Across Canada by Train Chapter two: edmonton to winnipeg

We stayed with family in Edmonton, so the photos I'll share publicly are limited, but we did have a lovely time. Although Edmonton's never been at the top of my list of exceptional cities, I am reminded each time I visit that there are hidden gems to be found. Just look at the size of their wild rabbits!

We spent a fantastic day at The Fringe Festival. The Edmonton Farmer's Market on site is what I envision our own St. John's Farmer's Market might become once it moves into the refurbished bus depot. Such a perfect blend of fresh, and prepared-food vendors, along with a mixture of talented craftspeople.

The repurposed site of the Edmonton Farmer's Market.

A family outing to West Edmonton Mall showed me the extent of how a place can change yet stay the same. (There's no submarine ride anymore?!?)

An engaging face at West Edmonton Mall.
An eye-catching sculpture and an inconvenient light pole as we zipped past on the bus.
A good pal to have as our temporary roommate.

Onwards to Winnipeg!

Edmonton was the least appealing train station we encountered, perhaps fortunately then also only experienced in the dark of night, both on arrival and departure. To be fair, we understand this is just a temporary location as the main station is renovated. The desk clerk was playing an acoustic guitar though, so that was nice.

VIA Rail Edmonton.

I awoke to the scene below outside my train window as we waited at a siding for a freight train to pass. Though I don't recall visiting the cemetery, I have in fact visited this tiny town before. In 198?, Irma was the unlikely destination of our junior high band trip. The Irma-ites also came up to Yellowknife. Strange sometimes how the most unexpected reminders resurface in our lives.

Good morning Irma!
The valleys on the prairies make me swoon they are so beautiful!

Far from boring I find the subtle changes of a prairie landscape fascinating. Is it because of the changing light, the big sky, the vast distance? All three probably. I wish I knew my field crops better. We did overhear from another passenger say that the vast white "mountains" we saw, as in the last photo, are potash.

We learned early in our journey that there would be many pauses as we waited for freight trains to pass. Apparently CN owns the tracks, and so freight trains take priority over VIA Rail's passenger service. The waiting did get tiresome for sure, and as the same train makes the entire journey from Vancouver to Toronto, we accumulated some unbelievable delays in our scheduled arrival and departure times from the places we stopped along the route. By the time we reached Toronto the train was a full 9 hours behind schedule.

To pass the time while we sat waiting for the freight trains to pass, I challenged the panoramic feature on my phone to capture the trains going by. I find the results quite pleasing!

Panoramic image of a speeding freight train.

I collected some photos of grain elevators and train stations. The grain elevators were fewer and farther between than I'd hoped - I guess they are being lost to more efficient ways of dealing with grain(?). Likewise, some towns have let once-beautiful stations fall into disrepair. There were some however that had been lovingly refurbished.

A structure that we saw adjacent to a few different stations. Note the curious indented corner windows.
Somewhere, yonder a grain elevator.
Looked like clapboard as we whizzed past.
Did not look like clapboard as we whizzed past.

And last but not least from this day that passed all too quickly for me: can anyone enlighten me on the purpose of the orange tents below? They seemed about the size of the steel aluminum silos we saw a few of - are these portable versions?

Next stop, Winnipeg! Hooboy: what a city! Chapter Three on this Cross Canada photo-log is long!

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