In overalls, goggles, cap Frost chugs into Aurora piloting 1899 locomotive
Aurora, May 16.—Premier Leslie M. Frost took on a new role today and chugged into Aurora dressed in overalls, goggles and engineer's cap at the throttle of "The Mogul," a CNR engine built in 1899. He piloted the CNR's Museum Train into town to compelte 100 years of railroading in Aurora and the centenary of steam locomotion in Ontario. The wood-burning "Toronto" engine hauled the first steam train into what was then known as Machell's Corners 100 years ago today.
The majority of Aurora's 3,358 citizens in holiday mood and colorful dress, turned out to welcome the train just as they welcomoed its flag-draped predecessor 100 years ago. Mayor Dr. Crawford Rose, dressed in silk topper and ancient styled clothes, was surrounded by townspeople who dug into attic trunks for the oldest clothes they could find.
Driving the old train today Premier Frost was living some of the history of the province and of his family.
Grandfather rode on it
"This line has great interest for me," the Premier said. "My grandfather, John A. Frost and his wife, Janet, went to Orillia over this line on July 1, 1867, our first Dominion Day.
"In those days the line ran from Toronto to Belle Ewart, on Lake Simcoe, across to Barrie and then to Collingwood. Belle Ewart was really the jumping off place for Orillia and all northern Ontario in those days. In fact my father has often hold me that there was actually nothing in Muskoka in those days. Washago was something like the North Pole.
"My grandfather and grandmother got off at Belle Ewart and went up Lake Simcoe to Orillia in the Emily May steamer," the premier recalled.
"My father used to insist that he could remember the flags flying Orillia on that first Dominion day. He would be only about three years and few months old then.
"My family stayed in Orillia till my mother's death in 1946," Premier Frost said. So Orillia and Simcoe county are among the indelible things in my life."
As he sat in the old day coach, one that was used in 1860, Mr. Frost was invited into the diner. "My grandfather and grandmother never sat in a diner in their lives. They considered themselves fortunate to be in the day coach," he observed.
The CNR's six-car museum train, loaded with hundreds of treasures of railroading from a metal Bible rack used on early trains to the orders Queen Elizabeth and the Duke of Edinburgh filled out for chicken dinners on their cross-Canada trip in 1951, started from Toronto for Aurora at 1 a.m. today to make the historic journey.
The train powered by the old Mogul actually had three 19th century engines. Behind the Mogul, which did wayfreight service in Montréal before joining the Museum Train, was No. 40, a woodburning Grand Trunk engine built in 1872 and the last woodburner operated in Canada.