Matthew O.

Richmond, British Columbia

Richmond Regional Heritage Fair

Canadian Pacific Railway: A New Life In Canada

My project is about the Canadian Pacific Railway. My research focuses on how important the railway was in unifying Canada and how the Chinese workers were poorly treated.




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

I would like to show other Canadians that Canada used to be not such a multicultural place back when the Canadian Pacific Railway was being built. I learned that if there was no Canadian Pacific Railway, British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba might not have been a part of Canada. Also that the Canadian Pacific Railway is one of the longest railways in the world.

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

The Chinese were once the most desirable workers because they were a great source of cheap labour. However, after the railway was completed, they became so undesirable that the Head Tax was created to shut them out of Canada even though the Chinese workers contributed significantly to the building of the CPR. Also, it was ironic that what the Chinese workers thought was a golden opportunity to make more money for their families only brought sadness and loneliness for many in the end.

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

The Chinese citizens are treated much better today then they were compared to the lives of the Chinese workers studied in my project. What is ironic is that it seems most of immigrants coming to Canada are Chinese nowadays. I am shocked that such horrible things happened to the Chinese population back in the days when the railway was built.