Railway Museum founder leaving the station
Garry Anderson, the driving force behind the Canadian Museum of Rail Travel and the Cranbrook Archives, Museum and Landmark Foundation (CAMAL) will retire on April 30.
The recipient of many outstanding service awards, including the Order of Canada and most recently a Queens Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Canadian Museums Association’s Distinguished Service Award, Anderson has dedicated his entire career to preserving local heritage, including the building of an internationally recognized Railway Museum in Cranbrook.
According to CAMAL board chair Jeanette Sissons, Anderson’s professional career is a record of outstanding dedication and achievement.
“Garry is always quick to acknowledge the help of our board members, volunteers and donors,” explained Sissons. “But everyone would say the Museum was Garry’s vision from the very beginning, one that he has pursued with a single-minded tenacity for almost 40 years. Without Garry there would be no Museum or Cranbrook Archives.”
Anderson grew up in Cranbrook. After earning a degree in architecture at the University of B.C. he returned to the city in 1972 to find a community up in arms about the recent demolition of a number of historic buildings, particularly the local post office. The city hired him to produce a report to find a better way to manage heritage perseveration, and one of the recommendations was the formation of a local heritage society.
Founded in 1976 and with Anderson first as the volunteer chair, and since 1980 as the paid Executive Director, CAMAL set out to create a repository of Cranbrook history through preservation of archival material and exhibition of the city’s rich railway past –all within the museum facility.
“Over the following 35 years, with Garry Anderson as our conductor, that’s exactly what CAMAL achieved, “said Sissons. “We have a massive archive of Cranbrook history that will be kept safe for generations to come. We are an internationally renowned showcase of the golden days of rail travel, both preserving some of our railway heritage and serving as a tourist attraction and income generator for our community. And, of course, we have the stunning Royal Alexandra Hall, reconstructed from one of the key Canadian Pacific Railway Hotels, for local celebrations, weddings and other community events.”
Sissons points out that that rather than winding down his efforts as he approaches retirement, Anderson continues to promote local heritage, recently completing a large Explore Historic Cranbrook Heritage Tour map with 96 local historic listings. 15,000 full-colour copies have been printed for free distribution.
“The museum is an enduring testament of Garry Anderson’s outstanding effort to protect and honour our past, and for that we will always be grateful. We wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement.”
CAMAL will be hosting a private retirement celebration for Garry Anderson at the end of the month. In the interim, media are encouraged to contact Mr. Anderson to arrange a time for an interview and/or tour of the facility.
See attached document Canadian Museum of Rail Travel – A Brief History for an overview of the facility development.