Since the advent of the steam locomotive in the 19th century, the train has been synonymous with development and the offer of a gateway to the world. It evokes a spirit of adventure and discovery, along with the encounters, departures, and reunions that take place on train station platforms. For some, trains bring to mind one of childhood’s first toys, while for others—young and old alike—trains are a true passion! Pointe-à-Callière invites you to board A Railroad to Dreams, a captivating exhibition about the world of model trains.

Railroad to Dreams

All photos: Myriam Ménard

Without a doubt, from the time they were first invented, trains have been reproduced on an ongoing basis, in all their forms, and in every way. From detailed models to children’s toys, little trains have been around since the development of the railway itself. In the late 19th century, tiny trains quickly came to life, becoming an inextricable part of magical holiday backdrops in department stores window displays. This world of play makes us reflect on our identity, our childhood, and our openness to the world of travel and technology. The variety of models is endless, in scales ranging from tiny to huge. Some can be held in the palm of your hand, while others offer an invitation to climb aboard. The development of highly precise models and the evolution from little pull-toys to complex railroad networks that perfectly replicate the environments and activities of real trains are also interesting reasons to delve into the rich history of the railway.

Railroad to Dreams

Victoria Jubilee Bridge

Trains, and the story told in the exhibition, open a window onto our collective history—that of the Canadian railway, which is inseparably linked to the country’s development, and that of Montreal, which played a major role in the development of this industry. The first train linking Canada and the United States was put into service in Montreal in 1853, and Montreal was also the departure point for the first Canadian transcontinental train going to the west coast. In the early 20th century, the rail industry was considered to be the most progressive in the city. Owned by Canadian Pacific, the Angus Shops alone employed up to 12,000 people.

A Railroad to Dreams lets you admire hundreds of model trains and railway objects, such as models of special trains as well as tools, costumes and many unusual items, while taking you on an extraordinary excursion into the world of train aficionados and passionate collectors. Thanks to touching archive photos and videos, sound settings that plunge you into the hustle and bustle of a grand station, and wonderful little trains that come alive before your very eyes, this exhibition offers a playful, technological and historical look at the railway in all its shapes and sizes!

Railroad to DreamsYou’ll also discover mythical trains that offer unforgettable journeys, their spot under the Christmas tree, some little-known rail trades, not to mention the major rail companies that have let us explore Canada from coast to coast to coast and trains’ iconic roles in the movies. Cinema-lovers will be thrilled to see a real DeLorean, just like the one in “Back to the Future” and to get their photo taken on the famous Platform 9¾, as seen in the series of Harry Potter films.

A Railroad to Dreams also opens a window onto our collective history, first of the Canadian railway, which is inextricably tied to the country’s development, and second of Montreal, which played a major role in the development of this industry.

For more information about this exhibit, including opening hours and ticket prices, visit:

Until September 6, 2021

350 Place Royale, Old Montreal
H2Y 3Y5

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