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Canadian National Land Settlement Association

On 6 June 1919, the Canadian National Railway Company (CN) was created by the federal government to consolidate private and government railway systems into one public organization (see Railway History in Canada). The mandate of CN was to provide rail service throughout Canada. The company also had many other functions, such as promoting immigration and land settlement. CN established the Colonization and Agriculture Department (1919–63) and its subsidiary organization, the Canadian National Land Settlement Association (1925–61) to stimulate immigration, labour and land settlement in Canada. Both organizations contributed to the movement of people and the establishment of new farms in Western Canada (see also History of Settlement in the Canadian Prairies).

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TurboTrain

The United Aircraft Corporation’s TurboTrain (known in Canada as the CN Turbo or VIA Rail TurboTrain) was an early high-speed passenger train that operated in Canada, from 1968 to 1982. The TurboTrain was powered by a gas turbine engine and could attain a maximum speed of over 270 km/h, though it normally never exceeded 150 km/h. The TurboTrain operated on the MontrealToronto route, and under optimal conditions was supposed to complete the trip in less than four hours, though it often took about four and a half hours. Meant to revolutionize train travel in Canada, the TurboTrain suffered from technical problems in its first years of service and declining interest from travellers.

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Lac-Mégantic (town)

Lac-Mégantic, Quebec was incorporated as a town in 1907, population 5,747 (2021 census), 5,654 (2016 census). Located in Estrie in the Regional County Municipality of Le Granit, the town of Lac-Mégantic is situated approximately 95 km east of Sherbrooke on the northeast shore of Lac Mégantic (see Eastern Townships). The town is Le Granit’s centre of industry (lumber and granite), administration and commerce. On 6 July 2013, a devastating train derailment occurred in Lac-Mégantic (see Lac-Mégantic Rail DisasterRailway Disasters).

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Railway History in Canada

The development of steam-powered railways in the 19th century revolutionized transportation in Canada and was integral to the very act of nation building. Railways played an integral role in the process of industrialization, opening up new markets and tying regions together, while at the same time creating a demand for resources and technology. The construction of transcontinental railways such as the Canadian Pacific Railway opened up settlement in the West, and played an important role in the expansion of Confederation. However, railways had a divisive effect as well, as the public alternately praised and criticized the involvement of governments in railway construction and the extent of government subsidies to railway companies.

This is the full-length entry about Railway History in Canada. For a plain-language summary, please see Railway History in Canada (Plain-Language Summary).

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Listowel

Listowel, ON, incorporated in 1867 as a village and in 1875 as a town, population 7,530 (2016 census), 6,828 (2011 census). Listowel is now part of the town of North Perth (incorporated in 1998). It is located 66 km northwest of Kitchener - Waterloo.

timeline event

CPR Crew Dies in BC Train Derailment

Conductor Dylan Paradis, engineer Andrew Dockrell and trainee Daniel Waldenberger-Bulmer were killed when their 112-car freight train derailed at around 1:00 a.m. east of Field, BC, falling about 60 m into the Kicking Horse River. The train was reportedly travelling at more than twice the speed limit. It’s believed that cold weather or a mechanical failure may have been a factor. The accident followed a 16-car derailment in the same area on 3 January 2019 (see also: Railway Disasters; Railway Safety).

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Belleville

Belleville, Ontario, incorporated as a city in 1877, population 55,071 (2021 census), 50,716 (2016 census). The city of Belleville, the seat of Hastings County, is located on the Bay of Quinte, an arm of Lake Ontario about 180 km east of Toronto at the mouth of the Moira River.

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Sleeping Car Porters in Canada

Sleeping car porters were railway employees who attended to passengers aboard sleeping cars. Porters were responsible for passengers’ needs throughout a train trip, including carrying luggage, setting up beds, pressing clothes and shining shoes, and serving food and beverages, among other services. The vast majority of sleeping car porters were Black men and the position was one of only a few job opportunities available to Black men in Canada. While the position carried respect and prestige for Black men in their communities, the work demanded long hours for little pay. Porters could be fired suddenly and were often subjected to racist treatment. Black Canadian porters formed the first Black railway union in North America (1917) and became members of the larger Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in 1939. Both unions combatted racism and the many challenges that porters experienced on the job.

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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).

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Hunter Harrison

Ewing Hunter Harrison III, president and CEO of Canadian National Railway Company 2003–09, CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway Limited 2012–17 (born 7 November 1944 in Memphis, Tennessee; died 16 December 2017 in Wellington, Florida). Best known as the leading proponent of Precision Scheduled Railroading, Hunter Harrison ran four publicly traded, Class 1 railroads during his more than half century in the industry. His leadership of Canada’s two largest railway companies greatly improved the efficiency and profitability of both businesses.

Click here for definitions of key terms used in this article.

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Maxville

Maxville, ON, former municipality, population 816 (2016 census), 811 (2011 census). Maxville is located southeast of Ottawa. It began around 1869 and expanded rapidly when the Canada Atlantic Railway established a station there in 1881. Maxville was incorporated as a village in 1891, but is now part of the township of North Glengarry (1998).

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Time Zones in Canada

There are six time zones in Canada covering four and a half hours. From west to east these time zones are: Pacific, Mountain, Central, Eastern, Atlantic and Newfoundland. From the first Sunday in November to the second Sunday in March these zones are referred to as standard time zones, and may be abbreviated as PST, MST, CST, etc. From the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November most of Canada follows daylight saving time. During this summer period the time zones may be abbreviated as PDT, MDT, CDT, etc. The boundaries of the standard time zones are not necessarily the same as those of the corresponding daylight saving time zones. For example, the Mountain time zone includes a portion of northeastern British Columbia in the summer, but not during the winter (see maps below). Boundaries shift because some municipalities choose not to participate in daylight saving time. Similarly, Saskatchewan follows CST year-round and, as of 2020, Yukon follows PDT, also known as Yukon Standard Time, year-round.

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Alexandria

Alexandria, ON, population centre, population 2,906 (2021 census), 2,845 (2016 census). Incorporated as a town in 1903, Alexandria lost this status in 1998 as the result of municipal restructuring in Ontario. It is now part of the new township of North Glengarry (population 10,109). Alexandria is located midway on the Canadian National Railway line between Montreal and Ottawa.

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Prince Rupert

Prince Rupert, BC, incorporated as a city in 1910, population 12,300 (2021 census), 12,220 (2016 census). The City of Prince Rupert is located on Kaien Island, at the mouth of the Skeena River in the Coast Mountains of British Columbia. It is Canada's wettest city, with an average of 2,619 mm of precipitation falling each year. Prince Rupert marks western end of the Yellowhead Trans-Canada Highway and, as Canada's deepest ice-free seaport, a link between the lower United States, Vancouver and Alaska (see also Iconic Highways in Canada). For these reasons it is the industrial, commercial and institutional centre for BC's Northwest Coast.

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Abbotsford

Abbotsford, British Columbia, incorporated as a city in 1995, population 141,397 (2016 census), 133,497 (2011 census). The amalgamation of the district municipalities of Matsqui and Abbotsford formed the city of Abbotsford. Abbotsford is located on the south bank of the Fraser River, 76 km east of Vancouver. The city is named after Harry Braithwaite Abbott, the general superintendent for the British Columbia division of the Canadian Pacific Railway. Abbotsford is BC's fifth most populous municipality.