A Railroad to Dreams

From means of transportation, to toy, to collector’s item—the train is pulling in to the Museum! Explore the captivating world of model trains in the exhibition A Railroad of Dreams. Come view hundreds of model trains and railway objects, such as models of special trains as well as tools, costumes and many unusual items, while taking you on an extraordinary excursion into the world of train aficionados and passionate collectors. This exhibition offers a playful, technological and historical look at the railway in all its shapes and sizes! Reconnect with your inner child!

Press release

The exhibition A Railroad to Dreams opens to the public at Pointe-à-Callière
From February 11 to September 6, 2021

Montréal, February 10, 2021 – Since the advent of the steam locomotive in the 19th century, the train has been synonymous with development and the offer of a gateway to the world. It evokes a spirit of adventure and discovery, along with the encounters, departures, and reunions that take place on train station platforms. For some, trains bring to mind one of childhood’s first toys, while for others—young and old alike—trains are a true passion! Starting on February 11, Pointe-à-Callière is inviting you to travel along A Railroad to Dreams—a captivating exhibition on the world of model trains.

Without a doubt, from the time they were first invented, trains have been reproduced on an ongoing basis, in all their forms, and in every way. From detailed models to children’s toys, little trains have been around since the development of the railway itself. In the late 19th century, tiny trains quickly came to life, becoming an inextricable part of magical holiday backdrops in department stores window displays. This world of play makes us reflect on our identity, our childhood, and our openness to the world of travel and technology. The variety of models is endless, in scales ranging from tiny to huge. Some can be held in the palm of your hand, while others offer an invitation to climb aboard. The development of highly precise models and the evolution from little pull-toys to complex railroad networks that perfectly replicate the environments and activities of real trains are also interesting reasons to delve into the rich history of the railway.

Trains, and the story told in the exhibition, open a window onto our collective history—that of the Canadian railway, which is inseparably linked to the country’s development, and that of Montréal, which played a major role in the development of this industry. The first train linking Canada and the United States was put into service in Montréal in 1853, and Montréal was also the departure point for the first Canadian transcontinental train going to the west coast. In the early 20th century, the rail industry was considered to be the most progressive in the city. Owned by Canadian Pacific, the Angus Shops alone employed up to 12,000 people.

The exhibition showcases hundreds of model trains and railway-related objects. Peek into the world of passionate collectors, see models of our big companies’ important trains, and admire tools, uniforms, railway station items, and several unusual objects. Along with moving archival photos and videos, soundscapes will recreate the hustle and bustle of a big train station, while magnificent little trains are brought to life before your eyes in this exhibition that offers a playful, technological, and historical look at the railway in all its shapes and sizes!

Visitors will also get to discover certain legendary trains that offer unforgettable journeys, learn about the train’s iconic presence on the silver screen and under the Christmas tree, find out about little-known railway occupations, and explore the major railway companies that have allowed us to see Canada from coast to coast. The exhibition promises an original excursion into the world of railfans! This season, hop aboard Pointe-à-Callière’s A Railroad to Dreams and reconnect with your inner child!

This exhibition is produced by Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal’s Archaeology and History Complex, with the participation of Exporail, The Canadian Railway Museum, and is presented by Canadian Pacific. The Museum thanks its partners for their support: Expériences Lockzone, InterContinental Montréal, La Presse and Encadrex.

Virtual guided tours of the exhibition
For people who can’t visit the Museum in person, Pointe-à-Callière is offering virtual guided tours of the exhibition A Railroad to Dreams on February 13 and 28. Over the course of an hour, in English or in French, train and history enthusiasts will be able to tour the exhibition, accompanied by a Museum guide who will answer the virtual visitors’ questions.

About Pointe-à-Callière, Montréal Archaeology and History Complex
Pointe-à-Callière, the birthplace of Montréal, is the city’s largest history museum. Rising above a concentrated number of national historic and archaeological sites, the museum’s mission is to raise awareness and foster an appreciation of Montréal’s history, and to forge bonds with regional, national, and international networks.
Proud partner of the City of Montréal.

– 30 –

Further details on the exhibition A Railroad to Dreams: www.pacmusee.qc.ca/railroad


Eveline Trudel-Fugère
Communications Project Manager, Pointe-à-Callière
Tel: 514 872-2687 / Cell: 514 704-2225
[email protected]