At a remote spot called Craigellachie in the mountains of British Columbia, the last spike is driven into Canada’s first transcontinental railway.
In 1880, the Canadian government contracted the Canadian Pacific Railroad to construct the first all-Canadian line to the West Coast. During the next five years, the company laid 4,600 kilometers of single track, uniting various smaller lines across Canada. Despite the logistical difficulties posed by areas such as the muskeg (bogs) region of northwestern Ontario and the high rugged mountains of British Columbia, the railway was completed six years ahead of schedule.
The transcontinental railway was instrumental in populating the vast western lands of Canada, providing supplies and commerce to new settlers. Many of western Canada’s great cities and towns grew up around Canadian Pacific Railway stations.