Pierre Elliott Trudeau:
Train to take Trudeau on final journey
No stops scheduled between Ottawa and Montreal for rail car shrouded in black
By ANDRÉ PICARD
The Globe and Mail
Monday, October 2, 2000
MONTREAL -- Pierre Elliott Trudeau loved dramatic symbolism as much as he did playfulness, so he would no doubt appreciate the ironic backdrop to his final visit home.
Today, the icon of a united Canada will lie in state at Montreal City Hall, just metres from the spot where General Charles de Gaulle uttered that still reverberating phrase, Vive le Québec libre!
There, thousands upon thousands of Quebeckers are expected to file past the former prime minister's coffin, draped in a Canadian flag, to say a final au revoir.
At 7:55 this morning, 19 cannon shots will ring out, followed by the chiming of the Peace Tower carillon as Mr. Trudeau's remains leave Parliament Hill.
On this, the fifth day of a very public farewell for an intensely private man, the body will travel to Montreal on a special Via Rail train car, shrouded in black cloth. Mr. Trudeau's two surviving sons, Justin and Sacha, and 10 of his closest friends, will make the journey with him in a second car. His former spouse, Margaret, will not. But 53 members of the media will tag along in a third rail car.
The train will travel at normal speed and not make any stops, though citizens are expected to line the route, particularly in communities along the Quebec-Ontario border, such as Limoges and Alexandria.
At 11:15, the doors of Montreal's ornate city hall will be opened to the public, who are expected to begin lining up before dawn.
The viewing is scheduled to end at 11 p.m. but yesterday protocol officials acknowledged that it will probably not be enough time to accommodate the crowds.
"It will stay open as long as necessary," said Anne-Sophie Lawless, chief of media relations at the Department of Canadian Heritage.
Mr. Trudeau's funeral will be held at 11 a.m. tomorrow at Notre-Dame Basilica in Old Montreal. The towering stone church has room for 2,700 mourners but as requests from dignitaries around the world flood in, it is unclear how many members of the public will be allowed inside.
As of last night, more than 1,000 dignitaries were expected, including Prince Andrew, and representatives of virtually every country in the world. It has been rumoured that former U.S. presidents George Bush and Jimmy Carter will attend, as will Cuban President Fidel Castro.
All five living prime ministers will also be in attendance -- Jean Chrétien, Brian Mulroney, Kim Campbell, John Turner and Joe Clark -- as will former governors-general Roméo LeBlanc, Ramon Hnatyshyn and Edward Schreyer. Numerous members of Parliament and the Senate, current and former, will attend the funeral.
The ceremony had not been finalized as of last night, but some details were known. The Roman Catholic funeral mass will be presided over by Jean-Paul Cardinal Turcotte. The homily will be delivered by Abbé Jean-Guy Dubuc, a long-time friend of Mr. Trudeau's. It will open with a 26-voice choir. The well-known Canadian violinist Anne Robert will play, and Nadia Blanchette will sing Ave Maria.
After the funeral mass, there will be an honour guard, a 19-gun salute and a final lament played by a piper.
There will be a giant screen set up outside the church, and the ceremony will be broadcast live on television. Despite the presence of television cameras, the family has forbidden any still photography in the church.
Yesterday, Montreal city crews were welding shut manholes in the vicinity of the basilica. That is standard procedure for locations where international dignitaries will be present, a way of minimizing bomb threats.
The RCMP said yesterday that bomb-sniffing dogs will also scour the church before the service.
In another coincidence, Mr. Trudeau's funeral will take place remarkably close to the 30th anniversary of the October Crisis. In response to the kidnapping of a Quebec cabinet minister and British diplomat by extremist members of the Front de Libération du Québec, the prime minister declared the War Measures Act and hundreds of Quebeckers were rounded up and held without charge. It is a historic event for which he is still reviled in his home province.
Mr. Trudeau's interment will be private. The family refuses even to say where the prime minister will be buried, though it is likely not to be far from Mount Royal. Mr. Trudeau lived virtually his whole life within view of the majestic downtown park.
Yesterday, a steady trickle of people continued to lay flowers on the lawn of Mr. Trudeau's home, an informal procession that began minutes after his death was announced Thursday evening.
The family, however, has requested that in lieu of flowers, Canadians who wish to remember Mr. Trudeau do so by donating to the Parkinson Foundation of Canada or the Canadian Cancer Society.
Mr. Trudeau died of prostate cancer, but was also suffering from Parkinson's, a debilitating neurological disease.
The coffin of Pierre Trudeau, lying since Saturday in the Hall of Honour in the Centre Block of the Parliament Buildings, will go by train this morning to Montreal for viewing at City Hall in the afternoon and evening. The funeral is tomorrow at Notre-Dame Basilica.
7:45 a.m. -- Private visitation by federal cabinet ministers
7:58 a.m. -- Vigil guard is withdrawn
8:05 a.m. -- Guard of honour salutes as coffin is put in hearse; 19-gun salute is fired; Peace Tower carillon plays as hearse leaves Parliament Hill for Ottawa Via Rail station
8:25 a.m. -- Funeral train leaves for Montreal via Hawthorne, Carlsbad Springs, Caselman, Maxville, Alexandria, Glen Robertson, De Beaujeu, Coteau and Dorval
11:05 a.m. -- Hearse leaves Montreal's Central Station for City Hall
11:10 a.m. -- Hearse arrives at City Hall; public viewing begins
11 p.m. -- Viewing is scheduled to end (doors will remain open later if necessary)
10:50 a.m. -- Prime Minister arrives at Basilica
10:55 a.m. -- Governor-General arrives
11 a.m. -- Funeral procession arrives; coffin is carried into Basilica by RCMP pallbearers; service begins
Noon -- Coffin is carried out; general salute is played; guard of honour presents arms; 19-gun salute is fired; coffin is put in hearse; lament is played by piper; hearse leaves for private burial rites at cemetery
Here is a partial list of places where condolence books will be available: Vancouver: B.C. Hydro head office
Calgary: McDougall Centre
Edmonton: Alberta Legislature
Winnipeg: City Hall
Mississauga: Civic Centre
Toronto: City Hall and Ontario legislature
Markham, Ont.: Civic Centre
Pickering, Ont.: Civic Complex
St. Catharines, Ont.: City Hall
St. John's: House of Assembly
The government has set up a Web site for people who wish to post thoughts and condolences. These will be printed and sent to the Trudeau family. The address is http://www.trudeau.gc.ca.