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, the locomotive is rolled outdoors as part of the celebrations.
The event likely happens on May 21st in 2023. Exact details, however, are to be confirmed.
The Engine 374 Train and its Anniversary Celebration
A significant event in Vancouver’s history took place on May 23rd, 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 was celebrated on Sunday, May 22nd (so not quite exactly on the anniversary date, but close enough).
The Engine 374 Pavilion
People can check out the restored locomotive at the Engine 374 Pavilion in the Roundhouse Community Centre all year. The display is operated by the West Coast Railway Association which also runs the Railway Museum of British Columbia up in Squamish.
The Engine 374 Pavilion is open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 11:00 am to 3:00 pm during the winter months (which started from November 3, 2022) and from Wednesdays to Sundays from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm during the summer months. The pavilion is closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and on public holidays. The hours can change as the pavilion is run entirely by volunteers. No admission fee required to visit the train. Visitors can climb on board the locomotive and ring its bell. There are also short tours of both the train’s exterior and interior hosted by the volunteers.
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 is likely to be similar.
Each year the celebration features musical performances by the Little Mountain Brass Band, plus complimentary cake, juice and coffee. There are also some activities inside the community centre for 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. Attendees can climb aboard the train and check out its cabin during regular hours at Engine 374’s year-round indoor display room. People also have the chance to blow the train’s whistle during this once-a-year special event.
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