By Steve Kovacs (Introduction by Chuck Gibson)

LOVELAND, OH (June 3, 2024) – In this edition of Fun with Maps we celebrate the birth of cross-Canada rail transport.

CP Rail

On June 3, 1889, a Canadian Pacific Railway train ended its journey in St. John, New Brunswick, marking the new ability to travel coast-to-coast by rail in Canada. Primarily a freight carrier, CP Rail became Canada’s first transcontinental railroad.

Like in the United States, the railway opened transportation possibilities for both goods and people and was essential to settlement in the western part of the country. Spurs also stretched into the United States to connect with railroads in Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, and Albany.

Besides trains, The Canadian Pacific Railway operated steamboats on the Great Lakes and hotels in some of the more remote and scenic areas; like national parks.  The railroad also ran a telegraph service.

Of course, royal trains had to be provided when King George and Queen Elizabeth made a coast-to-coast visit in 1939.

Today grain and coal account for about half of the freight carried on the rails and passenger service is limited to smaller areas.

Fittingly, here is a map of British America, later known as Canada, by the British cartographer Tallis from 1850.

British America map – 1850 (Now Canada) (Credit Stever Kovacs)

Steve Kovacs and his wife Theresa reside in Loveland, Ohio where they raised their two children. He is a passionate collector of antique maps.

Visit his antique map boutique world-on-paper online. Watch for his daily feature Steve Kovacs: Fun with Maps here on Loveland Beacon.