The first North Pole Express of the season rumbled into the station at the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario this past Saturday. Santa Claus was there, Mrs. Claus was there, lots of busy volunteers and helpers were there hustling and bustling, but our old friend, the friendly if ever so slightly overactive polar bear, wasn’t. Instead, a fuzzy green badly mannered creature scurried through the hallways – the Grinch, foul mouthed and ill tempered as ever. Maybe he put a sleeping pill into the polar bear’s egg-nog and made him hibernate all the way into spring now, we will probably never find out. Nevertheless, the 500 visitors coming to the ninth annual North Pole Express still had a great time, no surprise with the countless family activities for every age offered.
This year stands under the banner of “A Magical Journey to the Heart of the Holidays”, and it is magical indeed. Cozy hay wagon rides with Tony, sending Santa Grams in the Telegraph Office to Santa’s workshops, the sweet music from carollers and young violinist Oliver Hart-Craig, vendors offering hot treats and popcorn, outdoor fire pits inviting for a little rest, Stories with Mrs. Claus, face painting, raffle tickets for an original painting, the chance to win an 800$ voucher for VIA, and so much more stands on the program.
Executive director Becky Allen commented: “We were excited to work with C’est Tout Bakery with this event, who offered a promotion to our North Pole Express Ticket Holders of a free Latte with purchase. We are trying hard to get our out of town guests to enjoy our great little community while they are here!”
Kids can also show their artistic talent with Grinch colouring pages (he really hates being depicted in pink fur). And for a small fee you can get your photos with Santa in the Dining Car done, courtesy of Catwood Photography. Of course the highlight will no doubt be the familiar rides on the decorated trains of yesteryear.
“It was a fantastic day and we had great feedback from our guests!” said Becky Allen.
And what did the Grinch think of all this festive delight” Well, he had a miserable good time of course and found it absolutely “grinchworthy”. But why should anyone really listen to the green ball of smelly fur? Come by and judge for yourself, the North Pole Express continues on two more dates December the 2nd and December the 9th. While the train rides are now sold out, general admission still gives you access to all the other activities.