home News Comment Health Contact
April 3, 2008
Marg Richer wrote:
My mom and I were looking through some old scrap books and came across this article. It is from
May 1 1967. Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia passed through Capreol on the CNR supercontinental on his way from Vancouver to Ottawa. He stopped long enough to greet Mayor Prescott, as well as to present to my sister Theresa (Sawyer) Brisson and Mark Slaughter a gold coin with his picture on it. My sister still has the coin. It was quite a day for people of Capreol.
Thanks Marg. Gary

An Unscheduled Reception for Emperor
Proved Long Wait in Rain in Capreol

Monday, May 1, 1967

CAPREOL — The two waitresses in Capreol's all - night cafe looked out the window, shuddered and scooped up the coffee cups.

It was a cold and wet Sunday morning, but the small, dimly-lit cafe across from the Canadian National Railway station was filled with customers.

Not all of them — town councillors, housewives, office clerks, teenagers, sleepy children, CNR workmen in their oil stained blue coveralls and peaked caps — knew exactly why they were sitting there.

They knew only that a great man was coming.

What his greatness was, they recalled something from newspaper reports.

But Mayor Harold Prescott, in two busy days, inspired enough of them to crawl out of bed at
7.30 a.m. to go to the station to see the great man.


At the same time, a hundred or so miles to the west Emperor Haile Selassie, of 'Ethiopia, was asleep in a private coach at the end of the CNR supercontinental from Vancouver.

The last stop had been Armstrong, about 500 miles north-west of Capreol, and the 74-year-old African monarch slept soundly.

The rest of the imperial party and security men were in two other private coaches, unaware of the 250 Capreol people getting out of bed to catch a glimpse of the emperor.

Outside the cafe, Mayor Prescott told a group of cronies the train wouldn't be in until 9.15 a.m.

More than an hour late. They decided on another coffee. Prescott said it took 14 long-distance calls to Ottawa to get sanction for the unscheduled brief ceremony for the emperor.

"And they said it couldn't be done," the mayor snorted. "This is really something. Look, no other place along the way has a reception like this."

But it was not until the train pulled into the station that it became definite the emperor was onboard

Meanwhile, the crowd waited! 'in tight little knots in the drizzle. Twenty majorettes and 40 band members from the town's Legion drum corps stood ready to break into their well-rehearsed routine.

"Pathetic." said one woman., "Really pathetic, standing here only to look at him. Curious. I !guess that's just all we are, curious."

The train split at Capreol, one half going to Toronto, the other with the emperor and his party heading for an official ceremony in Ottawa later in the day.

Then he came out; the emperor, "King of Kings, King of Zion, Invincible Lion of t h e Seed of Judah and Implement of the Holy Trinity."

The band started up with "Find the Way" and switched into "Sound of Fidelia." Mayor Prescott welcomed the Emperor and asked him to take Capreol's greetings back to his country.

Then the emperor did the unexpected. He invited Theresa Sawyer, the 18 - year - old majorette leader, and Mark Slaughter, the drum major, to the platform, and gave them, each a gold coin bearing his portrait.

The crowd cheered as the 16 - car supercontinental pulled slowly out of the station.

"Well, there's a good story, said Prescott. as he crosses rain drenched railway form.