Canadian Pacific invites Canadians to share in the legacy of the Last Spike

BANFF, AB, July 2 /CNW/ - Canadian Pacific marks a significant milestone this year as it celebrates the 125th Anniversary of the driving of the Last Spike, which signaled the completion of Canada's first transcontinental railroad. In celebration of this anniversary, CP today presented the first of its archives Legacy gifts to the Banff Whyte Museum.

"In honor of our connected history, we are donating unique items from our extensive collection of vintage memorabilia to a number of the museums and historical societies that play a vital role in sharing Canada's diverse history and culture," said CP President & CEO Fred Green.

These legacy gifts will be delivered to selected organizations throughout the summer and will include a selection of crockery and engraved silverware and flatware dating from the 1890s.

Devoted to the cultural history of the Canadian Rocky Mountains and mountain cultures throughout the world, the Whyte Museum makes an ideal first recipient.

"The Canadian Pacific Railway and Banff National Park's histories are inseparable, with railway President William Van Horne's influence on the creation of the first National Park in 1885," said Michale Lang, Executive Director of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies. "The railway was the engine that drove early tourism in the Rockies and these objects capture the nostalgia of those early days. We are grateful to the Canadian Pacific Railway for such a fitting addition to our collection."

Banff National Park is marking its 125 anniversary with a number of special events. CP's 2816 Empress Steam Train is in Banff today and Saturday to celebrate with the community. The Empress has brought its heritage fleet which includes CP's museum car - a vintage baggage car from the 1950s refurbished and transformed to provide people an interactive view of CP's history.

The actual Last Spike that marked the completion of the transcontinental railway on November 7, 1885 will be on the display in the museum car for public viewing. It is generously on loan from the Canada Science & Technology Museum.

"The histories of Canada and our railway remain closely connected to this day," added Green. "CP looks forward to continuing to be a vital part of Canada's economy safe for the next 125 years."

As part of its 125th anniversary of the Last Spike, the Empress 2816 Steam Train and its museum car will tour various communities in Western Canada. The public can learn more by visiting www.cpr.ca

About Canadian Pacific:

Canadian Pacific, through the ingenuity of its employees located across Canada and in the United States, remains committed to being the safest, most fluid railway in North America. Our people are the key to delivering innovative transportation solutions to our customers and to ensuring the safe operation of our trains through the more than 1,100 communities where we operate. Come and visit us at www.cpr.ca to see how we can put our ingenuity to work for you.

    
                       Canadian Pacific and Banff 125
                       ------------------------------
    

Share in the legacy of the Last Spike

For 125 years, CP has been proudly contributing to Canada's heritage while moving its people and economy. Join us as we celebrate the legacy of the Last Spike.

"If we can't export the scenery, then we'll have to import the tourists," said William Cornelius Van Horne, head of the CPR, in 1880. With that simple statement, a connection that now spans 125 years was born.

CP and Banff National Park are proud to share in this legacy of connecting Canadians with one of their most spectacular national treasures. Join us as we celebrate the majestic scenery and rich history of Banff National Park; a fantastic partnership between Canada's first transcontinental railway and its first national park.

To mark this anniversary, the Empress 2816 Steam Train will embark on a tour of various communities in Canada - - and will station in Banff on July 2 & 3, 2010 to join in with Banff 125 celebration events.

The Empress will pull its heritage fleet which includes CP's museum car - a vintage baggage car from the 1950s refurbished and transformed to provide people an interactive view of CP's history. At this event, the public will have an opportunity to tour the museum car and also see the official "Last Spike" - generously on loan from the Canada Science & Technology Museum.

    
    Schedule of Events

    July 2, 2010
    Time: 2pm- 6pm
    Official welcome event as CP Empress 2816 Steam train arrives at Banff
    Station. Special 125th Last Spike presentation upon arrival and then the
    museum car will be open to the public.

    July 3, 2010
    Time 10am-3pm
    CP Empress 2816 Steam train stationed at Banff. Museum car will be open.
    

