Squamish will become the home of another very famous - and really useful - steam engine this spring.
The West Coast Railway Heritage Park (WCRHP) is pleased to announce that Thomas the Tank Engine is coming in June 2004. The WCRHP will host the syndicated "A Day Out With Thomas" event - the first ever in Western Canada and the only stop in B.C. this year - for six days in June, featuring a full-sized Thomas the Tank Engine and a host of Thomas-themed events.
With the announcement comes big news for Squamish and all Thomas fans.
"Thomas is huge," said Don Evans, executive director of the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA), which operates the park. "No question it will be a huge boost for us. We expect this event to bring 15,000 to 20,000 people to Squamish and will bring our annual number of guest visits over the 50,000 mark for 2004."
A ride on the park's full-sized train behind Thomas is included in every ticket, and Sir Topham Hatt will visit and pose for photos with his friends. Thomas Theatre will screen videos and host storytelling. Live entertainment and children's activities will be in the Imagination Carshop.
"The idea is for people to come and enjoy the whole atmosphere for the day," said Evans. "It will be a great experience for families and children, and it's the biggest event we've ever hosted."
"It's very exciting," said Sherry Elchuk, General Manager of WCRHP. "It's going to put the park and Squamish on the map. The economic spin-offs will be huge for everybody, because we haven't had an opportunity like this to market to such a large audience from the Lower Mainland."
WCRA members will be able to purchase tickets before they go on sale to the general public. The ticket price for the event includes admission to the park and all events, entertainment and activities for the day of purchase, plus a ride on the train with Thomas at a prescheduled time.
As a special bonus prelude to the Thomas event, Christopher Awdry, son of Thomas creator and author Rev. William Awdry, will visit the park on May 22 to sign books and read stories from the vast Thomas the Tank Engine book collection.
For more information, contact the WCRHP at 604-898-9336 or visit their website at www.wcra.org.