Ontario Northland featured in new Canadian series
A new TV series called Rocky Mountain Railroad, coming out on the Discovery Channel, is focusing on Canadian railroads, and Ontario Northland Railway is featured prominently, along with Canadian Pacific.
In fact, the first episode features a northern Ontario man who uses the train to run firewood to the Moosonee-Moose Factory area.
George Ross was born and raised in Moosonee and currently lives in Cochrane working as a firewood harvester.
"I grew up on the railway. I lived along the line at 142 and Moose River. We have a family camp at 69 right now, where my family and ancestors are from. We were up and down that rail since I was a kid.” said Ross.
For the past four years, Ross has been operating his own firewood business. He says most of his clients are elders in Moosonee, who have a difficult time getting good, dry firewood. He relies on the ONR to haul his product to the coast.
"My main use is the gondolas. I'll load 35-40 cords, depends on the size of wood and how much time I have. The hydro is so high up there for all the heating sources and a lot of the people like the heat from the wood. It's a different heat." said Ross.
Officials say the ONR will be shown in all eight episodes of Rocky Mountain Railroad in some way or another. They say the series will demonstrate how important freight and passenger service is to the north.
Renée Baker is the Communications Manager for Ontario Northland Railway.
"We were contacted by a production company a couple years ago. They visited Cochrane and Moosonee. They were fascinated by our employees and what we did every day and they really liked the communities, so our stories, I think, really attracted this series and the attention." said Baker.
The show will also feature the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Ross says he'll be part of two episodes. The first one, airing Monday night at 10, will show him shipping firewood and a future episode will focus on the spring hunt.
Some episodes will also highlight the polar bear habitat and indigenous hockey teams.