Please note. CP will be selling limited one-way passenger tickets for rides on the Empress 2816 from Calgary-Banff and Banff- Calgary as well as other community events this summer. All funds raised from these ticket sales will go to the Children's Wish Foundation. Public tickets can only be purchased on the Children's Wish Foundation website beginning June 18 www.childrenswish.ca/cptrainride

    
                         CP Empress 2816 Steam Train
                         ---------------------------
    

For 125 years, CP has been proudly contributing to Canada's heritage while moving its people and economy. Join us as we celebrate the legacy of the Last Spike.

As part of the festivities, CP's iconic 2816 Empress steam train will embark on a tour this summer, celebrating our shared history with various Canadian communities. The Empress will pull its heritage fleet which includes a fairly new addition - CP's museum car.

Built by Montreal Locomotive Works in December 1930, the CP 2816 Empress is a class H1b Hudson-type steam locomotive. It is now the only surviving H1b Hudson and is one of only a handful of preserved and operating Canadian Pacific steam locomotives in North America.

Initially the locomotive ran westward out of Winnipeg to Calgary and eastward to Fort William, Ontario (now part of Thunder Bay). Locomotive 2816 then moved into service on the Windsor-to-Quebec City corridor. Its last assignment was at the front of a Montreal-Rigaud commuter train, making its final revenue run on May 26, 1960. Having logged more than two million miles in active service, 2816's fires were extinguished.

Rebuilding began in 1998 and the restoration of the CP 2816 Empress was completed in 2002.

The rebuild team consulted more than 800 engineering drawings of CP class H1b locomotives to rebuild the locomotive from the ground up in much of the same manner it was built in more than 75 years ago. The 2816 is the only survivor. These drawings show every nut, bolt and rivet - hand drawn to scale and accurately identified as to location, size and material specification.

Today, the CP 2816 Empress is restored to the original specifications with external details from the 1940/50s. For the past eight years, the vintage steam locomotive and its heritage fleet are roving ambassadors for Canadian Pacific's 16,000 employees in 1,100 communities across North America.

    
                        The History of the Last Spike
                        -----------------------------
    

True, when the ceremonial last spike was driven by Donald Alexander Smith at 9:22 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 7, 1885, at Craigellachie, British Columbia, the event marked the completion of one of Canada's most important and ambitious projects - the construction of a transcontinental railway.

However, the simple, five-inch (12.7 cm) iron track spike used during the ceremony symbolized at once the fulfillment of a national goal and the opening of a new and challenging frontier.

The story of the last spike began with the incorporation of the Canadian Pacific Railway Company on Feb. 16, 1881. The company's original charter provided that the main rail line would cross the Rocky Mountains by way of the Yellowhead Pass, the route now used by Canadian National. However, the company's founders believed that a more direct route should be found further to the south, through the Rocky and Selkirk mountain ranges.

The formidable Selkirk's seemed to pose an impenetrable barrier. In the spring of 1881, Canadian Pacific hired Major Albert Bowman Rogers to find a route through the rugged Selkirk's.

Major Rogers decided to approach the range from the west. He and his survey crew followed the Columbia River to the site of what is now Revelstoke. They then followed the Illecillewaet River valley for about 55 kilometers until they reached the foot of the Illecillewaet Glacier. Rogers scaled the steep slopes to obtain a better perspective and, on May 29, 1881, he discovered the pass that would later bear his name. During the construction season of 1882, Rogers found the eastern approach to the pass by way of the Beaver River valley.

But, the hardest work was yet to come. The construction of the railhead, advancing from the east, reached the foot of the Selkirk's at Beavermouth, 103 kilometers (64 miles) east of Revelstoke, by the end of the 1884 construction period. By the end of September, 1885, construction was completed from the west at Eagle Pass. The eastern construction forces were still about 70 kilometers (43 miles) away - about eight kilometers (five miles) west of Albert Canyon.

The track from the east reached the east bank of the Columbia river on October 8, 1885. By November 5, just six kilometers (four miles) separated the two lines. Working around the clock, the tracklayers from the east came within site as two final lengths of rail were being cut to complete the main line. The cut rails were put into place and lightly spiked.

