Streetcar No. 351 takes students on educational ride

Windsor, Ont.'s West Gate Public School played host Thursday to the first of three educational workshops aimed at teaching elementary and secondary students about the history and science behind Streetcar No. 351.

The event was organized in collaboration with Enwin, the City of Windsor and the Greater Essex County District School Board, with the intention of highlighting the heritage of the streetcar currently undergoing a $750,000 restoration.

Fouada Hamzeh, a teacher consultant for science with the region's public school board, said that students rotated through a number of different educational stations in West Gate's gymnasium.

In addition to science stations that provided lessons on energy in different forms — as well as the law of conservation of energy — a history station allowed students to learn more Streetcar No. 351's past.

Streetcar still under restoration

Streetcar No. 351 was originally built in Trenton, N.J. in 1919 and operated in Staten Island, N.Y. until Windsor purchased the vehicle in 1926.

Windsor city council set aside $750,000 to restore the streetcar, which is currently with RM Auto Restoration in Blenheim, Ont.

"They've almost completed the project," said Ray Mensour, executive director of recreation and culture with the City of Windsor. "We expect the streetcar to be fully completed probably in the next four to six weeks."

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According to Mensour, all that remain are the vehicle's windows and passenger benches. 

It's still not clear where in the city Streetcar No. 351 will stand on display once restoration is complete. 

Mensour said city staff are currently planning on displaying the vehicle alongside the as-of-yet unbuilt Celestial Beacon, near the University of Windsor.

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"We'll be returning to council to have them approve the Celestial Beacon project, which would include the installation of the streetcar," he said.

Mensour added that city staff are still working on the logistics of storing Streetcar No. 351 once it's transported back to the city. 

"We're currently looking at those options right now," he said.