Train enthusiasts, history buffs and those with a love for old-fashioned engineering make up much of the visitors to the West Coast Railway Heritage Park in Squamish, British Columbia each year. Run by the West Coast Railway Association, the over 1 500 active members and volunteers bring visitors exciting exhibits, never-before-seen pieces of historic machines and a sense of adventure on board some of Canada’s oldest trains.
This year, the association and the Heritage Park are inviting a whole new audience to enjoy a fun family day out among the railways, carriages and lovable tank engines… Lovable? Well, yes, if you’re blue, white and and red with a large, happy face and are named Thomas.
Over two fun-filled weekends, this popular fictional engine from children’s literature and television will be the focus of family-oriented entertainment at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park. Fans of the books and the TV series will have a chance to take a 20-minute train ride with Thomas the Tank Engine, take photos with the famous engine and meet the well-known Controller, Sir Topham Hatt.
There will also be a range of Thomas-themed activities, like mini-golf, craft tables and train tables, as well as various other railway-oriented displays and games, sandcastle building, a magician, musician and a bouncy castle.
The five Days Out With Thomas take place over two weekends in May: Saturday May 20, Sunday May 21, Monday May 22, Saturday May 27 and Sunday, May 28. The train rides with Thomas are at 9:30, 10:30, 11:30, 13:00, 14:00, 15:00, and 16:00.
Besides offering such family-oriented entertainment, the Heritage Park plays host to several educational outings each year. Day visitors and organized groups alike can enjoy a variety of group and educational tours, including A Walk Back in Time: Tour of Our Pioneer Village; The Building of Western Canada: How Immigrants Traveled from the East; Train Car Analysis: A Look at the Different Types of Rail-cars and what they do; and Train Technology: The progression from Diesel to Steam.
Squamish itself is a popular destination for vacationers and tourists, staying active and providing a wide range of both summer and winter activities, sports and entertainment for guests. For those with an interest in educational and learning pursuits, Squamish is not only host to the Railway Heritage Park, it is also home to the Brackendale Art Gallery, Britannia Mine Museum, and even brewery tours, among others.
Located close to Whistler, Squamish is rapidly becoming one of the more popular tourist destinations in British Columbia, particularly as it offers an easy day out of the city or quick weekend away for residents of Vancouver and surrounding areas. It also provides a convenient base for visitors to Brackendale Eagles, Garibaldi and Alice Lake Provincial Parks.