Meals on Wheels

Railfans will find this exhibit to be like a culinary trip and gourmets will have a unique opportunity to discover the evolution of food aboard trains. This exhibition provides a look at the exceptional contribution made by railway catering to modern culinary art through vintage crockery, silverware, menus, archival documents and billboards.

sleeping car travel

Canadian Pacific Railway Archives

Designing the dining car: innovation in motion

In 1858, George Mortimer Pullman (1831-1897) filed a patent for his sleeping car design. In 1867, he developed the original concept into a hotel car, and in 1868, he filed a new patent for a dining car. Train travel would never be the same! Through this exhibition, visitors will appreciate in particular the development of equipment, service and life in the dining car…. Until Black Tuesday in 1929.

Serving with class: an exceptional staff

The quality of service on trains, especially in the dining car, was a virtual trademark of the industry. And while the train staff were extremely proud of their contribution to this prestigious image, they worked in difficult conditions. The steward had full responsibility for the dining car and supervision of onboard staff. The kitchen brigade was composed of a chef and three other cooks, a pastry chef, and four or five waiters.

Good meals enhance the pleasure of travel

When American William Cornelius Van Horne became general manager of Canadian Pacific in 1882, he immediately sensed the potential of Canadian scenery as a tourist attraction for wealthy travellers from the United States and Europe. To lure them here, he offered travel packages that included accommodation, gourmet dining and beautiful scenery. Canadian Pacific had launched a new national industry: luxury tourism and resorts.


This exhibition was produced by Exporail, the Canadian Railway Museum. The project has been made possible in part by the Government of Canada, and through the support of the ministère de la Culture et des Communications du Québec, Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and MRC de Roussillon.

Press Release