Kayak (Canada) - - CONTENTS -

Canada’s coast-to-coast rail­way sys­tem is an amaz­ing achieve­ment. The peo­ple who built it had to fig­ure out how to cross moun­tains, swamps and river val­leys. The Cana­dian Pa­cific Rail­way (CPR) was re­spon­si­ble for Bri­tish Columbia be­com­ing part of Canada, and our coun­try would be com­pletely dif­fer­ent with­out it.

But the build­ing of the CPR and other rail­ways also brought tragedy for First Na­tions peo­ple, es­pe­cially in the West. Their lives would never be the same af­ter rail­ways were built on their lands.

The rail­ways meant dan­ger and racism for some, and op­por­tu­nity for oth­ers. Thou­sands of Chi­nese work­ers were brought over to help build the CPR, es­pe­cially in B.C., but they were treated badly and many did not sur­vive. Later, many Black men were able to find work on the trains as rail­way porters when no­body else would hire them.

When you’re done read­ing about trains and rail­ways in this is­sue, be sure to get out and ex­plore some of them for your­self! Best of all, take a ride on the rails, whether that’s the Metro, the SkyTrain, VIA Rail or a spe­cial tourist train. All aboard! nancy

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