If you visit the Roundhouse Community Arts & Recreation Centre, you’ll see Engine 374. Owned by Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), it pulled the first Canadian transcontinental passenger train into Vancouver.
“It’s significant because it sealed the deal to keep British Columbia a part of Canada,” says William Johnston, director of the West Coast Railway Association (WCRA) and the volunteer in charge of the Engine 374 Pavilion.
By the end of the 1700s, the Americans were in a big expansionist move. The British colonies, where BC is nowadays, wanted to remain British. This was the deal: if the rest of Canada built a railway to the west coast, the British colonies would join the rest of the country.
“It’s significant because it sealed the deal to keep British Columbia a part of Canada.”
It took years for the railway to arrive. The engineers managed a good plan to cross about 3,000 kilometres, including the Rocky Mountains area. “If it hadn’t happened, I don’t know if life in Canada would have changed so much,” says Johnston.