CNR School on Wheels Museum

Please note the School Car is currently closed due to Covid-19.

The CNR School on Wheels Museum is a unique little museum located at 76 Victoria Terrance, Clinton, Ontario in Sloman Memorial Park. It is a provincial treasure of historic, educational, and railway significance.

CNR School on Wheels Museum is part of the Northern Ontario's unique railcar school system history which spanned from 1926-1967.

Please enjoy the information and unique opportunity to learn about an interesting part of history.

History

In 1926, Clinton locals, teacher Fred Sloman and his wife, Cela, set off on a new school railcar program, designed to bring education to remote northern families. During this time period most northern children received little to no formal education.

A CNR railcar was changed into a classroom with living quarters in the back half to house the Slomans and their 5 children. The Sloman railcar became 1 of 7 school cars used in the north over a 41 year period (1926-1967).

The CN trains travelling the 240 kilometers between Capreol and Foleyet would move the School Car from location to location, allowing Fred Sloman to teach and bring the outside world to the remote children of the north.  This included those of newly immigrated railway section workers living along the line, woodsmen, hunters, trappers, and Indigenous.

The School Car would stay for a week at a time, before being moved to the next location where some students would travel many miles by canoe, dog team, or snowshoe for classes. Mr. Sloman would teach any number of students of varying ages, then leave homework with them until his return visit about a month later. There are many Canadians who have loving memories of both the Slomans and their time at the School Car.

In 1965, after 39 years, the Slomans retired to live in Clinton. The school car was also retired from the school railcar program. Over time, changes on the railway led to a huge decrease in railway workers and more permanent schools were built. This resulted in a reduced school car student population and eventually in the program's closure.

In 1982, the school car, damaged by fire and vandalism, was located by the Slomans who asked the Town of Clinton to purchase it. The railcar arrived in Clinton that fall to its new home, in the Sloman Memorial Park, where it was restored to its original state through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.

Visiting us

We would love to have you experience the CNR School on Wheels Museum. Our hours of operation are as follows:

May (Saturday of Victoria Day Weekend) until September (Last Sunday in September)

Thursday to Sunday including Holiday Mondays

11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Last guided tour at 3:30 PM

Admission

Admission is by donation only.

Group tours

We are glad to offer group tours and they must be booked in advance. We welcome bus tours, school groups and can accommodate adult tours as well. If you would like to book a tour that is not within our hours of operation, please feel free to contact us and we would be happy to arrange a visit.

Accessibility

We want everyone to be able to enjoy our museum and although the School Car is not fully accessible we will try to provide accommodations to assist in the experience. The entrance to the School Car is by wooden ramp and the following are the door dimensions:

  • Width of exterior doors: 52cm (26”)
  • Width of interior doors: 53.5cm (21”)

Donations

The operation of the CNR School on Wheels Museum is always open to donations. Donations are appreciated in a variety of ways including monetary, volunteering, artifacts and modern items. If you would like to donate please feel free to contact us.

Contact us

Email

schoolonwheels@centralhuron.com

By Phone

Administration/Promotion/School Tours - (519) 525-6276

To Book Off Hour Private Tours/Group Tours - (519) 525-6276

Town Hall - (519) 482-3997

By Mail

CNR School on Wheels Museum

Sloman Memorial Park

76 Victoria Terrace

PO Box 400

Clinton, Ontario

N0M 1L0