The Building of the Canadian Pacific Railway Final Part

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  • Oh no! With only 230 km built, we'll never finish the railway in 10 years.
  • Yeah! We need a new general manager to help us.
  • I know! Let's choose William Van Horne.
  • Hi! I'm William Van Horne.
  • With William Van Horne as our general manager, we've built 1600 km.
  • Yeah and at this rate, we'll finish the railway within 10 years as planned.
  • The CPR Syndicate changed the route of the railway, which ran through fertile land between Saskatoon and Edmonton, and moved it 300 km south. Construction began in 1881 and did not get off to a great start because at the end of the year, only 230 km was built and it would not be finished within 10 years. A new general manager was needed, and they chose William Van Horne.
  • We're almost out of money so I don't think we can finish the railway.
  • William Van Horne was extremely important when it came to completing the CPR. When he was younger, he learned all about railway work and there was no job he could not do. The CPR Syndicate hired him because he could help a railway company become successful. He was given almost complete control and worked as president, vice president, and chairman of the board.
  • I don't care if you're tired or that it's raining! Get to work or you're fired!
  • Van Horne brought a lot of energy and efficiency when it came to building the CPR and was able to have 1600 km built from 1882 to 1883. Because of this, the CPR could be completed within the promised 10 years.
  • But the problem was that the government only paid the CPR when each section of the line was completed and by the end of 1883, they were running out of money. George Stephen and Donald Smith put in their entire personal fortunes, the government passed a bill providing $22.5 million, and Van Horne cut expenses but it wasn't enough and by 1884, they were almost out of money.
  • Thousands of workers were needed to build the CPR. Between 1882 and 1885, more than 35,000 workers were employed, most of which came from China. Living and working conditions were awful: dynamite blasts blew dust in the air, workers lived in crowded, filthy bunkhouses, their food was not good, there was little medical care, and the weather was terrible.
  • 1885 - The Northwest Uprising begins and the Canadian government must get troops to the Northwest quickly and the fastest way was by rail. Because of the CPR, the government could react to an emergency fast and the CPR could ask the Canadian government for money. On November 7, the CPR was completed, five years ahead of schedule.
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