The Next Phase Of Via Rail’s High Frequency Rail Project Through Peterborough Is Moving Forward

“This train has yet to leave the station, but this is the furthest we have ever come on the idea of a passenger train,” says MP Maryam Monsef of an announcement made on Tuesday (June 25th) that she says “marks a significant milestone moving forward.”

Monsef announced that the Government of Canada and Canada Infrastructure Bank are committing a total of $71.1 million in new funding to complete additional planning activities over the next two years to advance VIA Rail’s proposal for High Frequency Rail in the busy Quebec City-Toronto Corridor, which runs through Peterborough.

Historical photo of Via Rail train in 1981 at what is now Peterborough Chamber courtesy Peterborough Chamber

Historical photo of Via Rail train in 1981 at what is now Peterborough Chamber courtesy Peterborough Chamber

“This project would bring significant economic growth to our community and the affected regions along the corridor,” says Monsef. “It also requires a significant investment. That’s why we have taken each step forward in a measured, thoughtful way. We are not interested in creating buzz that leads to no results.”

“We began by working with Via Rail to determine their business case, which we have determined would be good for the middle class and those working hard to join it. The next step is making sure we move forward in the correct way. That requires meaningful indigenous consultations and environmental assessment.”

Historical photo of Via Rail station courtesy Peterborough Chamber

Historical photo of Via Rail station courtesy Peterborough Chamber

The new funding will be used to establish a Joint Project Team and fund work to preserve the option of interoperability with regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.

The Joint Project Team, between Canada Infrastructure Bank and VIA Rail, will be established using the $55 million in funding from Canada Infrastructure Bank. This Joint Project Team will coordinate the next steps required in developing this project, focusing on the following activities throughout 2019 to 2020:

· finalizing legal and regulatory work related to safety and environmental assessments;

· consulting with stakeholders and Indigenous communities;

· examining required land and track acquisition; and

· completing the technical, financial and commercial analysis required for a final investment decision on High Frequency Rail in the Corridor.

Photo from announcement of funding at Peterborough Chamber courtesy Maryam Monsef

Photo from announcement of funding at Peterborough Chamber courtesy Maryam Monsef

The balance of the funding, $16.1 million, is for Transport Canada and VIA Rail to support VIA Rail’s contributions to the Joint Project Team. It will also fund technical work to ensure the interoperability and integration of High Frequency Rail with operating tracks used by local and regional transit providers in Montreal and Toronto.

Photo courtesy Maryam Monsef

Photo courtesy Maryam Monsef

"Today's announcement is a significant next step for the VIA Rail High Frequency Rail proposal,” says Stuart Harrison, CEO at Greater Peterborough Chamber of Commerce. “This is no longer about feasibility, it’s about the process to approval. There are a lot of people in Peterborough who have been working on this project, and we are very appreciative of the commitment from the Canadian Infrastructure Bank and Federal Government.”

"I am excited to see the VIA Rail Canada project moving forward,” adds Peterborough Mayor Diane Therrien. “The project has been in the works for a long time and will be of great benefit to the region.”

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Flying Colours Corp. Breaks Ground For New 100,000 Square Foot Hangar At Peterborough Airport

Global Aviation Services company Flying Colours Corp has broken ground as work starts on building its largest hangar to date at Peterborough Aiport. Industrial construction company Vicano Construction Ltd braved the cool weather to formally begin the fourth phase of expansion plans at the Peterborough, Canada-headquartered company this month. 

On completion in mid-2019, the new building will house a climate controlled, dedicated paint-shop, a spacious hangar large enough to hold up to A220-size aircraft, as well as offices, customer meeting rooms, interiors workshops and a board room. The investment of approximately $25 million will add a further 100,000 square feet to the Peterborough footprint.  

A rendering of the new hangar due to open in mid-2019

A rendering of the new hangar due to open in mid-2019

More than 100 team members are currently being recruited to bolster the increased demand as the search for maintenance, interiors and paint expertise leads the recruitment drive.

“Our business has grown significantly over the last twelve months and we were running out of space to accommodate all our clients’ requests,” says John Gillespie about the expansion. “Once the building is complete, we will be using it to provide additional capacity for completions, refurbishment and heavy maintenance work scopes on large jet airframes.”

To learn more about Flying Colours, click here.

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There Is Free Late Night Transit Service On New Year’s Eve Again This Year

The City of Peterborough is partnering with Wolfe Lawyers for the fourth consecutive year to offer free late night transit service on New Year’s Eve. Last year, 2,476 riders used the free service.

