Frequently Asked Questions

What is the VHA?

Established in 2019, the VIA Historical Association is a registered Canadian tax-exempt charitable organization. The VHA is dedicated to preserving the history of VIA Rail Canada and educating the public about VIA’s role as a vital part of Canada’s transportation network since its earliest days as a CN subsidiary in 1976, and subsequently as a Crown corporation. The VHA’s unique mission includes preserving and restoring representative examples of VIA Rail Canada rolling stock and locomotives for public exhibition and operation, as well as documenting VIA’s technological and cultural history through archival materials and publications.

Is the VHA affiliated with VIA Rail Canada?

The VHA maintains a strong relationship with VIA, but it is an independent organization and is not affiliated with VIA Rail Canada. No endorsement of the VHA by VIA Rail Canada is implied or intended. VIA trademarks are used with permission.

How can I become a supporter of the VHA?

Financial support for the VHA is possible in six categories for individuals, and three levels for corporate donors. You can show your annual support for the VHA for as little as $5 per month ($60 yearly), which includes VHA’s bilingual Panorama magazine. Click here for full details.

How can I receive a copy of VHA’s Panorama magazine?

Panorama is available exclusively to VHA supporters, and is sent free of charge to those donating $60 or more per calendar year. Panorama is published twice a year, in the spring and fall, and supporters receive both issues published during the calendar year of their donation(s). While supplies last, donors will also receive a copy of Panorama’s inaugural issue, published in November 2021.

Are donations to the VHA tax-deductible?

Yes, for eligible donors, subject to Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) regulations and requirements. Under CRA rules, a portion of annual VHA donations is not tax-deductible.

Can I set up recurring donations on a monthly or yearly basis?

Yes, monthly payments and an auto-renew option are available.

Can I direct my donation to support a specific VHA restoration project?

Yes, donations may be directed by the donor to a specific VHA project or projects if desired. Unrestricted donations are allocated to projects at the VHA’s discretion.

What are other ways to get involved?

Supporters in all categories may volunteer to assist with the VHA’s equipment restoration, maintenance, fundraising and marketing efforts. Although volunteering can be its own reward, the VHA’s Volunteer Appreciation Program has been established to recognize those who are able to share their skills and experience in this way.
Before being permitted to assist with VHA’s equipment restorations and maintenance, all volunteers are required to attend a formal safety briefing, provide their own personal protective equipment meeting all applicable standards, and sign a waiver of liability.

Will VHA merchandise (shirts, hats, mugs, etc.) be available?

VHA apparel and merchandise is being developed, and will be available soon as supporter premiums and also for sale through the VHA Store.

Has the VHA acquired Edmundston and the RDCs from Rapido?

Yes, sleeping car Edmundston and RDCs 6215, 6233, 6110, 6113 and 6214 were transferred to VHA ownership in March 2021. Click here for a backgrounder on Edmundston, and here for more information about the VHA’s RDCs.

What other cars and locomotives will the VHA be acquiring?

VHA’s goal is to acquire representative consists of LRC (three cars) and HEP-1 equipment (one each of the seven former Canadian Pacific car types), and one P42 locomotive, when this equipment is retired from VIA service. Also on VHA’s “wish list” are select examples of VIA’s former CN “blue and yellow” cars, Tempo cars, and an FPA-4 or FP9A locomotive. Near the top of the list is a baggage car, to accommodate public displays highlighting VHA equipment restoration status and archival materials.

Where will the VHA’s equipment collection be kept over the long term?

VHA’s equipment is currently in secure storage in southern Ontario, accessible for restoration work and ongoing maintenance when pandemic restrictions are lifted. The collection is expected to remain based in Ontario, with VHA equipment travelling elsewhere in Canada for public display and operation as opportunities and conditions permit.

How and when can I get a tour of Edmundston and the RDCs?

VHA’s plans include periodic public exhibition and operation of its restored equipment after all pandemic restrictions are fully lifted, as well as supporter-oriented events. The equipment is currently stored in a secure location, with public and volunteer access regrettably not available at this time.

Will the VHA’s equipment be available for special-event charters?

The VHA encourages use of its equipment for film and TV production. With today’s post-production technology, the VHA equipment collection is suitable for projects set in Canada or the United States between the early 1950s and the present.

Does the VHA maintain an archive?

Yes, the VHA’s collection – among the largest and most comprehensive of its kind devoted to VIA Rail Canada – includes documents, ephemera, photographs and other materials forming part of VIA’s historical narrative. The VHA draws on this material for its online and print communications, including Panorama magazine, and for interpretive exhibits being developed for public display.

Does the VHA accept donations of archival or restoration materials?

Yes, subject to certain conditions. Donations may qualify for a Canadian federal tax receipt under CRA rules. Click here for more information.

My relative worked for VIA. Does the VHA have any employee records?

No, the VHA does not archive or have access to employment information. However, we are interested in documenting the stories and experiences of former VIA employees. If you would like to share your VIA memories, please contact us.

How can I make a donation to the VHA?

Click here to be redirected to the VHA’s donor page. Thank you for your support.