Poets, Authors Honored By Railway Mile Posts, Published  17 July 1953

Who. I have been asking myself for years, named those stations after authors in Southern Saskatchewan? How come this Poets' Corner sprang up on the summer fallow along the Canadian National Railways? To the shame of the Canadian Authors Association they have never pursued this problem? Nor was I, in 15 years, ever able to get out of the Canadian National Railways ever the slightest clue as to how come the CNR suddenly went highbrow on the Maryfield south western branch.
Take your blue Canadian folder, turn to page 67, and at the top of the page, note down the stations under the headings Maryfield-Carlyle-Estevan-Blewett. Mixed train No. 233 startsout Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays for Estevan.
The mixed hits the first literary note at Mile 7.2, where Ryerson is the stop. This is presumably named for Egerton Ryerson, father of public education in Ontario. We draw a blank at mile 13.3, for Mair is not any author I can think of. But we bounce right back with Parkman at 19.3 and here commemorate the great American historian.

* * *

Robert W. Service is honored with Service Station at Mile 26.6 and Cowper comes next. William Cowper, author of John Gilpin and famed 18th century poet thus finds an honorable place with the crew of the thrice-a-week mixed.
Then we really honor one of the great names of English literature at a place where this Canadian National branch crosses the Canadian Pacific. For we now come to Carlyle. Named doubtless for the Saga of Ecclefechan, Carlyle thus honors not only two railways but English literature.
No sooner has the mixed changed her consist, picked up her new empties and dropped her loads at the divisional point, when, she highballs it down to Wordsworth. Thus train and author William Wordsworth, "wander lonely as a cloud,'' not through daffodils, but on to Willmar, named for an obscure  U.S. political figure of half a century back.

* * *

Then comes at the sixtieth mile post, the station Browning.
Next divisional point we honor a Canadian and an Ottawan - Lampman! The onetime civil servant and Lisgar Street resident, the great Canadian of the day before yesterday, Lampman is honored by this dinky little Canadian National divisional point.
Here the line branches off. The mixed freight No. 233 sails on to such places as dull Kingsford, to the lignite coal areas around Bienfait (pronounced Bean-Fate) and down to Spanish-named Estevan
But it is not this way that lie the Elysian Fields. No! Mixed train No.283, making the run but once a week, quests the muse as, out of Lampman, it pauses at Luxton, and honors, one conjectures, an old Winnipeg Free Press man. Then at Miles 76.2 and 83.2, it does strange things. For here one finds Cullen and Bryant, the last two labels of the triply named William Cullen Bryant, the Quaker poet.
Finally, the antl climax and the end of the line is Blewett, named presumably for novelist  Jean Blewett.

From the Ottawa Citizen 12 August 1953

Recently a 'Cross Town mentioned a branch line in Saskatchewan, rich in author's name. I mentioned Mair, mile 13-3. I am indebted to Harry Hands who recalls that Mair was born In Lanark, in 1833. Educated at Perth Grammar School and Queen' University he rapidly assumed a poet's stature. His "Tecumseh" a drama published in 1886, earned him national renown while "The Last Bison" also found favor. In 1901 he published "Collected Poems" and in 1908 he wrote "Through Mackenzie Basin."
Mr. Hands likes particularly some lines from "Tecumseh" notably
"There was a time on this fair continent
"When all things throve in spacious peacefulness"
Mr. Hands is also kind enough to recall favorable treatment accorded here to this own poem "A Pilgrimage."

Home   Circle    Cross Articles

Updated 22 May 2019