Bytown Railway Society Invades the Chateau Montebello
As a change of pace, it was decided this year to hold our annual get together at the Chateau Montebello. Sunday June 10 loomed warn and hazy as the first assault group, approximately 30 members and friends, boarded the North Shore train at Ottawa Station. VIA's Budd car was on tine and the conductor kindly stopped the train for us at a crossing close to the main gate. The group made a full frontal attack, the force of which took it straight through the entrance, into the lobby and with sufficient momentum to allow it to secure its first objective - breakfast in the coffee shop.
Suitably sustained with bacon, eggs, pancakes, maple syrup and coffee, the group fanned out to explore the grounds. Most were on foot but at least one tandem bicycle was seen being ridden hard by people wearing railway caps.
Reinforcements arrived by road during the morning so that the size of the final assault force that sat-down to lunch in the Montebello Room was 51. The beef bourguignon was excellent and our party did it full justice in spite of the late breakfast.. Our guest speaker, Commissioner Jack Walter of the Canadian Transport Commission, gave an excellent talk about the role of the brotherhoods in the lobby process. He illustrated the talk by references to the establishment of Via Rail Canada, particularly relevant bearing in mind that over half of those present had made use of Via that day.
The afternoon was spent recovering from the excellent lunch, exploring Joseph Papineau's house, swimming and just lounging. The rail contingent gathered at Montebello Station in time to see the eastbound dayliner then made their way to a highly recommended French restaurant in the town. They serve the best patates frites that side of Thurso! Thus fortified we caught the train back to Ottawa.
The verdict? It was a good day. There were a few things best forgotten like being beaten in a TV game by the youngest member of the party, but all in all everybody had a good time. We have already made a reservation for June 8 next year. This tine some members and their wives (?) are planning to spend the weekend down there. I think this idea was influenced by the T shirts and nightgowns on sale at the gift shop which read;
"Sleep with me tonight at the Chateau Montebello."
Bytown Railway Society, Branchline, June 1979.