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Short Film - NFB Canada Vignettes: Calliope

Hello Everyone

I'd like to share another short film - A National Film Board of Canada vignette, filmed at the Caledonia Antique and Steam Show in Caledonia, Ontario circa 1980, titled Calliope.

I really enjoy this short film. To me it highlights all the good things about shows that I look forward to each year - running equipment, the colorful characters, a sense of camaraderie, families having fun and most important of all, children being exposed to antique equipment and hopefully retaining an interest for the rest of their lives.

What strikes me the most however, is that even though this was filmed over 35 years ago in Ontario, I'm sure all of us today , no matter where we are, can relate to the film. The faces, equipment and location may be different but the spirit of theses shows is universal and has remained the same across the decades.


Canada Vignettes: Calliope

https://www.nfb.ca/film/canada_vignettes_calliope (Tony Ianzelo, 1980, 2 min)

Thom Cholowski P.E.
Conservation Manager/
Steam Program Chief Engineer
Western Development Museum

25 White



A fantastic vignette! The original is longer and includes a little footage of the former "Minnie Thomson Museum". In the past, the full version was available for order from the NFB. I don't know if it still is or not. :shrug:


Another great Ontario steam vignette from the NFB is "Steam Meet". Anyone out there recognize the guy in the picture?

I remember the film well and I haven't seen the full version in a long time. Thomson family are stand up folks. Haven't seen Ken Thomson in 20 yrs, to the best of my knowledge he still has the calliope. Syd Thomson was a great guy willing to help out and answer any question you had, God rest his soul.
Miss seeing my old mentor John Calder and his 25 Nichols, short shot of them both in the full version of the film.

---------- Post added at 09:36 AM ---------- Previous post was at 09:32 AM ----------

Couldn't find the NFB short on Canadian National 6218. She's just a shell of what she use to be rotting away at the Ft.Erie RR museum. Still some ashes and coked up coal still in the ashpan from over 40 yrs ago.


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Thanks for the sharing that with us Thom.I can remember that Calliope a number of years back playing down at the show in Caledonia wich must have been the last year it was out running.not many people could play that thing other then Mr Thompson and Peter ledwith.it was also shown at Milton Steam Era for many years.John


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I am pleased to report that DVD copies of the full version of "The Mighty Steam Calliope" and "Steam Meet" are on their way to me from the NFB.
Could you post the link for "Steam Meet" i cant find it on the NFB web site as i would like to get copies of both myself


G Willikers

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The calliope was a lovely piece of equipment. However, it was even nicer when the Thomsons hitched their Waterloo engine to it and dragged it through town. That gave us all a break from the never ending "Take me out to the Ballgame" , "Put another nickle in" , "Oh Suzanna" , "In the good ol' Summertime." There was that and the Captain's old boooma-thumpa music machine. Both wonderful machines until you were stuck alongside them for 3-4 days.
Caledonia was a wonderful old show. It was always amazing what they got in that fairgrounds by the Grand River. Some amazing displays.
Then there were the shenanigans! A certain crew, one of whom comes on here now and then, built a potato gun and fired projectiles across the river to the houses over there - all good phun of course!:beer: