VIA Rail Canada has partnered with CBC/Radio-Canada, the National Film Board of Canada (NFB) and The Historica-Dominion Institute to announce the On-board Entertainment initiative, an interactive digital platform providing passengers on VIA Rail trains free access to Canadian programming. Starting in Spring 2013, the new interactive digital platform will provide passengers on VIA Rail trains within the Québec City – Windsor corridor free access to Canadian programming, including CBC/Radio-Canada TV shows programs, documentaries and animation from the NFB, and “Heritage Minutes” vignettes and Memory Project veteran interviews produced by The Historica-Dominion Institute.
“Over the past two years, VIA Rail passengers have become accustomed to world-class Wi-Fi on our trains. Today, we are pleased to extend our Wi-Fi offer with entertainment and information produced by Canadians, for Canadians. Canadian culture is known for its rich diversity demonstrated by the artistic creativity of its people. Canadians can be proud of the many artisans, authors, actors and producers who create distinctive, original and innovative audiovisual works that honour them on the international stage. VIA Rail Canada is happy to promote them to its passengers,” stated Marc Laliberté, President and Chief Executive Officer of VIA Rail Canada.
By offering VIA Rail customers the chance to watch movies, television shows and news programs presented in the country’s two official languages, theOn-board Entertainment system will promote high quality Canadian productions.
VIA Rail’s On-Board Entertainment portal is the only system of its kind on a train in North America. It will present movies and other programming from the NFB and CBC/Radio-Canada collections, in addition to regular daily newscasts from CBC/Radio-Canada. Over time, this interactive digital platform will host other Canadian content from participating organizations.
“This partnership with VIA Rail is yet another way for us to reach Canadians when, where and how they want,” said CBC/Radio-Canada President and CEO Hubert T. Lacroix. “Not only does it attest to the high quality and rich variety of our programming, but it’s a superb opportunity for the public broadcaster to bring its news and general programming to a wider audience in both English and French.”
“Well before Twitter and Facebook, the railroad was the quintessential network bringing Canadians together”, added Tom Perlmutter, Government Film Commissioner and NFB Chairperson. “As symbol and as reality our VIA Rail train network has proved enduring and necessary. So we are delighted to partner with VIA Rail and CBC/Radio-Canada, to strengthen the ties that bind us together in ways that innovate, delight and inform. I applaud VIA Rail for this bold and imaginative initiative that truly serves Canadians.”
“We are delighted to be offering the Heritage Minutes collection and other history programming as part of VIA Rail’s new on-board experience,” said Anthony Wilson-Smith, President of The Historica-Dominion Institute. “This is a tremendous opportunity to share Canadian stories with travellers across the country.”
The On-board Entertainment initiative required a total investment of $543,000 by VIA Rail. This program is part of VIA Rail’s modernization plan launched in 2007, and was made possible by the nearly $1 billion in capital funding announced by the Government of Canada since 2007 to rebuild aging equipment, refurbish stations, upgrade infrastructure, improve accessibility and support critical information technology projects. This investment includes$407 million under the Economic Action Plan and $60 million in Budget 2012.