Bring Back Our Train. Musician Ian Tamblyn Performs to Capacity Crowd


There was a tremendous turn-out at The Water Tower Inn’s Pavilion, on Thursday, April 6th, 2017. Folks came from far and wide to celebrate the music of Ian Tamblyn, one of Canada’s most prolific songwriters. Tamblyn has been a musician since 1972 and has released 38 albums as well as acting as producer for dozens of other artists.

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Train (CAPT) brought Tamblyn to The Sault, where he headlined a fundraising initiative that also included an impressive line-up of over 50 Silent Auction items. The concert and auction were undertaken to support the ongoing efforts to bring back passenger rail service to the Algoma region – ‘Mask-wa Oo-ta-ban’ or ‘Bear Train’.

Tamblyn introduced his song ‘Wood Smoke and Oranges’ by saying that every year he has to renew a license – a spiritual license  – one that brings him to the shores of  Lake Superior where he dips his feet into the restorative waters of The Great Lake.

The ‘Healing Lodge Singers’ also performed, and two of the members joined Tamblyn on stage for one of his songs.

Chief Jason Gauthier, who is leading the push to restore the Algoma Passenger Train told Superior Media, “We’ve been working very hard on creating relationships with the Ministry of Transportation, INAC (Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada) and CN Rail to get the passenger train back up and running. We’ve been very effective as a team to create a path forward for the passenger service.”

The Coalition for Algoma Passenger Trains (CAPT) is a regional not-for-profit organization of individuals, municipalities, First Nations, businesses and other stakeholders who recognize the significant social, economic, cultural,  historical and environmental value of Northern Ontario’s passenger trains. It is dedicated to preserving and enhancing remote passenger train service in the District of Algoma as well as the adjacent districts around Hearst and Sudbury.

“We are still continuing a campaign to the Ministry of Transportation.” said Chief Gauthier. “There is a lot of bureaucracy that poses significant challenges and it can be discouraging at times.”

In July, 2016, Canada’s Federal Minister of Transport, Marc Garneau announced that the passenger rail line between Sault Ste. Marie and Hearst, Ontario did not meet eligibility requirements defined as ‘remote access’, leaving many who require rail passenger service to their communities, camps, and businesses including tourist resorts found along the Sault Ste. Marie to Hearst corridor, stranded.

Most passengers have no other way to travel to their properties and businesses.  400 km of the 470 km Algoma rail line is not accessible by public road. For the few people who have found alternate ways to access their residences, those alternatives, such as logging roads, are not reliable, safe or year round.

People have been injured and/or had their vehicles badly damaged on the logging roads. Logging roads are only maintained when and if logging companies need them. The Algoma passenger train has been the only safe, affordable, all-season access into the Algoma wilderness rail corridor for over 100 years.

The Missanabie Cree First Nation, NEARN (Northern and Eastern Rail Network), and CAPT continue to move forward with a business plan to bring back the train. In November 2016, $200,000 was provided by INAC to support the working group’s effort to develop a business plan.

The Ian Tamblyn concert certainly energized and lifted the spirits of all who attended the fundraising event. Tamblyn has received a number of awards and nominations. In 2012, he was made a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographic Society for his guiding and creative work in the Canadian Arctic.

Tamblyn has been awarded the Estelle Klein and Helen Verger Awards for his contributions to Canadian folk music. Tamblyn received an honorary doctorate from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ontario and holds a Distinguished Alumni Award from Trent University. He was voted English Songwriter of the Year in 2010 by the Canadian Folk Music Awards and is the recipient of numerous awards and nominations from the music and theatre world.

Over the past year, Tamblyn has been writer-in-residence at Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, teaching songwriting and composition to fourth year music students. He has recently released CD­ 38, celebrating the iconic Canadian ‘Group of Seven’ artists, entitled ‘Walking in the Footsteps’, a project commissioned by the Art Gallery of Sudbury.

To learn more about CAPT –

Ian Tamblyn :HERE


  1. The likelihood of seeing the passenger train running again is about as good as seeing 3 blue moons in a row on three consecutive nights. It is a massive money losing venture and no one in their right mind has that much money to burn, especially this corrupt government after squandering billions of our taxpayer money already.

  2. They should see if they could possibly get some assistance from Via Rail Canada in operating the Algoma Passenger train.

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