Make your own free website on


Charles Tupper
Sam Steele
James Douglas
Robert Baldwin
Hugh Allan
Gold Rush
Sir John A. Macdonald
1st Railway

Canadian Pacific Railway

Canada's First Railway


         It starts back in 1871 when British Columbia becomes part of Canada. Sir John A. Macdonald, the Prime Minister promised that a railway will be built between British Columbia (B.C.) and Ontario within the next ten years. Macdonald campaigned it, he believed it was critical to Canada's future and without it Canada would lose its western territories to the United Stated (U.S.). The western territories where expanding rapidly, they where important to political things like costs, route, schedule, and so forth.


         During the 1872 elections Macdonald ran out of money for the railway. He borrows money from Hugh Allan promising him the contract to build the railway in return. After Macdonald wins the election he gives Allan the contract. In 1873 when Macdonald's opponents uncovers this deal, they force Macdonald to resin, and lost Allan the contract. This whole incident is named the Pacific Scandal, mainly because it involved the Pacific Railway.


         The new Prime Minister, Alex Mackenzie thought that Canada couldn't afford the railway and it wasn't that important to Canada, so he moves slowly and safely with the railway project. The railway didn't start and making very slow progress in 1875 at Fort William in Ontario. In 1878 when Macdonald regains power he started the railway where he left off and made a great amount of more progress.


         In 1881 a group of financiers in Montreal start the Canadian Pacific Railway Company (CPR). The CPR was given land, money, and power to finish the railway within the next 20 years. The CPR give the job to design and pretty much complete the railway to Cornelius Van Horne, a brilliant organizer. Van Horne built about 180km over the next six years; Van Horn built fast because he was building over the prairies. In the Canadian Shield, north of Lake Superior, progress was slow because they had to blast their way through hard rock. In B.C. the builders had to blast small ledges, tunnels, and flimsy bridges through the Rocky Mountains. This part of the construction was hard and dangerous, so Canada had the Chinese help. The Chinese where paid low and many died and where forced to live in camps together. Canada owes thanks to the Chinese because without them the railway would have never been finished on time.

          In 1885 the CPR was running out of funds, workers went weeks without pay, the protested by striking. Macdonald wanted to help but he didn't have enough support. In the North West Rebellion Van Horne sized his chance to show how important the railway is to Canada, he used the completed part of the railway to send soldiers to the western part of Canada to help end rebellion. Rebellion ends and Macdonald was able to raise the money needed for the railway.


          On November 7th, 1885 the line moving east met the line moving west at the small siding of Craigellachie. At this place everyone who was involved in helping make the railway gathered and John Macdonald drove the Last Spike. On June 28th, 1886 the Pacific Express left Montreal and arrived in Port Moody, B.C. on July 4th.This was the first passenger train to travel across Canada.












You are now on the second to last page of the site because I cannot arrange the buttons in the left had collum. You are probly realy bored and need something compleatly random to keep you slightly entertained. So here's something compleatly random.


<("<)  ^( " )^   (>")>


528 words on this page