Let’s face it, we’ve all shared a GO train quad-seat with some passenger talking themselves hoarse. But this boarding was rather, sorry, horsestoric. To commemorate Metrolinx’s seventh year of partnering with Toronto’s upcoming Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, a good natured miniature horse joined passengers for a trip today (Oct 28) from Port Credit to busy Union Station. Hay, you have to see these images of how his journey went.
For a morning run from Port Credit to Union Station today (Oct 28), one mighty GO train was energized by the sudden addition of an extra horse power.
His name was Lil’ Ben.
To mark Metrolinx’s continuing partnership with the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair (RAWF) – this will be the seventh year teaming up – miniature horse Lil’ Ben rode the rails. For a short time, travelling on top of his own special carpet (for obvious reasons), the RAWF’s diminutive ambassador – who weights 181 kg. – was arguably one of the fastest steeds on the planet.
Though he left his best friend at home. That’s a miniature donkey named Bell.
Customers inside the accessibility coach did a double-take, and quickly pulled out their phones, as he was led aboard the 10:28 GO train headed into central Toronto. As a VIP – a very important pony – 21-year-old Lil’ Ben and his entourage were followed by the press, chronicling the event.
Once led off the train after an arrival at Union Station, Lil’ Ben and his handler used an elevator to reach York Concourse, before moving on to head toward an event at Toronto City Hall.
The ride on GO is intended to highlight the combination GO+ Fair tickets for the RAWF – better known as the Royal – happening from Nov 1-10. Fans of the fair can take GO to and from the event, which takes place at Toronto’s Exhibition Place, and buy combo tickets to save money along the way.
Additionally, PRESTO Perks offer 20 per cent off adult general admission price. Enter your PRESTO card number into the ‘promotion code’ box online on the RAWF’s website – go here to go there – prior to purchasing a ticket online to save $5.50 off general admission.
WATCH: The first moment Lil’ Ben gets off his Lakeshore West train and arrives at Union Station, greeted by a media frenzy (Video by Nitish Bissonauth)
The RAWF dates back to 1922, and is billed as the country coming to the city. It’s now the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world.
And hay, the food is great.
As for what fuels Lil’ Ben, his much loved treats include apples, carrots, bananas and banana peels.
This was the first time GO transit has ever had a mini-horse ride the train and for Lil’ Ben, this was his first rodeo. According to Laura Harling, his handler, the mini-celebrity was easy going and enjoyed the ride.
It also helps that he was well prepared before trotting on board.
“We are based at the Exhibition so luckily we have a GO train station right outside,” explained Harling.
“So we took him through a few practice runs, to see trains go by and get comfortable with them. As he became more accustomed to them, it was very easy to get him on board”
Now that Lil’ Ben has shown us how easy it is to take the GO train and meet people at Union Station, you can now do the same and go see him at this year’s Royal Winter Agricultural Fair.
For more information on buying GO+ RAWF tickets, click here.
And to see more of Lil’ Ben – because today’s trip on GO likely amounted to a one transit trick pony – go see the Royal for yourself. It’s a great journey to Ontario’s agricultural roots and future.
Story by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist.