Re-dedication of Engine 1095 on July 1, 2013 in celebration of its restoration and centenary.
Engine 1095, also known as ‘The Spirit of Sir John A.' has provided a favourite photo op for tourists visiting Confederation Park for more than 40 years.
It is a reminder that Confederation Park was once an active train yard, that the Visitor Information Centre was once the K&P Railway station and that Kingston was once home to the Canadian Locomotive Company for over 100 years. That company built more than 3,000 steam, electric and diesel engines for the Canadian Pacific Railway, including ‘The Spirit of Sir John A.'.
The presence of Engine 1095 in Kingston provides a crucial link to the City's industrial past having been built by the Canadian Locomotive Company Ltd. (CLC), formerly located on the Kingston waterfront. For over a century the CLC was a major supplier of locomotives to the CPR, delivering nearly one-third of its fleet over a number of decades and making it Canada's second largest commercial builder at the time.
Engine 1095 first made its debut in 1913 and was put into service out of Winnipeg and then Southern Ontario before completing its service life in Montreal in 1960. As a symbol of 19th century technology and industry, the continuing existence of Engine 1095 points to a significant period in Kingston and Canada's history that demands to be preserved and maintained. It also helps to illustrate a significant aspect of Kingston's history by positioning it as an important industrial and political hub.
Giving Engine 1095 a new life
Engine 1095 was fully restored in 2013, 100 years after it was first built. This project was initiated in 2007 by a group of dedicated volunteers known as ‘The 1095 Restoration Volunteer Group'. At the time they submitted a survey of findings and recommendations to Kingston City Council raising their concerns about Engine 1095's deteriorating condition. They offered an overall assessment of the locomotive and made a case for its restoration along with a proposed course of action. This initial request, followed by additional research and investigation by City staff, resulted in City Council's decision to proceed with the restoration of the locomotive that began in 2011 and was completed in 2013 to coincide with the locomotive's centenary.
The restoration of Engine 1095 was made possible by a unique partnership between the City of Kingston and Local 221, the United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing and Pipe Fitting Industry of the United States and Canada. Local 221, established in Kingston in 1900, is a multi-craft union whose members are engaged in the fabrication, installation and servicing of piping systems. Their enthusiasm for this project ensured it was completed with a combination of expertise and passion. A number of associated unions and industry partners also got involved helping to ensure the skills available matched the complexity of the project. The project was completed by the community for the community, a remarkable accomplishment and demonstration of civic pride.