This is the time of year when major events happen at the West Coast Railway Heritage Park, and the time of year when the park attracts thousands of visitors to Squamish creating a positive impact to the entire community.
June saw this happen in a big way as 12,000 people came out to take in the Day Out With Thomas 2009 event. With all four event days sold out, the Heritage Park was humming - 3,000 people or more visited June 6, 7 and June 13, 14 making the site a very busy place each day. Handling the crowds were an incredible team of volunteers and staff, with as many as 50 each day helping make the event a real crowd pleaser.
Squamish saw direct benefits in the form of many room nights at local hotels, busier than usual in local shops and restaurants and good business for many suppliers to the Park and others involved in the event. It is truly amazing the draw that this little blue cartoon engine has when he shows up in real life - the children are excited and the parents and grandparents alike have a great, although in many cases tiring, day. Thanks to everyone who helped in any way in making this event the success it was.
Next up is SteamFest 2009 - Celebrating 15 Years of the Heritage Park. On July 11 and July 12, the Heritage Park will come alive with the sights, smells and sounds of vintage vehicles and steam, as we present our second annual SteamFest celebration with special live activities only experienced during these two days.
Included this year are the Stanley Steamer automobile, several vintage cars including our own 1937 Ford and 1934 Chrysler Airflow, which will offer rides, and the 1939 Royal Buick convertible that carried the King and Queen on their visit to B.C. in 1939.
There will be steam traction engines of varying sizes, both live and on display, and a Sopwith Camel aeroplane from the Canadian Museum of Flight.
On the railway front, Royal Hudson #2860 will be operating and train rides available, the mini rail will have several live steam engines offering rides, and the garden railway will also have live steam in operation. There will also be pump car rides, gold panning and much more.
SteamFest also celebrates the Heritage Park's 15th anniversary - we first opened on July 10, 1994 and have been building since. On Saturday July 11, there will be free cake for all in attendance and the dedication of a new permanent steam exhibit.
Tickets are now available for purchase locally at the Heritage Park; pick up at the station or call 604-898-9336 and we will reserve them for you. On line, tickets are available at www.ticketweb.ca
Prices are just $20 adult and $10 child (ages two to 15) and tickets include all rides. Please note that there are no member discounts or admissions at this event due the costs of putting it on and bringing in the special guest exhibits.