Chugging Through The?Great White North

The many miles of railroad track that traverse Canada take travelers on a scenic journey steeped in the history of the country. Those rails will be explored in detail when Rockefeller Arts Center at SUNY Fredonia presents “The Great Canadian Train Ride” on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 7:30 p.m. in King Concert Hall.

Filmmaker Doug Jones will personally present this World Travel Series offering, which is sponsored by Fredonia Place as part of the 2013-14 Lake Shore Savings Season.

In 1955, the Canadian Pacific inaugurated a new trans-continental streamliner, “The Canadian,” which promised to be one of the most luxurious trains in the world.

This “glittering new train of stainless steel” with its domed observation cars was an instant success. It was both comfortable and fast. However, with the rise of jet travel in the 1960s, “The Canadian” fell out of favor and into disrepair.

But the great train’s story did not end there – in 1989, VIA Rail launched a project to restore “The Canadian.” The plan was offer people the opportunity to travel in a “style that speaks of another age” and it proved to be very successful.

More than five decades after its initial launch, “The Canadian” is still rolling across the prairies of Canada and through the most breathtaking part of the Rocky Mountain Range.

Courtesy of Mr. Jones’ film, armchair travelers will board the train in Toronto as it begins a transcontinental run across the provinces of Ontario and Manitoba. Stops will include Winnipeg, Saskatoon, and Edmonton. From Saskatchewan the train rolls on to Alberta and into the heart of the Canadian Rockies.

In addition to taking a scenic ride across Canada, viewers will go behind the scenes to see the operation of one of the last great trans-continental trains. The history and restoration of “The Canadian” will be highlighted.

“Train travel is perhaps the most romantic form of travel in the world,” Mr. Jones said. “What I tried to do in producing this film was take the audience back to a more leisurely age when travelers viewed the scenery from the ground. VIA Rail has refurbished this train to like-new condition and travelers today have the opportunity to really experience this journey in the same luxury the Canadian Pacific offered in its inaugural run in 1955.”

Mr. Jones has produced 18 feature-length travel films. He has appeared on virtually every important auditorium lecture series in the United States and Canada including the National Geographic Society series at Constitution Hall in Washington, D.C.

He has presented his films at SUNY Fredonia on 10 previous occasions to a combined total of more than 5,500 people – making him one of the most popular speakers in the 30-year history of the World Travel Series.

A member the Society of American Travel Writers, he is past president of the International Travel Film Guild and the International Motion Picture and Lecturers Association. He is listed in Who’s Who in Entertainment and he was given the “Film Lecturer of the Year” award by the International Platform Association for his outstanding work in the field of travelogue production.

Mr. Jones has been producing travel films since 1968 and has worked as a professional entertainer, a radio announcer, a European tour guide, an art dealer and a theatrical producer. His personal travels have taken him around the world and into nearly 70 nations on six continents.

His films have been released on home video and DVD. “The Great Canadian Train Ride” has sold more than one million copies worldwide. Mr. Jones also operates an active stock footage business and his material is regularly seen in prime time television shows and national commercials.

In addition to his work in producing travel films, Mr. Jones is an avid pilot having made more than 40 solo coast-to-coast flights in his Cessna airplane.

Tickets are available at the door for this general admission event.

One child 12 and under is admitted free with each adult ticket purchased.

Tickets may also be purchased through the SUNY Fredonia Ticket Office in the Williams Center, by phone at 673-3501 or online at fredonia.edu/tickets.