Build­ing the WDM Moose Jaw

Moose Jaw Times Herald - - OPINION - CORINNE DAELICK

win­ter/sum­mer travel, river travel and city travel. A trans­porta­tion-themed mu­seum in a rail­way town would not be com­plete with­out a steam lo­co­mo­tive. Mov­ing CP lo­co­mo­tive 2634 — the only one of its type in the world — from Cres­cent Park down­town to the new mu­seum of­fered pro­tec­tion from the el­e­ments and an op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to climb aboard. No doubt the sight of a 150-ton lo­co­mo­tive com­ing up Main Street turned a lot of heads.

Over the years the WDM Moose Jaw grew and ex­panded its ex­hibits. On Sept. 1, 1978, the Short Line 101 lo­co­mo­tive be­gan op­er­a­tions. The en­gine is a Vul­can steam lo­co­mo­tive now over one hun­dred years old. Un­til 2015, the Short Line 101 was still the only op­er­at­ing steam lo­co­mo­tive en­gine in Saskatchewan. The WDM has re­cently launched a fundraising cam­paign, $101K for the 101, for track re­pairs and other im­prove­ments to get the train back on track.

In 1980, work be­gan on an­other im­por­tant ad­di­tion, the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth Air Train­ing Plan (BCATP) gallery. The gallery rep­re­sented BCATP sites that were lo­cated across western Canada dur­ing the Sec­ond World War. These bases trained pi­lots from across the Bri­tish Com­mon­wealth. In 1992, the Snow­birds Gallery opened in part­ner­ship with 15 Wing, CFB Moose Jaw.

In the early 2000s, the theme of the WDM Moose Jaw was ex­panded to in­clude a new ex­hibit, Win­ning The Prairie Gam­ble. Cre­ated to com­mem­o­rate Saskatchewan’s cen­te­nary as a prov­ince, the ex­hibit had com­po­nents in all four WDM lo­ca­tions. In Moose Jaw, the ex­hibit fo­cused on trans­porta­tion, weather — al­ways a topic for dis­cus­sion in Saskatchewan — and health care in­clud­ing CF-SAM, part of the first gov­ern­ment-run air am­bu­lance ser­vice in North Amer­ica.

For over 40 years the WDM Moose Jaw has been an im­por­tant part of the WDM net­work and the Moose Jaw com­mu­nity. Over 30,000 peo­ple visit an­nu­ally, in­clud­ing nu­mer­ous school chil­dren learn­ing about Saskatchewan’s history. Ev­ery year the Mu­seum also plays host to the Thun­der Creek Model Train Show (one of the largest model train shows in the prov­ince) and Brick­spo, an event put on by the Saskatchewan Lego Users Group.

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