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Roads and Highways

Canada's first highways were the rivers and lakes used by Indigenous peoples, travelling by canoe in summer and following the frozen waterways in winter. (See also Birchbark Canoe; Dugout Canoe.) The water network was so practical that explorers, settlers and soldiers followed the example of the Indigenous peoples. (See also Coureurs des bois; Voyageurs.) To a greater extent than most other countries, Canada depends for its social, economic and political life on efficient communication and transportation. (See also Economy; Politics.)

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Rogers Pass

During the summer of 1885 the railway was constructed over the pass at great expense. Over 6.4 km of snowsheds (31) were built to protect trains, trackage and workmen from AVALANCHES (the area receives up to 15 m of snow each winter).

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Lachine Canal

​The Lachine Canal passes through the southwestern part of the island of Montréal, from the Old Port to the borough of Lachine, where it flows into Lake Saint-Louis.

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Streetcars

Streetcars began operation in Canada during the era of horse-powered local transportation, expanded rapidly with electrification, shrank with a public policy switch in favour of rubber-tired vehicles, and recently re-emerged as light rail transit.

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Dempster Highway

The Dempster Highway runs from near Dawson, YT, 730 km across the northern Yukon through the Richardson Mountains to Fort McPherson and Inuvik, in the Mackenzie Delta of the Northwest Territories. Begun in 1959, it was the

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Trans Canada Trail

The Trans Canada Trail is over 27,000 km of land and waterways connecting every Canadian province and territory. Construction began in 1992 as part of Canada's 125th birthday celebrations. It was completed 25 years later, in 2017, when Canada turned 150. In 2016, the trail’s name changed to “The Great Trail.” However, in June 2021, the name reverted back to the original.

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Montreal Metro

The Montreal metro opened on 14 October 1966. The second Canadian subway system after Toronto’s, which opened in 1954, the Montreal metro was the first subway in North America to run on rubber tires instead of metal wheels. Extensions to the Montreal metro were built on Montreal Island over the two decades after it opened, and then to the city of Laval, on the island of Île Jésus, during the 2000s. The system runs entirely underground, and each station has a distinct architecture and design. The Montreal metro consists of four lines running a total of 71 km and serving 68 stations. In 2018, its passengers made more than 383 million trips.

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Canadian Pacific Railway

The Canadian Pacific Railway company (CPR) was incorporated in 1881. Its original purpose was the construction of a transcontinental railway, a promise to British Columbia upon its entry into Confederation (see Railway History). The railway — completed in 1885 — connected Eastern Canada to British Columbia 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 communication and transportation across the country. Over its long history, the Canadian Pacific Railway diversified its operations. The company established hotels, shipping lines and airlines, and developed mining and telecommunications industries (see Shipping Industry; Air Transport Industry). 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 it trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol CP. In 2020, CP reported $7.71 billion in total revenues.

This is the full-length entry about the Canadian Pacific Railway. For a plain-language summary, please see The Canadian Pacific Railway (Plain-Language Summary).