The Incident at Stilmore Lake

28 Aug

When I was attending The University of Toronto, I spent my summers working for The Canadian Pacific Railroad working as a Dining Car Waiter on board The Canadian, travelling from Toronto to Winnipeg and return via Sudbury. It was four days of work every eight days. We spent two nights on the rails; and one night in the staff bunkhouse near the station, or in the CPR Winnipeg Hotel which is now torn down, only to catch the east bound train the next day.

I learned that I was not a poker-player, travelling the rales those summers. I also learned how to work hard, do the dishes, garnish a cheese tray, eat lots of turkey, set tables, balance a tray stacked with four orders of food, and all this on no sleep!

I remember taking a taxi to the local L.C.B.O. in Fort William.

I remember those baskets of wild blueberries for sale when the train stopped around the Canadian Shield.

I remember alot of things, but then I suppose, I have forgotten some things along the way. The exuberance of youth: the infirmities of age!

Between the 3 serviings of breakfast, lunch and dinner, the dining car crew travelled back and forth to the crew car at the head of train to rest, or alternately sat and gossipped in the dining car. The passengers frequently passed going to the Observation car in the middle of the train or the Observation car at the rear of the train. Some passengers would ask — “What the name of the lake?” that we were travelling beside. I learned that the answer to that question no atter who asked was “Moore Lake.” When that passenger passed again usually walking in the opposite direction; the unprompted reply would always be “and that’s Stilmore Lake” pointing to another body of water on either the same side, or the opposite side of the train.


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