Tuesday, August 15, 2023

Standing on the shoulders of giants: My blog's acceptance speech for an award!

I'm not one to bask in glory, by any means. Especially when it comes to my blogging efforts, I try to maintain a humble attitude with what I am sharing. I can always learn something new from someone and I am always prepared to acknowledge when I am off the mark (off the rails, at it were?). That said, I have tried to curate an intelligent, informed and interesting blog about railways in Ontario since launching the Beachburg Sub in 2013

My inspiration came from a few blogs I noticed immediately in 2010. One of those blogs, Trackside Treasure, just celebrated its 15th anniversary, which makes it a wily veteran by Interweb standards. Much to my shock, I noticed my blog was not only mentioned in the Trackside Treasure 15th anniversary post, but this blog was also lauded.

The Beachburg Sub has won the first ever Trackside Treasure Annibursary Prize. 


Trackside Treasure's Eric Gagnon is one of the most knowledgeable and thoughtful bloggers that Canadian railways have seen. He is always generous with his time when you have a question (which I often do) or when he comes across something he thinks would be of interest to you. I cannot tell you the number of times he has saved one of my posts or given me an idea for a new post, just by reaching out via email. If you have not checked out his blog, I would highly recommend you take a day and explore all it has to offer.

Eric is based out of Kingston, so I thought I would use one of my shots from Kingston Station last November as a tribute to Eric and his continuing efforts as a rail enthusiast and historian, dare I suggest.

I first discovered Trackside Treasure in 2009 or 2010. I had just lost my job as a reporter, due to the Great Recession and had to move from Kitchener back to Ottawa, where I accepted a temporary job in communications with the Government of Canada. The job was a thankless one with far too much downtime at first, which did not help my mood much. I was quite sad about losing my job as a reporter and was a very reluctant public servant.

One day, I found his blog and I began reading posts about trains, which I found very comforting at a very difficult time. When I returned home to my apartment after discovering the blog, I spent a few hours just reading through the posts. It was like the world's best train magazine, but everything was Canadian and the geography was familiar (i.e. - No windy posts about some narrow gauge steam-powered scenic railway I have no interest in somewhere in the wilds of America).

Through Eric's extensive knowledge, including his technical expertise, I have learned a lot about trains and the railway industry. It took a few years, but I decided to take the plunge myself and began this blog in 2013. The rest, as they say, is history. I have traded messages with Eric many times since my blog began and am happy to share that Eric is just as warm and genial via email as he is on his blog.

That is why I appreciate it when people I look up to appreciate my efforts, however modest my scribbles may be. As part of the Annibursary, I plan to pay a visit to the Railway Museum of Eastern Ontario in Smiths Falls before the end of the summer, to support their efforts in preservation. Call it paying it forward.

Indeed, I would not have started blogging had I not discovered Eric's blog, or even Steve Boyko's Traingeek blog. There are many other blogs I visit, including Rolly Martin Country and Prince Street Terminal, to name a few. They all offer their own unique take on railways. All are interesting and worthy of your time. And there are many more out there.

That's why my acceptance speech for this award is titled, Standing on the shoulders of giants. It's because I am. These are the blogs that are the measuring stick. I just hope that this blog lives up to their high standards.

My thanks to Eric Gagnon. May Trackside Treasure continue to be that brilliantly glowing searchlight signal in today's murky times!

1 comment:

Kevin from Windsor said...