CPR-A.4209 | Train leaving Donald, BC, 1885

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Train leaving Donald, BC, 1885
Oliver B. Buell
1885, 19th century
Canadian Pacific Railway Archives
This artefact belongs to : © CPRC / CFCP
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Keys to History

The Scottish connection to the CPR was also reflected in the place-names of western Canada: a number of towns and geographical features were named after the Scottish directors of the company, or after places in their native land. Donald is a small place in British Columbia, near the town of Golden. It was named for Donald Smith. Not too far away is Mount Sir Donald, a challenging peak for climbers. This photograph shows a train leaving the community and heading west in 1885, the year the railway was completed. The men on the boxcar are probably brakemen, the workers who were in charge of operating the brakes, which are not driven from the engine.

  • What

    This image of a rough construction camp in the Canadian Rockies shows railway building activities in 1885, the last year of construction.

  • Where

    The photograph was taken at Donald, near Golden, B.C.

  • When

    When this picture was taken, the worst of the construction difficulties were over, and the directors of the CPR could be sure that the huge project was a success.

  • Who

    Like the railway, the bunkhouses and dining rooms built for the construction workers were put up quickly and roughly, for speed was essential if the project was to succeed.