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One more example of VIA discouraging ridership by outdated ridiculous pricing policies.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


Media Release: High Speed Rail Canada To Release Toronto-Montreal vs Seville-Madrid Passenger Rail Lines Comparison

High Speed Rail Canada To Release Toronto-Montreal vs Seville-Madrid Passenger Rail Lines Comparison

High Speed Rail Canada will release their comparison of the Toronto-Montreal and Seville-Madrid passenger rail lines.

WireService.ca Media Release (09/17/2018) - MEDIA ALERT: At 8:00am on Tuesday September 18th, 2018, High Speed Rail Canada will have available on their website a copy of the their latest report to read and download.

The population densities of Toronto-Montreal and Madrid-Seville are similar but the passenger rail options and trip times are dramatically different.

High Speed Rail Canada, as part of their mandate to educate the Canadian public, has done an analysis of the two passenger rail lines in Canada and Spain.

Media Contact - Paul Langan, High Speed Rail Canada founder at 226-505-7605 or by using contact page on website at http://highspeedrail.ca

34 Hespeler Community Facebook Pages Reviewed

33 Hespeler Community FB Pages Reviewed

I had originally done a review in March of the then 27 Hespeler related Facebook pages. I have now updated the list. It contains 34 Hespeler related community and sports pages.

It really is amazing how many FB pages there are Hespeler related. Lately there has been a renewed emphasis on safety in the community so groups talking about that issue are seeing a rise in members.

NOTE: These are just community based pages on Hespeler. I actually removed a couple Hespeler businesses that will be part of my upcoming list of  review of Hespeler FB Business pages.

1. A Safer Hespeler - 444 members - Purpose -This group is about helping make our great village of Hespeler a little safer. Analysis - It has over 300% increase in members all concerned with the increase of hard drug users and theft in our community.

2. Hespeler Anything & Everything - 802 members - Purpose -You can post about anything and everything Hespeler related... We promise not to take offense or delete your posts. Analysis - This group was started up because the administrator saw so many neighbours banned from the This is My Hespeler FB group. Tons of ads but this is a common problem on a lot of the Hespeler FB groups.

3. Hespeler Books and Beers -  87 members - They are hoping  to organize a monthly book club in Hespeler with beer. What a great idea!

4. Hespeler Buy & Sell - 267 members - Purpose - They don’t have to tell you. It is about posting your stuff for sale there. Analysis - I wish there was only one FB page in Hespeler everyone would post there stuff on. So many items/services for sale are cross posted on other FB Hespeler pages. What I like about it is it is clear the purpose of the site.

5. Hespeler Community - 1,946 members - Purpose - This is an open group for our community in both Hespeler and Silverheights area to post events, goings on, community issues and concerns, home items for sale, etc.  Analysis - Ads, Ads and more Ads. If you are starting to get same theme of many of the Hespeler FB pages you are right.

6. Hespeler Connexions - 21 members - Purpose - We are gathering together to make friends, have a laugh, and share our thoughts on a book we read as well as to support locally owned, operated Hespeler businesses. They meet the last Wednesday of every month usually in Hespeler. Analysis - Had cancellations and meetings are off in the summer. Hope it grows in the fall.

7. Hespeler Heritage Centre - 1,173 like this page - Purpose - The Hespeler Heritage Centre is dedicated to the promotion and preservation of history and community in Hespeler.. Analysis - This is the place to go for people interested in Hespeler’s history. Even better stop in and visit them.

8. Hespeler Heavy Smokers Group - 130 members - Purpose - A place for the enthusiasts of smoked & barbecued flora and fauna.   Let's share recipes and tips and post some pics of the those smokey feasts. Analysis - Great idea love it and they have tripled their members since last Hespeler FB update I did.

9. Hespeler Hot Spots - 509 members. Purpose - Community page to share what's going on in Hespeler! Events, Sales, Activities, Grand Openings, and more. Analysis -  Ads, Ads and more Ads. A few different ones but similar to all the other pages.

10. Hespeler Mill Pond - 1,067 members - Purpose - All about the community living in homes the are that was once the Forbes Wetland. It has 17 administrators! Analysis -  People I know on it like the local discussions that take place. The group keeps growing.

11. Hespeler Model Aviators - 48 members - Purpose - RC Airplane and Helicopter club. MAAC and membership required  Analysis - Well I am not a member but a neat hobby. Website is good. Interested folks should check it out.

12. Hespeler Moms - 1,186 members - Purpose - This group is for MOMS in the Hespeler area. So we can share information, ask questions and become friends with our neighborhood! Analysis - Sorry no men allowed so no analysis.

13. Hespeler Moms' Social Club - 449 members - Purpose -  (HMSC) is a community group for moms who live in Hespeler and who want to connect with other moms and build friendships within their community. Analysis - Sorry no men allowed so no analysis.

14. Hespeler Optimist - 414 people follow the page - Purpose - To support the younger part of our community by being " Friend of Youth". Analysis - The page is kept current. A great organization that needs some more members!

