Kiwanis coach

Canadian club creates a legacy by supporting a reboot of a beloved park train.

By Terry McLaren, membership chair, Kiwanis Club of Peterborough, Ontario, Canada 

The Kiwanis Club of Peterborough in Ontario, Canada, always looks to get involved in projects that will benefit not only the youth in our community, but also residents and visitors. To mark our club’s 100th anniversary, members selected a special community project: supporting the replacement of a nearly half-century-old train that is a key attraction at the city’s zoo. 

Established in 1933, the Riverview Park & Zoo is fully accredited by Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums. As the country’s only free-admission accredited zoo, it attracts over 225,000 visitors each year. In addition to viewing a variety of animals, zoo guests enjoy taking in the sights on the Riverview Railway Train Ride, a staple since 1974. 

The train ride — complete with a small-scale 1860-style locomotive engine and coaches — is part of the city’s cultural heritage, providing fond memories for multiple generations of families. But the nearly 50-year-old train needs repairs, and replacement parts that meet government regulations are cost prohibitive. So the zoo made the decision to retire the train and replace it with a new model. 

in May 2022, the zoo announced its “All Aboard the Riverview Railway Capital Campaign,” and our members knew we had found our next major project for the benefit of the community’s youth, residents and visitors. Our club pledged CA$25,000 to the campaign, using monies that resulted from our fundraising efforts through Delta Bingo & Gaming and proceeds from our Kiwanis Snack Bar at the zoo. 

In October 2022, members of our club’s fundraising committee were pleased to announce they exceeded the original $25,000 commitment, thanks to a “Round Up Your Purchase” initiative promoted by the student staff working at the snack bar. The students hoped to raise an additional $2,500 by September 5, our country’s Labour Day. They actually raised over $3,200, $2,500 of which was matched by Steve Sanderson, founder and president of Accident Support Services International Ltd. This brought our club’s total monetary support to $30,700. 

In recognition of our support, the Riverview Park & Zoo will name one of the new train’s coaches after the Kiwanis Club of Peterborough. The Kiwanis name will be on the coach for the next 25 years, to be seen by an estimated four million riders. There is no better brand recognition than to be thought of by the thousands of visitors each year who will associate Kiwanis with their favorite childhood attraction every season and every ride around the track. 

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