AN OLD RAILWAY BOARD GAME (January 30/04)

Coast to Coast, a board game with a railway theme, was copyrighted in 1922 by the Canadian Games Company of Ontario.

Using dice and discs as markers, the object of the game was to move across the board from one end of Canada to the other, stopping off at various railway stations along the way. One of the stops in the old game was the Dominion Atlantic Railway station in Kentville.

Marie Bishop, New Minas, has the game (on loan from a friend) and as a lady with a historical bent – she’s authored a couple of local history books – she’d like to know more about it.

As mentioned the object of the game was to travel from point to point across Canada starting in Nova Scotia and traversing the board to British Columbia, or vice versa. Besides the Kentville railway station the board has other starting points or stations in Nova Scotia, at New Glasgow and Halifax, for example.

Obviously, the game never caught on or they’d still be selling it in stores today. Marie has already done some research on the game and the company that made it but to date hasn’t had much luck in finding anything. I’ve conducted an internet search but there’s nothing on the ‘net on the company or the game [update: Coast to Coast, Canadian Games Company]. Obviously, the game is a “collector’s item.” So as a long shot I contacted an association in the States that has antique and board game collectors under its umbrella. No luck there yet but the association passed my query along to its members and I’m waiting to hear back.

Why the interest in the old game? Let’s just say that it’s unusual and why not dig into its history. If a reader – perhaps a railway buff – has any information about the game we’d like to hear from you. Maybe there’s a Kentville or Kings County connection with the game’s creator.

I’m still looking for information on Marguerite Woodworth, the author of the history of the Dominion Atlantic Railway, which was published in 1936. I’d like to salute Ms. Woodworth and prepare a biography as a permanent record of her historical accomplishments. Her D.A.R. history is a monumental work and is perhaps the only detailed history of the railway in Nova Scotia. Recognition of Ms. Woodworth as a historical writer is long overdue.

I believe there are readers out there who can tell me about Ms. Woodworth. Even the most trivial facts about her life would be welcome. As it stands now, Woodworth is a bit of a mystery, to me at least, and I’d like to know more about her. Readers who have any information are urged to contact me. You can reach me at 902-678-4591; my e-mail address is edwingcoleman@gmail.com. You can also write me care of this newspaper.

Another writer I’d like to know more about is Clara Dennis, so if you have any info please call. In the 1930s Dennis wrote several books and was a combination travel writer, explorer and historian. Clara Dennis, 1881-1958, travelled from one end of Nova Scotia to the other, exploring out-of-the-way places, interviewing their residents and offering up historical tidbits.

One of Dennis’ books, Down in Nova Scotia, was published in 1934 with a foreword by Robert Laird Borden. Every little “nook and cranny” in the province was explored and the work apparently was so popular that some 25 years later its style was imitated in travel books by Will R. Bird.

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