Website of ‘the world’s hidden wonders’ shines spotlight on Brampton sculpture


Published May 26, 2023 at 11:54 am

GhostTrain by artist Ron Baird pays tribute to the role railways had in shaping Brampton.

An artist’s tribute to Brampton’s shared history with the railroad has found its way onto a popular travel website for adventurers looking to take the road less travelled.

Atlas Obscura, which prides itself as “the definitive guide to the world’s hidden wonders,” is a travel website with the claim to fame of featuring the most unusual, strange, secret, and amazing places on the planet.

Users can submit their secret spots to Atlas Obscura’s interactive map, but only locations that meet the website’s criteria of the weird and wonderful make the list like the Dotsero Crater (Colorado’s only active volcano), Mexico’s Las Playitas oasis, and the remains of a Victorian-era village and cemetery in Mississauga.

But one new addition to the roster of hidden gems may be familiar to Bramptonians, as the Ghost Train sculpture at Mount Pleasant Village – the Ghost Train.

An instalation by artist Ron Baird titles “Three screens (time, tracks, trestle bridge)” at 101 Commuter Drive in Brampton.

Crafted by artist Ron Baird in 2011, Ghost Train represents the actual size and type of steam engine that travelled the rails of the Grand Trunk Railroad in Brampton in the 1800s. The piece is one of four by Baird that honours the economic boom brought by the railroad that helped transform Brampton into what it is today.

Ghost Train reveals silhouettes and images as the viewer moves around the piece, making for an interactive and transformative viewing experience of the work.

“Brampton was simply four corners, there was nothing happening here and there was a huge economic explosion once that train track arrived…and in fact, it was really the trains that made Brampton,” Baird said in a video about his piece.

A renowned artist with over 300 projects under his belt, Baird’s sculptures have had a wide range of subjects and dedications, including emergency workers, Canadian peace-keeping efforts, Indigenous history, and much more.

His style has been credited as developing “a new aesthetic form in Canada, sculpture in the context of architecture” by art historian, critic and Royal Society of Canada inductee Joan Murray.

Ghost Train was submitted by user Lisa66 and is currently the only Brampton location on the website’s map.

You can check out the posting about Ghost Train on Atlas Obscura or head down to Mount Pleasant Village to see the piece and Baird’s other sculptures for yourself.

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