The Diefenbaker Dining Car is now open for the season.
Private Events – Whether you are looking for a special place for a birthday dinner, a unique place for a group gathering, or a romantic evening away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Aspen Crossing’s restaurant is the perfect place for your special event.
The dining car is not wheelchair accessible , we’re sorry for any inconvenience.
The story begins in 1887, when this car was manufactured as a business car at the Pullman Palace Car Company in Chicago, Illinois. Arriving in Alberta in 1913, the car was rumoured to have mob ties and been used for club meetings by infamous gangsters. However, it holds particular distinction in Canadian history for its use as the 13th Prime Minister’s rail car from the late fifties to the mid-sixties. Inspired by President Eisenhower’s success in the United States, John ‘Dief the Chief’ Diefenbaker campaigned for the role of Prime Minister by making ‘whistle-stops’ across the country, and won by a landslide in 1958 while using this Pullman car as his private quarters. This win was historical in itself – the Tories garnered what is still the largest majority in Canadian federal political history! Even after the election, the Pullman remained in use as Diefenbaker’s business car.
Years later, in 1981, the car was delivered to Edmonton’s Sidetrack Cafe and hosted acts like Sarah McLachlan, k.d. lang, and The Barenaked Ladies during a 26-year run. The Pullman completed the venue’s cool Canadian vibe and remained there until the close of the cafe.
In 2006, Aspen purchased the car and brought it to Mossleigh. Here, after a history involving three centuries and intertwining mobsters, politicians, and rock stars, the Diefenbaker Dining car remains a fixture, beloved by all the staff and visitors that come through.
With a Western farm background, John “Dief the Chief” Diefenbaker was well known for being a supporter of the prairies, as he initiated international wheat sales and enacted reforms that revitalized Canadian agriculture. Try our aptly-named Diefen-burger, made with locally grown and sourced prairie ingredients, while sitting in the exact place Diefenbaker worked to win his election!
Enjoy a taste of history at Aspen Crossing!