The miniature steam train ride in Winnipeg's Assiniboine Park is celebrating its 50th birthday.

Miniature steam train

The miniature steam train takes riders through a loop around the southwest corner of Assiniboine Park. (Assiniboine Park Conservancy)

To help celebrate the 50th anniversary, the family who first built the train is offering free drinks, hot dogs and cake to the first 500 passengers today.

Rides will go from noon until 6 p.m., weather permitting.

The train, which is powered by a mini-oven fed by chunks of coal, does a loop around the southwest corner of the park, next to the zoo. Often, deer stand just off the tracks, tucked into the trees and watch the train pass by.

Owned and operated by Tim Buzunis, the train was originally purchased in Pennsylvania by Buzunis' father and moved to Winnipeg, where it was set up in the park in 1964.

"Fifty years is amazing. I mean, I was four years old when my dad first bought the train, of course it's grown on me," said Buzunis, who took over operation in 1988.

"The train is like a sibling to our family. It's always been owned by our family."

A couple of years ago, the future of the train was up in the air after the zoo permanently closed its east entrance — a high-traffic area close to the train.

The Assiniboine Park Conservancy has since stepped up to increase signs and advertising to direct park visitors to the train.

Mini steam train

  • Located: West of the main pavilion (west on Pavilion Crescent), across from Nature Playground parking lot.
  • Open: Daily (weather permitting) from noon to 6 p.m. from May long weekend to September long weekend. After September long weekend, train operates on weekends and holiday Mondays to mid/late October (weather permitting).
  • Tickets: $2.75 each