Canadian Pacific Railway Essay, Research Paper
Canadian Pacific Railway Sir John A. Macdonald had a vision, it was to join the eastern and the western ofCanada with a steel ribbon to make a railway. British Columbia said that theywould join Canada if Macdonald didn t fall back on his promise. Before therailway to get from east to west you would have to travel by boat, horse and cart,by foot or you could take a train that went most of the way through the UnitedStates. Macdonald s promise was that the railway would be built within ten yearswhich is unheard of. Macdonald promised this because if British Columbia didn tget a way of getting east faster they would probably join the United States. John A. Macdonald dreamed of covering the parries with settlers but heneeded to have a railway. The railway would allow farmers to bring their goods toeastern market. This would not be possible without the railway so it needed to bebuilt. Subsequent to the election of 1872, Macdonald and the Conservatives nowconcentrated on the railway being built. They would have their work cut out forthem. They needed to hire Surveyors to find the best route through the swamps,forests, plains, and mountains. They would need to hire expert engineers to buildtunnels and bridges. And they would also need thousands of workers to set downthe track. A bunch of people under Hugh Allan formed the Canadian Pacific RailwayCompany to build the railway. Allan was heard to be the richest man in Canada.But soon after there was trouble for Sir John A. Macdonald. Papers stolen from Hugh Allen by a former employee. People said thatthese papers proved that Hugh Allen and his group gave large amounts of moneyto Macdonald s government. So it looked like Hugh Allen was buying the rightfor his company to build the railway. The Conservatives admitted that Hugh Allengave them large amounts of money but that was just a gift but the Liberals said itwas a bribe most Canadians agreed with the Liberals and this event was known asthe Pacific Scandal which made the Conservatives resign. John A. Macdonald sdream looked far and appeared that it would never be built. During the Mackenzieyears great economic depression set in and lots of shops went out of business andpeople were unhappy. In the next election of 1878 John A. Macdonald introduced a NationalPolicy to solve the country s problems. It mainly stated that Canadians buy formCanada instead of from the United States. Fill the parries with settlers. Let thembuy manufactured goods made in eastern Canada. Let them Sell their agriculturalproducts to eastern Canadians. The Conservatives won the election and thebuilding started again. William Van Horne was hired to supervise the railway constructionprocess, he was very brilliant and helped with building the CRP considerably. The
building of the track was very organized, stations sprang up all along the route. Atleast 1500 km of steel was laid on the prairies in fifteen months. The path of the railroad crossed through Blackfoot land which made themangry . Father Lacombe talked with the Blackfoot and the Blackfoot agreed thatthey could use their land and Van Horne was so pleased that he gave Crowfoot alifetime pass for use of all the Canadian Pacific Railway. Crowfoot was pleasedwith this gift and wore it around his neck on a chain for the rest of his life. People needed land, they needed land near railway stations but they didn tknow where they were going to be so people started buying land like crazy wherethey thought a station would be, this was known as the Manitoba land boom. There where building problems when they reached the northern Ontario. Itwas easy to lay track on the parries where it is flat but long the mountains is atotally different story. It cost 7.5 million dollars worth of dynamite to clear awayall the granite in Ontario. They also used nitroglycerin as explosives which is verydangerous, it explodes with the slightest movement. It could not be carried bywagons so people had to put it in bottles then carry it on their backs, many peoplelots their lives from this dangerous task. Building in British Columbia was the most difficult and the mostdangerous. Many bridges where built and some looked so fragile that someengineers refused to cross them. There where spots so narrow that what theworkers walked across they walked in single line hanging on to the tails of theirpack horses. Chinese workers where coming to help build the railway. The Chinese hadseparate camps where they where fed less got less pay and where treated verypoorly. Some of the other workers didn t like the Chinese because of what theylooked like and of their clothing. The Chinese got most of the dangerous jobs andit was very unfair. The CPRC was low on money and didn t have enough to finish the project.Workers refused to work until they got paid. They started to rebel so the RCMPhad to be called in. George Stephen and Donald Smith gathered up all theremoney and sold some of their possessions and gathered up 1 million dollars whichwould last for about three weeks. John A. Macdonald convinced the governmentfor one last final loan. The government gave them a loan which was just enoughto finish. The last spike was driven in at 9:22 a.m. on November 1885 by DonaldSmith. The ceremony took place at Eagle Pass at Craigellachie, British Columbia.When Donald Smith, who spent almost his every penny on the railway, lifted thehammer to drive it to the ground. The first time he hit the spike, he bent it.Another was put in its place. He drove that spike down with gentle taps, thenevery one cheered.