Ride the bus is free of charge on all 12 regular routes between 7:20 p.m. on December 31st and 3:20 a.m. on January 1st. The last bus will leave Peterborough’s downtown terminal at 2:40 a.m. Route maps will be available here.

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Handi-Van service will also run during the same hours. Handi-Van trip requests from eligible clients will be accepted until 12:20 a.m. and service will continue until 3:20 a.m. Bookings are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Riders wishing to travel during peak times are encouraged to reserve their trips in advance.

Details regarding the hours of operation will be posted on the “What’s New at Transit” page here and at the downtown Transit Terminal.

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Trent University Is First Canadian Post-Secondary Institution To Green Light Digital Transit Passes

Kudos to Trent University, which has become the first Canadian post-secondary institution to green light digital transit passes.

The downloadable show ‘n go pass has eliminated thousands of plastic cards and yearly student lineups. The smart technology, ease and convenience, and the added benefits of a more sustainable option were key factors in Trent taking this initiative.

Photo courtesy Trent University

Photo courtesy Trent University

This pilot project program is a collaboration between Trent University, the Trent Central Student Association (TCSA) and the City of Peterborough.

"Our new digital transit pass is an effort to keep transit service in the palm of student’s hands,” says Brandon Remmelgas, president of the TCSA. “Our goal is to prevent students from having to carry around a different card for each service they need to access, and it has the added bonus of reducing the number of plastic cards being printed on an annual basis.”

Since rolling out in September, more than 4,000 passes have been downloaded from the digital ID card app available on the Apple App Store or Google Play. Created by tech company ID 123, the passes are renewable online each year.

Click here to learn how to download the pass.

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New Free Trolley Service Launching Downtown This Summer

In a unique, innovative move, the Downtown Business Improvement Area has announced they are offering free trolley rides from downtown to Del Crary Park for Peterborough Musicfest concerts. The trolley will start June 30th and run through August 25th.

"We wanted to support Musicfest in a way that also helps our downtown," says DBIA Executive Director Terry Guiel. "The San Francisco-style trolley car really takes people back in time and that is the charm we wanted to capture."

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

The Trolley is owned and operated by Michael Bryant of Dromoland out of Little Britain. Michael will bring in a trolley load of visitors with him from Kawartha Lakes each concert night and take them home after. The trolley will be driven by Peterborough's own transit drivers from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1320.

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

According to local historian Elwood Jones, the real trolleys used to run downtown between 1904 and 1928, with a much earlier version in the 1890s. The trolley that will be used for these events is a converted bus made to look like a trolley.

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

Photo of trolley courtesy DBIA

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SERVICE

-> All stops will occur on the right side of George Street.
-> Trolley pickups will begin at Confederation Square (across from City Hall) and continue at the intersections with Brock, Hunter, Simcoe, Charlotte and King from 6 pm to 10 pm.
-> The trolley will finish at Del Crary Park, where it will swing around and loop back to City Hall.
-> The trolley is accessible and can hold 30 people seated and 15 standing. (Priority use of the trolley will be given to those with mobility issues, seniors and expectant mothers or parents with young children.)
-> The DBIA expects the demand for this free trolley will exceed its capacity (especially right after the concerts end) and ask that everyone appreciate that they may not be able to give everyone a free ride.
-> The trolley is not intended as a substitute for Peterborough Transit.

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New Community Bus Service Launches In Peterborough March 4th

Peterborough Transit has a brand new Community Bus service that begins Sunday, March 4th at 10 a.m. The Community Bus will be available to all residents and is designed to provide an additional transit option for people that normally use the Handi-Van or find using the regular bus challenging.
 
“I am excited about the roll out of the Community Bus service and the increased accessibility to transportation services that it will provide,” says Councillor Don Vassiliadis, Chair of Transportation. “I see the Community Bus being especially needed and appreciated by people that are finding the regular bus a bit difficult to use but don’t need the door to door service of the Handi-Van and want to retain more independence.”

Photo courtesy City of Peterborough

Photo courtesy City of Peterborough

The Community Bus will follow a set route. It will serve Lansdowne Place, grocery stores, seniors’ homes, medical clinics and the hospital. 

The service will use a mini bus that has no stairs and seats 10 to 15 passengers, plus two spots for wheelchairs.

Photo courtesy City of Peterborough

Photo courtesy City of Peterborough

The service will operate Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and between 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays and holidays. Service will run on an hourly basis. Transit fares for the Community Bus are the same as for the regular transit service.
 
You can find more details about the Community Bus route and schedule at the Transit terminal and online here.

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Almost 2,500 Riders Used Peterborough Transit's Free Service On New Year's Eve

For the 3rd consecutive year, Wolfe Personal Injury Lawyers sponsored free transit services in Peterborough on New Year’s Eve.

