CPR history for students

On July 1, 1867, four provinces joined together to form the new country of Canada. The four provinces — Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, Quebec and Ontario — were joined three years later by Manitoba and the Northwest Territories. In 1871 British Columbia decided to join Canada, but only if the Canadian government promised to build a transcontinental railway. British Columbia set a 10 year deadline for the completion of this critical link to the rest of the country.

This incredible engineering feat was completed on November 7, 1885, six years ahead of schedule, when the last spike was driven at Craigellachie, B.C. The rest, is history…

the story

Hop aboard the Canadian Pacific Railway and travel through its history from the steam era to modern times and find out:

  • How CPR sold "ready-made farms" to help settle the West
  • Why railcars were used as traveling classrooms
  • How long an average freight train traveling at 100 km/h requires to stop

Test your knowledge with word searches, scrambles, cryptograms and fun quizzes.


There are hundreds of resources in libraries, in museums and on the Internet that can help you to continue learning about the Canadian Pacific Railway and its history. This selective bibliography of books, websites, museums, and railways, lists some of our favourite: