Kate Langan is the recipient of the Margaret S. McCready Memorial Scholarship

Alex Grenzeback presents scholarship to Kate Langan 
Congratulations Kate Langan for being the recipient of the Margaret S. McCready Memorial Scholarship at the University of Guelph.

The scholarship was established in memory of Margaret S. McCready, former Principal and Dean of Macdonald Institute (1949-69). The award is granted on the basis of high academic achievement as well as leadership ability as demonstrated through extracurricular involvement in the preceding two years.

Kate is currently in the Masters Program at the University of Guelph in Applied Nutrition.

Choun Kitchen in Hespeler is great!

Tasty food with a Thai twist in Downtown Hespeler

Hespeler News - After the sad closing of the The Stables restaurant at 39 Queen Street East, Unit 102 in downtown Hespeler the community was hoping a new tenant would be found and the doors would open up.

The people who ran The Stables had done so much work to turn that room into a restaurant.

A few months ago the Choun Kitchen coming soon sign was put out and the locals could not wait for it to open. I was able to go there with a friend three days after it opened this week.

The verdict is in. The Choun Kitchen has scored a hat trick. The ambience, service and food were top notch. The prices were fair.

We ordered Thai Curry (with chicken) and Lemon Chicken each were $15.00. Lunch prices were $10.00 each. The food came steaming hot and was fresh and tasty.

Although they say it is a limited menu, it did have something for everyone. Gluten free lovers  and  vegetarians can all be satisfied here. The person who still wants a burger will get one.

The only small item to be corrected is the building owner should take down The Stables two signs still on the building.

Let us support this new restaurant and the downtown.


We Need Kathryn McGarry and Clifford Vanclief

 Kathryn McGarry and  Clifford Vanclief

We need Kathryn McGarry and  Clifford Vanclief

Here is why I support Kathryn McGarry to become our new mayor and Clifford Vanclief to become Ward 1 Councillor.

Kathryn McGarry

I first met Kathryn about 20 years ago when I was involved in trying to save the Hespeler Railway Station. She is a nurse by occupation.

She was involved with Heritage Cambridge and trying to get the Sheaves Tower in Blair restored. She was a fighter back then in the community, and went to council  many times to fight for what she believed in.

Back then, people like Kathryn McGarry and Jan Liggett fought for heritage and the environment because it was the right thing to do. They knew many times they were not going to win. I was very happy when Kathryn was our member of provincial parliament because she truly represents the people and came from an community advocacy background. Her knowledge of how the provincial government works will be extremely important as mayor in the future.

People have suggested Ben Tucci as mayor. All I can say is, he has already had 17 years on council to get his ideas across. I am tired of the same old ideas by the same people. When I used to go to council meetings 15 years ago, he was just like all the rest. It bothers me that he enters the mayoral race at the last moment (he filed his papers 2 hours before nominations closed). His running may will split the opposition vote to let the incumbent Doug Craig back in.

To Doug Craig a big thank you for giving so many decades to the public service. The job as councillor and mayor can be extremely difficult at times and you persevered and did a good job.

We need Kathryn McGarry as Mayor to fight for us at the local, regional, provincial and federal levels.

Clifford Vanclief

Cliff is the person who owns The Hub, the bike shop in Hespeler. I have been going into the shop for over a decade. Cliff is someone I respect because he puts community first and truly cares about people.

He has been loyal to the downtown with his business. It would probably have been better for his business if he had moved out of the Hespeler core but he stayed, saying it was the right thing to do.

When I visited the store he always had ideas and opinions on how things could be different in Hespeler and the rest of Cambridge. Many of these ideas I agreed with.

I was torn about him running for councillor because I know the impact it will have on his business and personal life. Once he decided to run, I have been behind him 100%.

Cliff is an entrepreneur, family man and community activist. We need a straight talking person with lots of good ideas like Cliff to be the councillor in Ward 1.

Clifford Vanclief can bring excitement and a new sense of urgency to the role of city councillor for Ward 1.

Please vote on Monday in the election.

About Paul Langan -- I have lived in the Hespeler part of Cambridge for 25 years and have been involved extensively in the community. My involvements have included: volunteering in youth sport, writing history booklets, and fighting to preserve the environment and heritage in Cambridge. 

Taking Your Bike on the Train - Comparing VIA Rail, GO Transit and Comboios de Portugal

VIA Rail charges $25.00 each way to put your bike on their train!  

 On my recent trip to high ride trains in Portugal and Spain, I was on a local train in the town of Olhao to connect with the hide speed train in Faro. The fare was only $2.00 and putting your bike on the train was free. I noticed people loading their bikes on the train and wondered what the policies were for putting your bikes on the train in Canada.

Comboios de Portugal 

There is a variety of options depending on the type of the train you are taking in Portugal. The one constant fact on all trains is bringing your bike on the train is free.

I Inquired about taking my bike leaving from Guelph Ontario.

VIA Rail 

VIA Rail has no trains that have baggage cars so you can't take your bike on train. If they did have baggage car, VIA Rail charged the ridiculous price of $25.00 each way plus taxes to put your bike on.