15.Hespeler Politics - Respectful Discussion & Sharing Group - 57 members - new group, name says it all.

16. Hespeler Riders - This group is semi dormant but would be neat to have a Hespeler motorcycle riders social club. Message the administrator to get it going.

17. Hespeler Rocks -  - 1,791 members - Purpose - Hespeler neighbours paint rocks and hide them around our community and when someone finds a painted rock they take a picture and post it in this group with the hashtag #HespelerRocks. Analysis - Still keeps growing. wow.!

18. Hespeler Tennis  Club FB Group -  80 members - Looking for partners to play tennis!

19.Hespeler Trails Safety and Awareness Group - 566 members - Purpose - To promote our trails and safe use of them. With the city facing a drug crisis with fentanyl, heroine and cocaine addicts, keeping our trails safe is critical. Great cause!

20. Hespeler Village - 1,042 members - Purpose - Connected with Hespeler Village Neighbourhood Association originally. Maybe it still is. Analysis - A larger older group but still mainly ads. Not sure how many Village Well bar ads a person can handle! Lol.

21.Hespeler Village Neighbourhood Association - 987 members - a neighbourhood association in Hespeler.

22. Hespeler Village on the River - 3,076 follow the page - Purpose - A page run by the Hespeler Business Improvement Association to promote the many shops, restaurants and services in a friendly village setting. Analysis - Everything you always wanted to know about the businesses in downtown Hespeler but were afraid to ask!

23. Hespeler Walking Group - 74 members - Purpose - A group of people who are interested in meeting to walk this great little village! Analysis - Great idea, Let’s keep this group active!

24. The Good, The Bad, The True Hespeler Community - 1,050 members - Purpose - This is an open forum to respectively discuss anything Hespeler!! Good or bad, enjoy.

25. The Real Hespeler - 388 members - Purpose - This group is all about our favourite town Hespeler.  We chat about what is going on in town and our area but with a twist. You don’t always have to be politically correct. Analysis - This group seems to be in decline. How many Food truck ads can one person handle.

26. This is My Hespeler - 5,450 members - Purpose - This group is dedicated posting photos & positive stories of all things Hespeler. Show us how amazing this town is! Analysis - The largest site about Hespeler by far. However there has been some backlash from a number of people who have been banned for simply stating negative comments about Hespeler. Still 1/3 of the population of Hespeler are members of this page.

27. This is Our Hespeler - 1,427 members - Purpose - This Group is for anyone to post anything about their local businesses.  ALL home based, mompreneurs, downtown, or any other small business located in ALL of Hespeler is free to share any updates and goings on. Analysis - The posts on  this group definitely reflect the purpose of the group. It is very similar to all the other Hespeler sites where you can post your ads. It is growing.

28. Victoria Park Ice Rink - Fisher Mills Rd. Hespeler -  485 members -  Purpose - Victoria Park Ice Rink is open to the community, is FREE and anyone can come out. Whether you are just learning to skate or you want to get a bunch of friends out for a hockey game! Analysis - They might have the longest name but their single focus makes for a good group.


29. Hespeler Junior C Shamrocks - NEW - The return of Junior C hockey in Hespeler.

30. Hespeler Minor Hockey Association -  165 members - Purpose - The Hespeler Minor Hockey Association provides minor hockey for the Hespeler community in Cambridge. Analysis - Play hockey in Hespeler. A great organization. The page is not that great, but their website is.

31. Hespeler Minor Softball Association -  87 members - Purpose - The mission of HMSA is to promote and encourage good citizenship among the players of the Association. We strive to establish and promote an active interest in softball for ages 3 through to 18 regardless of ability . Analysis - Page is kept up to date and the baseball season is a short one and reasonable price.

32. Hespeler Skating Club - 83 members - This local skating club like the minor softball and hockey have been in the community for decades. Support them and you support Hespeler.

33. Hespeler Tennis - 398 members - Conveniently located in Forbes Park.

34. Scorpions Volleyball Cub - 2,016 members - Started in Hespeler in 2010, Still in Hespeler, programs for boy and girls ages 7-18. Almost all learn to play program gyms are in Hespeler.

Great meals and prices at the Village Eatery in Hespeler

I can't get enough of the Village Eatery!

In downtown Hespeler there is a restaurant that you must eat at. It is the Village Eatery at 12 Queen Street. The quality of the food is good and the prices are very reasonable.

Last week we had the mixed wraps and BBQ club sandwich and were not disappointed. Our neighbour said you must have the fish and chips on Friday for $7.99. So we went back on Friday and they were fantastic. I have had fish and chips at other restaurants for twice the price that were not as good.

The only real problem I have there is deciding what to order next. We usually get the food to go since it is small and can get hot in there in the summer. You owe it to yourself to bring your family and friends to the Village Eatery.

It gets a Langan 4.5 rating!