Take a ride on the Thomas D’Arcy McGee, local wins Name the Trains Contest

Elliott Blancher wins City of Ottawa Contest – Pictured above (l-r): OC Owl – mascot, Councillor Stephen Blais – Transit commissioner, Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Elliott Blancher, Bob Chiarelli – Ontario minister of infrastructure, Councillor Keith Egli – transportation committee chair, John Manconi – General Manager of OC Transpo. (Submitted photo)

OTTAWA – An 11 year-old Morrisburg boy who loves his Lego and HO scale trains received a full-sized honour over the weekend.

When the O-Train Confederation Line opens later this year it will have a unique connection to South Dundas.

Because he loves trains Elliott Blancher, who is in Grade 6 at Iroquois Public School, entered a City of Ottawa contest last November to name a train car.

Of the nearly 2,000 contest entries from school aged children, Elliott’s entry – Thomas D’Arcy McGee – was one of the 40 winning name submissions selected by the city. When he entered the contest Elliott had recently visited the Bytown Museum where he learned about Thomas D’Arcy McGee and the name stuck with him so he submitted it.

Saturday Elliott and the 39 other winners were at Ben Franklin Place where the contest winners were celebrated.

There he received an O-Train hat, a replica of the plaque that will be displayed on the train car he named and two golden tickets to ride on the inaugural run of the O-Train when it opens later this year.

Elliott said that the presentation was good and he really liked everything about it. “I got to meet Mayor [Jim] Watson,” he said.

Because he likes trains so much Elliott has already ridden on the O-Train’s existing Trillium line several times for fun, but he is really looking forward to the opportunity to take that inaugural ride on the O-Train Confederation line with the Mayor and all the other dignitaries.

He’s not sure if he will get to ride on the car he named, but said it would be pretty neat if he could.

“On behalf of the City of Ottawa, I want to congratulate the winners of the Name the Trains Contest for submitting fun, creative and inspirational names for our train cars,” said Mayor Watson during the ceremony.

“As the future generation of transit riders, it is important that you play a part in our city-transforming O-Train Confederation Line project. You are now part of our city’s history, and thousands of eyes will see your train names on the Confederation Line and Trillium Line each day.”

“You have done a truly meaningful job of connecting the past to the present,” Ottawa City councillor Stephen Blais, chair of the transit commission, said to the school kids being honoured.

Following the ceremony, the mayor and other dignitaries joined the contest winners for a pizza party.

Winning submissions for the O-Train Trillium Line: Nanuq•Polar Bear, Northern Lights, Rocket Richard, Dreamcatcher, Emily Murphy, Portage.

Winning submissions for the O-Train Confederation Line: Canada Goose, Farley Mowat, Gord Downie, Inukshuk, John McCrae, Logdriver, Lord Stanley, Louis Riel, Majestic Moose, Odawa, Poppy, Snowbird, Bluenose, Boreal, Emily Carr, Jacques Cartier, Juno, Nathan Cirillo, Normandy, Samuel de Champlain, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Totem, Tundra, Wagosh•Fox, Acadia, Agnes Macphail, Amik•Beaver, Bertha Wilson, Billy Bishop, Eh-Train, Henrietta Edwards, Maple Taffy, The Mountie, George Brown.