There are many reasons why people cross Canada by train. For some, it’s a cheap way to get to the booming west to look for work. Others ride the rails in the hope of reconciling with family. And then there are those who want to cross off an item on their bucket list, to see the Prairies and the western Mountains in all their splendour.
Star feature writer Leslie Scrivener took the train to Vancouver, experiencing the “in-between time” such a journey offers. In the mesmerizing chronicle of her trip, Train of Dreams: Heading West from Toronto on VIA Rail, she conjures up the wilderness outside the cars and the social complexity within. Her fellow-travellers included tourists, job hunters and redemption seekers. And her account is filled with drama, poignancy and the old-fashioned magic of a journey by train.
Leslie Scrivener has ridden trains in Burma, where the pace is slow and travellers lean out open windows, and on numbing long hauls across China — 36 hours of sitting on hard seats. She also crossed Canada by train once before, in the early 1980s. Scrivener has written a Star Dispatches eRead about Canadian anthropologist Wade Davis entitled On Ealue Lake: Wade Davis and the Battle for Todagin Mountain. The author of a biography of Canada’s heroic Terry Fox, she is a feature writer at the Star.
Star Dispatches ebooks provide readers with exceptional long-form journalism from the Toronto Star newsroom.