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Iconic Highways in Canada

Canada’s most iconic highways were all built in the 20th or 21st centuries. Before the car became popular, good roads were hard to find once you left a city. As simple as they seem, it’s expensive to build and maintain roads. Rural routes were often treacherous for travelers.

Modern highways connect our massive country. A few of them stand out for their length, origins, or wondrous landscapes.

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Ottawa’s $2.1 Billion LRT Line Opens — and Fails

After more than six years of construction, at least 63 failed progress inspections and four missed deadlines, the first stage of Ottawa’s new light rail Confederation Line opened to the public. However, the 13-station line, running east-west between Gloucester and Tunney’s Pasture, was beset with problems from day one. Bus lines that had been cancelled were reinstated to meet demand. On 6 November 2019, city manager Steve Kanellakos criticized the line’s builder, Rideau Transit Group, for “inadequate management oversight, poor planning, under-resourcing and failure to anticipate predictable issues.” Kanellakos also said, “They have failed the city and its residents. We have not received what we paid for.” Another 44 km of track, to be added to the Confederation Line and the existing north-south Trillium Line, was approved in February 2019 with a budget of $4.6 billion.

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Transportation Association of Canada

The Transportation Association of Canada (TAC) is a non-profit association that provides a neutral forum for discussing technical issues related to road and highway infrastructure and urban transportation. It brings together governments, private companies, academic institutions and other organizations in Canada. The non-partisan association’s mission is “to work together to share ideas, build knowledge, promote best practices, foster leadership, and encourage bold transportation solutions.”

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Causeway

A causeway is a raised path, railway or road across an expanse of low ground, wetlands or water. It is different from a bridge in that it has little or no opening underneath. Instead, it consists of a crest with embankments on either side. It is typically made of compacted earth, sand and rocks. In most cases, causeways are made by humans to connect different dry land areas to each other. Such connections can also be made up of a combination of causeway and bridge segments. Sometimes, a causeway can serve several purposes simultaneously. In addition to the passage it provides, the bulk of its structure may be intended to function as a dam or dike.

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Iconic Streets in Canada

Every city has a few streets that stand out above the rest. Perhaps they’re a shopping haven, like Vancouver’s Robson Street, or lined with landmarks, like Ottawa’s Sussex Drive. Other roads earned their fame as the site of a rebellion or a gold rush. Below is a list of ten of Canada’s most iconic streets, but there are many more. What street tells the story of your city?

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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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Joseph-Armand Bombardier

Joseph-Armand Bombardier, entrepreneur, inventor of the snowmobile and Ski-Doo (born 16 April 1907 in Valcourt, QC; died 18 February 1964 in Sherbrooke, QC). While Bombardier’s many inventions demonstrate his mechanical skills, his ability not only to respond to transportation needs but to create them gave rise to his namesake corporation’s record of innovation.

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Transportation

The importance of transportation to a trading nation as vast as Canada cannot be underestimated. The great distances between mines, farms, forests and urban centres make efficient transport systems essential to the economy so that natural and manufactured goods can move freely through domestic and international markets. Transportation has and will continue to play an important role in the social and political unity of Canada.

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Human Settlement in Canada

A human settlement is a place where people live. Settlement patterns describe the ways in which villages, towns, cities and First Nation reserves are distributed, as well as the factors that influence this arrangement. Throughout Canadian history, climate, natural resources, transportation methods and government policy have affected human settlement in the country. Today, the majority of Canadians live in cities in the southern portion of the country. (See also Human Geography and Canada.)

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Greyhound Ends Bus Service in Canada

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After shutting down its services in Western Canada in 2018 and suffering a year without revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Greyhound Canada permanently ceased operations after almost 100 years in business. The company’s American affiliate said that it would continue to operate cross-border bus routes to and from the US.

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Humboldt Broncos Bus Crash

One of Canada’s most high-profile highway tragedies occurred on 6 April 2018, when a bus carrying 28 members of the Humboldt Broncos junior hockey team collided with a transport truck at a highway intersection near Tisdale, Saskatchewan. The crash killed 16 team members: 10 players and 6 staff. It also led to new truck-driver training and licensing regulations and increased awareness about the availability and use of seat belts among bus passengers.

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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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Inuit Group Releases Climate Change Adaptation Plan

The organization Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami released a 48-page plan for adapting to a changing climate in the Arctic, which is warming twice as quickly as the rest of the planet. “Inuit have decided we are going to seek a partnership with the Government of Canada and start to adapt any way we can through coordinated action,” said Natan Obed, the head of Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami. The plan calls for improvements to infrastructure threatened by thawing permafrost, increased spending on transportation, improvements to telecommunications and the incorporation of traditional Inuit knowledge in building codes and practices.

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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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Resource Towns in Canada

Resource towns are small, isolated communities built around resource-based industries and transportation. They include mining towns, mill towns, railway towns and fishing villages. Resource development has long been a key factor in shaping the settlement and growth of communities. Some scholars have argued that all Canadian urban growth depends on the production of natural resources. (See also Staple Thesis.) Resource towns have been important agents in this production process. Because they depend on single industries, the economies of resource towns are often unstable.