GO Transit

GO RAIL does allow bikes on its trains at no charge. The only restrictions are during rush hour when bikes are not allowed. They are allowed at all times on weekends. Good news except if you live in Guelph when the trains are mainly available during rush hour and there is no weekend service.

One more example of VIA discouraging ridership by outdated ridiculous pricing policies.

The Day They Tore Down Glen Christie

"They told me to tear down the houses in Glen Christie!"

The last days of Glen Christie. A home being removed.

As time passes bye stories get forgotten. I recently was walking through New Hope cemetery in Hespeler when I came upon the grave site of John Defend and his wife Mary Scapinello. I had interviewed them about 14yrs ago for a book I did on the former community of Glen Christie, that was located just north of Hespeler.

John and Mary were some of the great people I interviewed for the book. When I wrote that book, and others, I had no idea that one day these people who no longer be with us to share their historical knowledge.

The community of Glen Christie had about 26 houses on both sides of the one road in the community.  It is estimated around 125 people lived there. The workers at the limestone quarry located there lived in the houses. In 1963, John Defend who worked for the company was called into the office.

He was told the company wanted to expand from one pit to two pits and the homes were in the way. Workers were told to move their families out and they relocated to Guelph or Hespeler.

John Defend stated, " I got on the bulldozer and just started tearing them down. It was sad but I had a job to do."

 It took less than a month to wipe out the community of Glen Christie that had stood since the 1930s.

Aerial Photo of Glen Christie

Toronto-Montreal vs Seville-Madrid Passenger Rail Lines Comparison

Toronto-Montreal vs Seville-Madrid Passenger Rail Lines Comparison

After a recent visit to Portugal and Spain, and a lot of reflection, I am even more committed to advocate for a modern passenger rail system in Canada.

Currently VIA Rail has a $6 billion dollar plan to have a rail corridor from Toronto-Ottawa-Montreal on a largely abandoned rail corridor. High Speed Rail Canada has exposed the major flaws in the plan in previous articles.

I do believe it is good to give a factual example of comparing the Seville to Madrid High Speed Line with the current and future proposed VIA Rail line Toronto to Montreal.


The population of Toronto is 2,731,571 (source: Statistics Canada).  The wider Greater Toronto Area (GTA) population was 6,417,516 at the time of the most recent (2016) census.

The population of Montreal is 1,704,694. The population of the wider Montreal metropolitan area is 4,098,927 (2016 data).

Madrid has almost 3.2 million inhabitants and a metropolitan area population of approximately 6.5 million.

Seville has a population of 703,021 inhabitants and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million.

Fastest direct trips booked two weeks in advance

VIA Rail - Toronto - Montreal 

- (distance 541km approx)

Train 62 - lv 920 arrive 1420
Duration -  5hrs.
Cost  -$101.70 (includes 13%hst),
Speed - 160 km/h maximum speed

2017 VIA Rail overall rail ridership -  4.39 million

Renfe - Madrid to Seville 

- (distance 534km approx)

AVE 02120 lv 1200  arrive 1432
Duration - 2hrs 32min
Cost- $62.00 (taxes included),
Speed -  300 km/h. maximum speed

2017 Renfe overall ridership -  474.4 million


The federal government has given the okay for VIA Rail Canada to replace their aging fleet of trains at a cost of approximately $1.5 billion.

VIA Rail states, without supporting data, that  there will be a reduction of up to 25% trip time between Toronto and Montreal. (Source VIA Rail website). Even though the train will still travel at the same slow top  speed of 160km/h. ( Source: 2016 VIA Rail annual meeting question and answer ) and will now stop at Tweed, Peterborough, Sharbot Lake and Ottawa. ( Source: VIA Rail HFR map).

Add in the fact that VIA (if they adapt the required technology) will share the Montreal Mount Royal Tunnel with the Réseau électrique métropolitain (REM) trains. The REM trains, according to their website could be running every 2.5 minutes. This fact puts more doubts on VIA Rail announced reduction in trip times.

It is highly unlikely that VIA Rail can achieve their stated trip time reductions. As stated in a previous High Speed Rail Canada article after the $6 billion has been spent on new trains and rail infrastructure the travel time at best would be 4hrs between the two cities if a 20% reduction would be achieved.

My trips on the RENFE AVE high speed and AVANT medium distances high speed rail lines in Spain were amazing and more articles on the subject will come.

There is no reason that Ontario/Quebec cannot have high speed lines like the AVE and AVANT trains in Spain.

We do face significant challenges in Canada.

1.The current VIA Rail President does not support high speed rail..

2.Lack of education about high speed trains has resulted in the majority of the Canadian public and politicians not understanding the benefits of high speed rail and the fact it is the norm in many parts of the world.

3.Due to our seriously neglected and outdated national passenger rail system, VIA Rail, we are in a cultural vacuum. This has resulted in decision makers and some passenger rail advocates recommending outdated solutions based on our past rail history instead of focusing on modern solutions from other countries. These countries have had efficient, effective and modern passenger rail systems in place for decades.

High Speed Rail Canada will continue to educate Canadians on the benefits of high speed rail to help address the challenges mentioned above. Feel free to browse our website or contact us at http://highspeedrail.ca

Paul Langan,
Founder High Speed Rail Canada

For a PDF version of the article click HERE.