THE CANADIAN: GHOST TRAIN CROSSING CANADA
Considering Canada is 8000 kilometres (5000 miles) wide, it’s amazing how many people set out to cross the country from sea-to-sea. With so much ground to pass beneath you this is one pilgrimage where the journey truly is the destination. Whether by car or bicycle, train or canoe, travellers form their own river running across the landscape. Like a river these travellers are forever shaped by the country they pass through.
It's hard to make sense of a big country like Canada. How can one flag wrap around so many distant people and places? Perhaps that's where the sea-to-sea travel urge comes from. You get the feeling that something on the horizon will make sense of it all, but finding it is like catching a rainbow in a jar.
My own cross-country exploration is done by train, but not in the usual sense. I carry the train rather than it carrying me. It fits into a shopping bag from Mountain Equipment Co-op.
The train is a miniature version of the vintage 1955 streamliner that was first called The Canadian, a ghost from the not-too-distant past. It rolls on tiny steel rails that are about two centimetres apart. Nothing larger than an ant can fit into the elegant passenger cars, but traveling with the miniature Canadian gives a fresh view of the country nonetheless.
Setting up the train requires spending a lot of time at ground level. It’s a place seldom explored by adults, but you gain a new perspective by being close to the land. It is here you find the exquisite details that make up Canada's foundation. As anyone who has watched a child play outdoors knows, there’s a new world to explore in the landscape at your feet.
For all of you who have encountered me working on this project and offered many kind words I hope you enjoy the finished photographs.