Federal government was considering fate of Via Rail in 1989

Eric Bourque
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With a year and three months or so before Yarmouth was expected to get another ferry – this one to sail between here and Portland – a spokesman for the Swedish company that was to operate the service said they were waiting to here from Ottawa regarding “shore arrangements” for the new service in Yarmouth and they wanted assurances these would be made in time for the scheduled launch of the service. “We have been working on this project for the past three years,” the official said, “and everything hinges on the government decision.”

The issue of the new ferry service had been raised in the House of Commons, local MP Louis R. Comeau asking Paul Hellyer, the transport minister at the time, about what was being done to help prepare Yarmouth’s docking facilities for the new vessel. The minister said officials were looking into the needs of the new ship, the costs etc., and that the government would make a decision once this assessment was finished.

Also from the Vanguard’s March 26, 1969 edition:

--A sod-turning ceremony had been held at the site of what was to be a new regional vocational school in Yarmouth.

--The Yarmouth Stock Car Racing Association was to hold a general meeting at the south fire station.

--The Royal Store was having a grand opening of its renovated location in downtown Yarmouth.


With the 1974 provincial election just a week away, political coverage figured prominently in the Vanguard’s March 27, ’74 edition. Both Liberal Leader – and incumbent premier – Gerald Regan – and Progressive Conservative Leader John Buchanan were talking about the fishing industry and what their respective parties would do to help the industry if they were to form the next government.

Yarmouth ratepayers attending a meeting on a proposed expansion/redevelopment for the Yarmouth Regional Hospital had voted 273 to 5 in support of the town borrowing up to $280,000 to contribute to the project. The municipalities of Yarmouth, Argyle and Clare already had agreed to contribute to the hospital expansion. The project was expected to cost $8 million, with the municipal units’ share said to be about $620,000.

Two representatives of Holland College would be conducting a survey in the Yarmouth area to try to determine the town’s policing needs.


Although there wasn’t much of a turnout for a public meeting to discuss the future of Yarmouth’s annual summer festival, the decision had been made to proceed with the festival again, provided a number of local service clubs and organizations got together to support the event, the Vanguard reported in its March 28, 1979 edition. The public session had been called to gauge the level of interest in keeping the festival going.

Parking was in the news again. The Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce had authorized a committee to conduct a survey of downtown businesses to see how they felt about the way public parking lots were funded.

The Yarmouth Lions Club was having work done to its Parade Street building. The club was trying to improve the structure’s insulation and save on heat.


Yarmouth played host to the Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia’s annual convention and awards banquet for 1984. The province’s tourism industry faced an uncertain future if recent trends – including a decrease in the number of American visitors – continued, said one convention speaker. Another presenter talked about the association’s hope that a university degree program in tourism would be made available in Nova Scotia.

“Now the big push is on.” So said a spokesman for the committee leading the effort to have a regional civic centre built in Yarmouth. The committee hoped to have raised $1 million for the project by the end of June.


An official with Via Rail had little to say in response to reports that Canada’s passenger rail service may be in jeopardy, other than to reiterate Via’s hope that the federal government would hold off making a decision on the fate of the crown corporation until the completion of a study of Via’s operations. The official said Via’s recent numbers were up, suggesting that people were returning to train travel.

On another railway issue, the National Transportation Agency was getting ready to hold a public hearing in Bridgetown on the economic viability of the section of Dominion Atlantic Railway between Yarmouth and Kentville. Canadian Pacific had applied to abandon the line.

Organizations: Holland College, Via Rail, House of Commons Yarmouth Stock Car Racing Association Yarmouth Regional Hospital Yarmouth Chamber of Commerce Yarmouth Lions Club Tourism Industry Association of Nova Scotia National Transportation Agency Dominion Atlantic Railway Canadian Pacific

Geographic location: Yarmouth, Portland, Ottawa Parade Street Nova Scotia Canada Bridgetown Kentville

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