Canadian Pacific Railway



Canadian pacific railway

The Canadian Pacific Railway company was incorporated in 1881. Its original purpose was the construction of a transcontinental railway, a promise to British Columbia upon its entry into Confederation. The railway — completed in 1885 — connected Eastern Canada to BC and played an important role in the development of the nation. Built in dangerous conditions by thousands of labourers (including 15,000 Chinese temporary workers), the railway facilitated communications and transportation across the country. Over its long history, CPR diversified, establishing hotels, shipping lines and airlines, and developed mining and telecommunications industries. In 2001, Canadian Pacific separated into five separate and independent companies, with Canadian Pacific Railway returning to its origins as a railway company. CP, as it is branded today, has over 22,500 km of track across Canada and the United States. It is a public company and trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CP. In 2016, CP had $6.2 billion in revenue and $1.6 billion in profit and held assets valued at $19.2 billion.

In 1870, the newly created nation of Canada acquired Rupert’s Land from the Hudson’s Bay Company, an enormous tract of land stretching north and west; one year later, British Columbia entered Confederation based in part on the promise that a transcontinental railway would connect it to the rest of Canada within 10 years (see Railway History). In order to construct the railway and encourage future settlement, the government considered it necessary to extinguish Aboriginal title to the land (see Indigenous Territory). Bound by the terms of the Royal Proclamation, Canada was responsible for the protection of its Indigenous people and promised to preserve their rights to unceded traditional territories.

In exchange for their traditional territory, government negotiators made various promises to Indigenous peoples — both orally and in the written texts of the treaties — including special rights to treaty lands and the distribution of cash payments, hunting and fishing tools, farming supplies, and the like. These terms of agreement are controversial and contested. To this day, the Numbered Treaties have ongoing legal and socioeconomic impacts on Indigenous communities.

Competition for the lucrative contract for the railway was bitter, and in 1872, shipping magnate and railway promoter Sir Hugh Allan was awarded the charter. However, Allan had also contributed around $350,000 to the Conservative party’s election campaign — when this became public knowledge in 1873, Sir John A. Macdonald’s government was forced to resign.

Under the management of W.C. Van Horne, construction was rapidly pressed across the plains. Sandford Fleming had recommended a route through the Yellowhead Pass but a more southerly route through Kicking Horse Pass was decided upon late in 1881. Construction through the rock and muskeg of the Canadian Shield almost equalled in difficulty the engineering feats of construction through the mountains of British Columbia.

The difficulty in obtaining an adequate work force in British Columbia led to the controversial importation of thousands of Chinese workers. Around 15,000 Chinese labourers helped to build the Canadian Pacific Railway — working in harsh conditions for little pay, they suffered greatly and historians estimate that at least 600 died. Their employment caused controversy, particularly in British Columbia, where politicians worried about the potential economic and cultural impact of this influx of Chinese workers.

Between 1899 and 1913, the CPR increased its trackage from approximately 11,200 km to 17,600 km. More than half of the new track was in the Prairie provinces, and it was intended both to provide branch lines into areas of need and to ensure that the CPR would remain competitive in relation to the developing transcontinental lines of the Canadian Northern Railway and the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway.

The widespread expansion of the company, much of it under the presidency of T.G. Shaughnessy (1899-1918), placed a heavy drain on company resources, but continuance of the National Policy, with its substantial tariffs, meant continuing high freight rates in the West.

Attacks on these rates in 1896 helped to bring about the defeat of the Conservatives. The Liberals reduced rates with the Crow’s Nest Pass Agreement in 1897 and, under the Manitoba Grain Act of 1900, required railways to provide loading platforms for farmers. In addition, charters were granted to the Canadian Northern Railway to develop the huge area of northern prairie left vacant by the CPR.

Canadian National Railway (CNR), formed by the government of Canada between 1917 and 1923, was a major challenge. The CNR consolidated the failing Grand Trunk Pacific, Canadian Northern, Intercolonial and Canadian Government Railways, and competed with the CPR in hotels, telegraphs, steamships and express services as well as railway services.

Despite this massive, government-supported competition, CPR survived as a commercial enterprise. During the Second World War it provided not only transportation, but also the production of armaments and materiel in its own shops. During the conflict, much of its merchant fleet was commandeered for military transport purposes, resulting in the loss of 12 vessels.

Cape of of Good Hope water way

Cape of Good Hope, rocky promontory at the southern end of Cape Peninsula, Western Cape province, South Africa. It was first sighted by the Portuguese navigator Bartolomeu Dias in 1488 on his return voyage to Portugal after ascertaining the southern limits of the African continent. One historical account says that Dias named it Cape of Storms and that John II of Portugal renamed it Cape of Good Hope (because its discovery was a good omen that India could be reached by sea from Europe); other sources attribute its present name to Dias himself.

Known for the stormy weather and rough seas encountered there, the cape is situated at the convergence of the warm Mozambique-Agulhas current from the Indian Ocean and the cool Benguela current from Antarctic waters. Grass and low shrub vegetation is characteristic of the promontory, which is part of the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve (established 1939) that encompasses the southern tip of the peninsula. There is a lighthouse on Cape Point about 1.2 miles (2 km) east of the Cape of Good Hope.

 


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