About Exporail

Discover the railway museum’s world.

Once upon a time, Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum

How was Exporail born? What is the latest news? What are the available positions? If you are also asking yourself these questions, then you are in the right section!

Passion and Canada’s railway history

Born out of the Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA), Exporail, The Canadian Railway Museum, continues the legacy of the passionate volunteers who made it possible to preserve and enhance Canada’s rich railway heritage.

 

In 1978, the Government of Canada named Exporail as Canada’s specialized railway Museum. In 2007, Exporail asked the Government of Canada to recognize it as Canada’s National Railway Museum. That same year, Parliament passed a motion to that effect. Since then, Exporail has worked to have the Government of Canada carry out this motion of parliament.

 

On this 175th anniversary of the creation of the railway, may Canada’s Parliament designate Exporail a National Museum and thus pay homage to all those who worked to create the unique legacy that helped build Canada.

Mission

Exporail delights its audiences by operating a living railway museum that informs and engages through the excellence of its museology and all its research, conservation, museological, educational, archival and publishing activities.

A word from the Executive Director

Welcome to Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum

We have a passion for preserving and enhancing Canada’s largest collection of railway material. An energy shared by our entire team of enthusiastic volunteers and employees, telling the unique history of the vehicles and objects on display in the Angus Pavilion’s Grand Gallery.

 

Take pleasure in discovering the incredible world of Exporail. During the summer, take a ride aboard the only vintage streetcar still in operation in Québec. Experience the movement of the train, the railway yard, and switching. A new walking path and exhibit have been developed to allow you to further discover Canada’s magnificent railway adventure.

 

Discover innovation, reflected in Canada’s railway heritage. From immigration and farming to industry, the fine arts, and education, experience the legacy of the founders of Canada who made railway history, along with their dreams and inventions.

 

I invite you to explore Exporail on the Web, as well as exploring Exporail with our guided tours, programming, events, educational programs, exhibits, and collection. I am sure you will enjoy your visit. All aboard!

 

Nadine Cloutier

History of Exporail

The beginning of Canada’s railway adventure

The Canadian Railroad Historical Association (CRHA) owns and operates Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. Exporail was founded in 1961 by the CRHA, which counts over a thousand members and several Divisions throughout Canada.

The mission of this non-profit association is to purchase vehicles, artifacts, and archival documents that retrace the history of Canada’s railways and of their development. The Association aims at preserving and disseminating this information.

Located near the very first railroad in Canada, the Champlain & St. Lawrence Rail Road (1836), Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum has preserved and showcases Canada’s largest railway collection and is among the largest of its kind in the world.

Operated by the Champlain & St. Lawrence Rail Road Company, Canada’s first railroad was inaugurated on July 21, 1836, on Montreal’s South Shore, between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu.

The 23-kilometer-long stretch of track runs parallel to an old portage route previously used to transport merchandise from the St. Lawrence River to the  Richelieu River and nearby waterways, i.e., Lake Champlain and the Hudson River.

 

Commemoration of the first public railway in Canada

The Dorchester’s inaugural trip between La Prairie and Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu marked the true beginning of Canada’s railway adventure. Initially, the North-South axis was used for trade with the United States and the East-West axis was developed later.

Exporail pays homage to the workers who built the railroads, which contributed to the founding of our Canada. Exporail is Canada’s largest railway museum and has a remarkable collection that gives visitors the opportunity to witness how the railroad went from a dream to a reality, in terms of both its technological innovations and social dimensions, to develop Canada and all of its communities.

Exporail’s mission is to retrace and showcase the history and present role of railways in a lively and interactive fashion using the various means at its disposal. Its program is diversified and includes exceptional permanent and temporary exhibitions, guided tours, animations, educational activities, conferences, tram and train rides, demonstrations of the telegraphy and steam train operations as well as several thematic events.

Team

Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum relies on a team of professionals including ten full-time employees, 20 or so casual employees, and approximately one hundred and thirty volunteers.

On a yearly basis, these volunteers provide more than 21,000 hours of work.

 

 

 

 

Exporail Team Directory

To contact a member of the Exporail team, please refer to the directory to make sure that your request is sent to the appropriate person.

Function Contact-Person
Executive Director – Person in charge of the protection of personal information Nadine Cloutier
Volunteer Management and Operations Coordinator Sylvain Bissonnette
Accounting Stéphane Ste-Marie
Archives – Exhibitions Mylène Bélanger
Hall rentals and Film Shooting- Gift Shop Marie-Anne Durocher
Collections – Exhibitions – Restoration Jean-Paul Viaud
Collections Registrar – Exhibitions Support Alexandra Lamoureux
Marketing Caroline Lebon
Customer Services, Programming, and Education Matthew Gauthier
Philanthropy – Sponsorships – Partnerships Nadine Cloutier
Janitorial Services Stéphane Filion
CRHA Membership Gérald Bouchard
CRHA Annnual Awards Linda Schwey
Canadian Rail / CRHA Communications Peter M. Murphy

 

Awards and honors

OCTOBER 2021

The awards ceremony of the Société des musées du Québec took place at the Sheraton Laval on Thursday, October 14, 2021. The Prix Excellence, category 2, was awarded to Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum, for its new permanent exhibition “Rail, the Power of Connection”.The team, represented by its Executive Director, Nadine Cloutier, is very happy and proud of this award!

Read the Press Release of Société des musées du Québec (in french only)

JULY 2020

Heritage Rail News:
Exporail Volunteers Win National Award
By Robert Robinson, Canadian Railway Historical Association

Exporail and the Canadian Railroad Historical Association team is delighted to announce that our volunteers have won the Canadian Museums Association Museum Volunteer Award, in partnership with the Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums. This award recognizes individuals or groups who generously volunteer their time and commitment to a museum or related heritage institution and have made a significant impact within the museum community.

Exporail, The Canadian Railway Museum has been distinguished by various honorary awards to underline its commitment in different fields:

  • The 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence
  • Roussillon Grand Prize for Entrepreneurship 2011 in the Tourism and Culture category, awarded by the Centre local de développement (CLD) de Roussillon.
  • Montérégie Desjardins 2011 Tourism Excellence Prize – Jury honourable mention – presented by Tourisme Montérégie.
  • 2010 Prize for Sector Achievement of the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame, given in recognition of Exporail’s extraordinary accomplishments in the Canadian railway industry and its outstanding initiatives to preserve railway heritage.
  • Société des musées québécois Excellence Prize 2004, awarded by the Société des musées québécois for Exporail’s museum development project.
  • Roussillon Grand Prize for Entrepreneurship 2001 in the Tourism and Culture category, awarded by the Centre local de développement (CLD) de Roussillon.
  • Grand Prix du Tourisme de la Montérégie 1998 – Petite entreprise publique – awarded by the Association touristique de la Montérégie.

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