First Look: Ontario Northland’s ‘Every Child Matters’ Locomotive

Written by Marybeth Luczak, Executive Editor
(Photograph Courtesy of Ontario Northland, via Twitter)

(Photograph Courtesy of Ontario Northland, via Twitter)

Ontario Northland on Sept. 12 revealed a new “Every Child Matters” paint scheme for locomotive 1808.

The North Bay, Ontario-based railroad’s engine pays tribute to and raises awareness for Canada’s National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, also called “Orange Shirt Day,” an opportunity for Canadians to learn about and reflect on a dark chapter in the country’s history involving now-infamous Residential Schools, and to commemorate the victims and honor the survivors, their families and their communities, as called for by Canada’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Indigenous Peoples (First Nations) leaders. The annual event is observed Sept. 30.

The locomotive will travel from North Bay to Moosonee over the next few weeks, Ontario Northland reported on Twitter. The Almaguin News noted that it will run in passenger and freight service.

According to the media outlet, Ontario Northland President and CEO Corina Moore, a Railway Age Women in Rail honoree in 2017, “emphasized that Ontario Northland ‘is grounded’ in its  commitment ‘to create a better future,’ and the train symbolizes that commitment. ‘It reminds us as individuals that we must listen and learn with open hearts.’ Furthermore, the Every Child Matters engine ‘reminds us that the path forward is about the actions that we choose to take today but they must be based on what we continue to learn about the past. And that will guide us.’ Moore also explained that Ontario Northland is ‘powered by diversity, inclusion and acceptance’ and one of the key values at the company ‘is caring for one another.’”

Canadian Pacific participated in the first “Orange Shirt Day,” in 2021, by placing into service its “Every Child Matters” ES44AC 8757, painted in a bright orange livery with unique graphics.

The Orange Shirt Society was founded by Phyllis Jack Webstad, who told her story about having her orange shirt, a gift from her grandmother, taken away from her on her first day of Residential School in 1973, when she was six years old. Webstad is Northern Secwpemc (Shuswap), from the Stswecem’c Xgat’tem First Nation (Canoe Creek Indian Band).

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