Engine 374 was the first train to ever arrive in the City of Vancouver. In May there is a community event at the Roundhouse Community Centre that celebrates the train’s arrival.
Today Engine 374 resides permanently at the community centre in Yaletown. It’s on display indoors year-round for people to see. For one day in May each year, however, on the Victoria Day Long Weekend, they roll the locomotive outdoors as part of the celebrations.
The Engine 374 Train and its Anniversary Celebration
One of the historic moments in Vancouver’s history took place on May 23rd in 1887. That’s when the CPR Engine 374 pulled the first train into the young city on the new transcontinental railroad. This marked the completion of the coast-to-coast railway, a landmark moment in Canadian history.
Today, and year-round, Engine 374 is on display at the Roundhouse Community Centre in downtown Vancouver. Every May there is a celebratory event with family-friendly activities and music. The engine itself gets steamed up with its whistle blowing.
2022 marked the 135th anniversary of the engine’s arrival in the city. The event this past year was on Sunday, May 22nd (so not quite exactly on the anniversary date, but close enough).
The Engine 374 Pavilion
Year-round it’s possible to check out the restored locomotive at the Engine 374 Pavilion in the Roundhouse Community Centre. The display is operated by the West Coast Railway Association which also runs the Railway Museum of British Columbia up in Squamish.
As of May, 2022, the Engine 374 Pavilion is open from Thursdays to Sundays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The hours may be liable to change as the pavilion is run entirely by volunteers. There is no admission fee required to visit the train. Visitors can climb on board the locomotive and ring its bell. The volunteers on hand provide short tours of both the train’s exterior and interior.
The Train’s Anniversary Celebration
Each year in late May there is an anniversary celebration to commemorate when Engine 374 arrived in Vancouver for the first time. On May 22nd, 2022, the train was rolled outside into the Roundhouse’s courtyard for a bigger display. The event ran from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm. The event in 2023 will likely be similar.
The celebration each year features musical performances by the Little Mountain Brass Band and complimentary cake, juice and coffee. There are also some activities inside the community centre aimed at the little ones. The event is fairly small, but it’s free to attend. There are some short speeches at around 1:00 pm to mark the occasion and provide some history and backstory to the train.
On the day of the event the engine is properly steamed up to give it more of the feel that it had over a century ago. The same as during regular hours at Engine 374’s year-round indoor display room, attendees can climb aboard the train and check out its cabin. At the once-a-year special event, people also have the chance to blow the train’s whistle.
For more information about the train, visit the West Coast Railway Association website.
Other articles that might be of interest include the following:
- Roundhouse Community Centre
- Railway Museum of British Columbia
- Port Moody Station Museum
- Stanley Park Railway