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Seniors design and build train exhibit for Science Timmins

The project took five months of meticulous work and problem solving to complete
Science Timmins Model Train Picture
Supplied photo

The mission of Science Timmins is to provide opportunities to individuals of all ages to play, discover and learn. A recent addition to the exhibits at Science Timmins did just that.

Gerald Desjardins, Claude Coderre, and Ron Manseau, tenants and residents at St. Mary's Gardens, designed and built a model train exhibit for Science Timmins, which became available for the public this September.

The components of the model train collection were a donation by the late Joe Ferarri. Antoine Garwah, president and CEO of Science Timmins, thought it would be a great project for Desjardins, Coderre and Manseau, who have completed many projects in the science centre's woodworking shop.

The project, which started in April, took five months of meticulous work and problem solving to complete. Cameras, computers and traffic set up had to be synchronized for the final exhibit to work.

"I never had a train set as a child," said Gerald Desjardins, "We had no money for toys, so we had to make our own." And the team, led by Desjardins, did a great job of making this toy. Desjardins drafted the design, built the table, set the layout, made the track and connected the controls. An electrician by trade, Desjardins enjoyed working on the electrical controls and wiring most.

For his next project, Desjardins would like to do a model of Hollinger Pit. He has used Google Earth to cast the image and trace it. He spends about four hours a day in the woodworking shop in Science Timmins.

Claude Coderre worked on the model train enclosure. He did the cutting, sanding and rounding for the Plexiglas and the wood. He's worked on many projects in the woodworking shop including picture frames, carved horses, and canes.

Coderre has also built tables and bookcases for the toddler room at Science Timmins. "Access to tools, space and materials, at Science Timmins, allow me to continue woodworking," says Coderre. "It's a nice pastime. Keeps me busy."

Ron Manseau worked on the set up and clean-up of the model train. Ron enjoys making furniture, but requires more lumber for the larger projects like dressers and chests. He finds woodworking relaxing and likes to see the residents and tenants of St. Mary’s Gardens as they walk by the shop window. “Most of them tap on the window and wave to say hello,” says Manseau.

The project had assistance from Carmel Arsenault, a retired art teacher who painted the scenery, and Petri Trebilcock, Science Timmins Science Communicator, who installed and programmed the computer for the exhibit.

The partnership between Science Timmins and St. Mary’s Gardens is a great one. St. Mary’s Gardens benefits by having a spot where residents and tenants can continue woodworking and Science Timmins benefits by having help with exhibits and furniture builds.

“Visitors of all ages at Science Timmins love the train,” said Garwah. “A simple push of two buttons will activate the train.” Folks can check out the finished train set on their next visit to Science Timmins.