This year, 2,476 riders used the service, down from about 3,000 last year, with bone-chilling weather playing a significant part in the decline this year.

Photo via  @donvptbo

Photo via @donvptbo

"This was the third year that I rode the buses on New Year’s Eve,” says Councillor Don Vassiliadis, Chair of Transportation. “The only difference between this year and the last two years was the weather. It was extremely cold. Riders were happy to have a warm and safe ride home."

Photo via  @donvptbo

Photo via @donvptbo

The George Street bus route saw the most riders, with 497 people accepting a free ride home on Peterborough Transit. On average, 206 riders per route took advantage of the free service.

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There Will Be Free New Year’s Eve Bus And Handi-Van Service For 3rd Consecutive Year

The City of Peterborough has announced it is partnering with Wolfe Personal Injury Lawyers for the third consecutive year to offer late night transit service on New Year’s Eve. Approximately 6,000 riders used the free New Year’s Eve service in the first two years.
 
Transit service will be provided on all 12 regular routes and buses will run free of charge between 7:20 p.m. on December 31st and 3:20 a.m. on January 1st. The last bus will leave Peterborough’s downtown Simcoe Street terminal at 2:40 am. Route maps are available here.

Photo of transit users using the service on New Year's

Photo of transit users using the service on New Year's

Handi-Van service will also run during the same hours, with up to two vans in service. Handi-Van customer service staff will accept trip request bookings from eligible clients until 12:20 a.m. and service will continue until 3:20 a.m. 

Handi-van bookings are accepted on a first come, first served basis. Handi-van riders wishing to travel during peak times are encouraged to reserve their trips in advance.    

Don Vassiliadis, Chair of Transportation for City of Peterborough, riding a bus on New Year's Eve

Don Vassiliadis, Chair of Transportation for City of Peterborough, riding a bus on New Year's Eve

Details regarding the hours of operation will be posted on the What’s New at Transit page here and at the downtown Transit Terminal.

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328 Paddlecraft Just Filled Both Tubs At Trent Severn National Historic Site In Epic Display

Last year, 138 paddlecraft were jammed into one of the ginormous "tubs" at the Trent-Severn Waterway National Historic Site in Peterborough on Lock n' Paddle day, breaking the previous record of 101. 

This is what it looked like at Lock 21 during last summer's Lock 'N Paddle...

June 26th, 2016

June 26th, 2016

This year, Lock 'N Paddle upped their game even more, filling both tubs on a beautiful Saturday (June 24th) with more than 150 canoes and kayaks each (to mark Canada's 150 birthday) and lifting them 65 feet.

It was one heck of a jigsaw puzzle for organizers and Lockmaster Ed, seen in this video below...

A post shared by ptbo_canada (@ptbo_canada) on

But they did it. Look at this picture we took from mission control...

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Here is the view from the front Trent-Severn Waterway tweeted out...

Here is the view from above photographed from a drone by Justen Soule for Parks Canada...

And once the lock chambers were at an equal elevation, the Lock Master halted the lockage and participants and visitors raised their paddles and sang both O Canada and Happy Birthday in celebration of 150 years of Confederation.

Have a listen of the Happy Birthday...

Here is the moment the chambers aligned...

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Here's a closeup of the East chamber tub filled...

PHoto by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

PHoto by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

And here's a closeup of the West chamber tub filled...

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

360 panorama by Evan Holt, PtboCanada

360 panorama by Evan Holt, PtboCanada

UPDATE: Here is video our Evan Holt filmed from inside a canoe...

Well done Lock 21, well done Peterborough!

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

Photo by Neil Morton, PTBOCanada

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Trent-Severn Waterway Fully Open for Navigation

Parks Canada advises that the Trent-Severn Waterway is now fully open for boating traffic for the 2017 Navigation Season. All lock stations along the system are now welcoming visitors by land and through all locks.

Parks Canada thank all visitors and residents for their patience and cooperation as their staff worked diligently to address high water levels and flows caused by excessive precipitation to ensure safe boating conditions.

This year, lockage fees are free for recreational boaters, a great way to celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Boaters may order their passes on-line or they can be issued at any Lock Station. All that is required is your vessel registration number.   

Along with free lockage, the Trent-Severn Waterway’s signature event in celebration of Canada 150 will be “Lock’n Paddle” taking place on June 24th. The plan is to load 150 paddlecraft into each of the two chambers of the Peterborough Lift Lock National Historic Site of Canada.

Once the lockage takes place and the chambers are lifted to level, they plan to salute our great nation by singing “O Canada”.

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