service - thestar.com

Flag flies as fight goes on

This is always the tricky stage: when negotiations start, we never really know what is going on.  I still believe that McGuinty needs to talk with people in the north.  After all, he promised to keep the ONTC, he wrote the contract.
Flag flies as fight goes on - The North Bay Nugget

Monday, July 09, 2012

Quebec student protests: an explainer

I have been drafting a piece on the Quebec students protests for a while, but this article offers an excellent summary, much better than I could do.
Quebec student protests: an explainer | Guardian Professional

Saturday, July 07, 2012

GO's Art Train Conductor No. 9

A few weeks back, I saw a strangely-wrapped GO coach.  It's not uncommon to see their coaches wrapped in vinyl advertisements, it is a successful revenue-generating scheme.  What was different is that there weren't any brands.  A few days later, I saw an article on GO's website explaining that what I had seen was "Art Train Conductor No. 9."  This is a joint project between GO, the University of Toronto and No. 9 Art & the Environment.  This coach is wrapped in artwork by Jennifer Marman and Daniel Borins.  The project is linked with an app in the hopes of creating a dialogue about the future of sustainable public transport.

On 5 July, I travelled to Toronto and was able to ride in this special coach.  The interior appeared just like any other coach, but the exterior is striking, even from up close.  One tip: if you want to look out the window, find another coach.  Trying to look through the wrap is nauseating.

I quickly jumped off the train at Pickering for a shot.  Here is my artistic spin on a piece of moving art.

Friday, July 06, 2012

Pacific Sunset

Wednesday, Mother Parkers' private car Pacific once again headed to Toronto, this time at the end of VIA train 59.  I headed out to shoot the trip at sunset.


It is an incredibly warm week in the GTA, with today's temperature pushing 35 celcius.  A few hours before this photo was taken, the first of the inevitable summer power cuts happened, only nine minutes this time though.  It was cooler as the sun set and with the breeze trackside, it was quite pleasant.  VIA 59 sped through a few minutes late, just catching the last of the sun's rays.  The usual group of passengers waved on the end platform as the train disappeared in a cloud of track dust.

The tour schedule has been edited (shortened) extensively and I'm not sure if I will get to see Pacific again.  At least I have some lovely photos to commemorate the tour.

ONTC: Timmins Meeting Announced

Summer is here and news on the issue has begun to dry up.  Nevertheless, things are still happening.

The ONTC GCA has announced a meeting on July 9 at 7pm at the Centennial Hall, 782 Park Avenue, in Timmins.  Timmins - James Bay MP Charlie Angus and MPP Gilles Bisson are sponsoring the event.

The GCA has also taken out a billboard near Rick Bartolucci's constituency office.  It reads: "Attention Minister Bartolucci We Want a New Deal for Ontario Northland."  You can't get much clearer than that.

MPPs say northern industry is fearful

More economic concerns and renewed calls for dialogue.
MPPs say northern industry is fearful | Your online newspaper for North Bay, Ontario

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Toronto Union Station train shed renovations on track, says Metrolinx

Anyone who has been near Union Station recently can't help but notice the huge amount of construction, not just under the train shed, but also on Front St. and in the Great Hall.  It was for these refurbishments, but I hope that the overall character of the station can be preserved.  It was one of the last "secular cathedrals" to be built in North America and is a truly special space.
Toronto Union Station train shed renovations on track, says Metrolinx - thestar.com

Sunday, July 01, 2012

A special CP load

Despite the variety of different loads and cars on freight trains, they can become a little repetitive after a while.  Occasionally, something special happens that really makes going trackside worthwhile.  On Thursday, I received a tip that CP would be running not one, but two special trains on the Belleville sub.  With nothing much to do, I headed out to see the two trains, each one carrying enormous components for wind turbines. 

CP train #600-500 at Whitby.

In all, I spent four hours trackside.  It was a highly successful outing and traffic was unusually heavy.  While CP does broadcast a lineup outlining when trains are scheduled to leave Toronto Yard, the order and times can change.  After watching the usual mix of intermodal, mixed freight, locals and even an ethanol train, my patience was rewarded with train 600-500, the first of the two turbine specials, running about three hours later than planned.  It was running quite slowly and I was amazed at how huge the turbine parts were, they look so small when they are assembled and turning in the wind!  After such a long wait, the sun was coming out and it was getting warmer.  I decided not to wait for the second train and instead headed home to rest before Pacific came through on VIA train 48. 

 
Each turbine blade covered two flat cars!