A group of daycare aged children ride the shuttle link to Toronto International Airport and learn some important lessons about rail safety along the way.
We all have that one memory.
That moment that transports us back to childhood.
For some people, it’s the taste of a Creamsicle from an ice cream truck stopping out front of their house. Or the smell after your dad lights the camp fire – after many attempts and a few minor swear words. But for a group of kids from Toronto’s Candy Factory Daycare, just maybe, it will be a memory of their first UP Express ride.
As part of a summer outing to explore a wider world, 75 children, from ages one to four years old, were taken aboard UP this week (July 25). It was a way to experience public transit, as well as learn how to stay safe while doing it.
It was also a chance to capture remarkably charming moments, and to remind us all that the first time on a train or bus can be magical – and leave a lasting impression.
“With children of this age, it’s not about teaching them – it’s all about learning through experience,” says Blair Spence, supervisor at the Bloor St. West Candy Factory Daycare.
Spence believes to build important life skills, such as safely using a transit system, it’s all about role modelling to the kids.
“That’s where children learn best,” he says.
The group also had a chance to ask two Metrolinx Transit Safety Officers questions while they were waiting on the platform at Bloor Station.
“It’s really important we have that kind of interaction to reinforce safety on the platforms,” says Steve Harvey, manager of safety and security at Metrolinx.
“When the officers have these types of positive interactions with kids, it also helps reinforce the idea that they’re much more than a just a symbol of law enforcement.”
The lesson, added Harvey, is that the children learned the transit safety officers are on hand to keep everyone safe and to provide help to anyone who needs it.
While the round trip itself took less than an hour, the memories may last a lifetime – or at least until supper, when excited stories of the day would have been told to parents and siblings.
“Every one of them was telling me about the planes and trains they saw,” says Spence.
“That’s what it’s all about.”
Their short trip made for captivating and endearing images, captured here.
But for the children, it was the first of many journeys to come.
Story by Matt Llewellyn, Metrolinx spokesperson and senior advisor, media relations and issues