To the Editor:
The time is 6:30pm and the beach is winding down from a joyous day of family, friends and loved ones who enjoyed making memories on the Port Elgin beach.
As I sit on my porch, I can hear in the distance the sound of a bell ringing. Like the soothing sound of the Algonquin Loon, so is the majestic noise of the train whistle blowing. The laughter shared and the moments captured as it takes people on an adventure. Not just a trip around the park but, for those special minutes spent riding the train, people forget about their worries and embrace the beauty of the coastal landscape. The world looks different when riding the train. Its more than just metal and steam. It’s a symbol. A symbol that encapsulates the inner child in us.
I’m not a local but I did grow up in Port Elgin. We all have. For all those years spent walking the Port Elgin beach, enjoying ice cream with my kids on the pier as we watch boats coming in. The joy of the music played on Sunday evenings that brings the young and the old together. This is the sound of summer in Port Elgin. The sound that money cannot buy. The sound that no one understands but somehow feels safe to them. This is not just about the train. It’s about lives. Often we are blinded by the trees to see the forest.
We should be using the train as a backbone for development. Build on it not destroy it. Opportunity is looking you in the eye. “if you build it they will come”, a quote taken from Field of Dreams. Let’s look at that as a metaphor for something great.
By adding attractions, you will bring in new money. The train is only part of it. Create instead of destroy. The town of Port Elgin needs to stand out. The pride in this town and its thriving population show that it’s not slowing down anytime soon. Take the time to walk through the town and you will not only see development but also heritage that goes back to 1874.
One common thread separates the town of Port Elgin from any other. The people. The town was not built by the Port Elgin steam train. It was built around it. For all the changes the town has seen. For all the hardship and challenges it has overcome. One thing has always remained true to itself. The steam train. It embodies the spirit and culture that this town has and is a symbol of pride for those who have visit to ride it and for those who live here.