Jack O.

Winnipeg, Manitoba

Red River Heritage Fair

Tracks to Prosperity: The Railway Industry and Geoeconomic Development in Winnipeg

My project examines the effect of the railway industry on economic development and the related geography in Winnipeg. Cause and effect scenarios throughout the last 130 years are shown, along with detailed maps and pictures.


What was the most interesting thing you learned about your topic?

How dependent the nation was 130 years ago on the railways. Communities lived and died because of it, and some became quite successful as a result. The changing industry that the railway serves and how it serves it is a constant reminder to those times.

What important lessons have you learned that you want to share with other Canadians?

That Canada, its provinces and their cities and towns would truly not be here with out the railway industry. Trains brought immigrants and people into the west, and brought the manufacturing and natural products to the east, developing a strong economy for the west, and in my case Winnipeg. The prosperity that followed the railway did not come easy, and there were many challenges for Winnipeg. However, the city prevailed, and became a national railway centre, which it is to this day.

How would you compare your life today to the lives of those studied in your project?

People now have no idea how important the railway was and is to the economy. Not very many people actually take the train nowadays, as a heightened sense of awareness of what the railways actually are is not there. 100 years ago, the public knew how vital the railway industry was, and how it had an effect on their day-to-day lives.