Shortly after nine o'clock on a rainy, misty November 7, the photographer, Alexander Ross, set up his tripod and camera, Donald Smith took his place with a spike maul, and the bystanders gathered around.

Major Rogers used a bar to hold the tie against the rail, while Frank Brothers, a foreman tracklayer, placed the last spike into position.

Not being an accomplished tracklayer, Smith's first attempt resulted in a glancing blow which bent the spike after one or two blows has been aimed in its general direction. Smith took more careful aim on his second attempt and drove the spike home. There was a moments pause, then the crowd broke into spontaneous cheering. Called upon to make a speech, the companies vice-president, William Cornelius Van Horne, summed up the historic event in just fifteen words:" All I can say is that the work has been well done in every way."

Today the last spike is housed in the Canada Science and Technology Museum of Ottawa. In celebration of 125 years of service, CP's iconic 2816 Empress steam train will embark on a tour this summer, celebrating our shared history with various Canadian communities.

The Empress will pull its heritage fleet which includes CP's museum car - a vintage baggage car from the 1950s refurbished and transformed to capture CP's history. At each event, the general public will have an opportunity to tour the museum car and also see the famous last spike - generously on loan to CP from the Canada Science and Technology Museum.

    
                        Canadian Pacific's Museum Car
                        -----------------------------
    

For 125 years, CP has been proudly contributing to Canada's heritage while moving its people and economy. Join us as we celebrate the legacy of the Last Spike.

As part of the festivities, CP's iconic 2816 Empress steam train will embark on a tour this summer, celebrating our shared history with various Canadian communities. The Empress will pull its heritage fleet which includes a fairly new addition - CP's museum car.

A visitor's walk through the museum car is a journey that begins with John A. Macdonald's dream of confederation. Dating back to 1871, Canadian Pacific's history is indelibly linked with Canada's, founded with the purpose of uniting east and west through a railroad, and ensuring the unity of a nation. Tracing the legacy through the 20th century, the museum car defines what Canadian Pacific stands for today. It is not without the tremendous struggle and ingenuity by our forefathers, that Canadian Pacific continues to grow and lead the industry.

Canadian Pacific is proud to link these iconic moments and the content of the car is testament to this legacy. The exhibition includes key historical facts, photos, and paintings of significant CP figures and landmarks, artifacts from passenger trains and rail yards, railway memorabilia and finally personal items from the late William Van Horne.

For this special anniversary the museum car will house artifacts very special to Canadian Pacific. The focus is on the last spike ceremony when Donald Smith drove the final spike into the railroad at Craigellachie. On loan from the Canadian Science and Technology Museum, the original spike will be displayed in the car. Including is the 33 inches of Krupp Steel rail, dating that will be on display. Dating back to 1883 the German Foundry, Krupp, supplied the steel rail for the completion of the railway. The final piece rounding out the collection is a painting commissioned by Geoffrey Grier in 1945 celebrating the 60th anniversary of the last spike.

The public will have the opportunity to tour the museum car as part of Canadian Pacific's celebration of 125 years of service. It will be traveling throughout Canada with the Empress 2816, Canadian Pacific's antique steam train.

The museum car itself is of notable history as it was constructed by the American Car and Foundry Co. for Union Pacific in 1954 its original use was a baggage car for high speed passenger service. In 1969 Union Pacific retired the car from active service. CP purchased the car in 2004 and in 2008 began a heavy overhaul of the exterior mechanics and, of course, the interior. The final touch was to paint the exterior Canadian Pacific heritage red.

    
                       CP & Children's Wish Foundation
                       -------------------------------
    

For 125 years, CP has been proudly contributing to Canada's heritage while moving its people and economy. Join us as we celebrate the legacy of the Last Spike.

As part of the festivities, CP's iconic 2816 steam train will embark on a tour this summer, celebrating our shared history with various Canadian communities. CP will be selling one-way passenger tickets for some portions of the tour and all funds raised from these ticket sales will go to the Children's Wish Foundation. Public tickets can only be purchased on the Children's Wish Foundation website www.childrenswish.ca/cptrainride

What started in 2002 as an employee-driven water bottle recycling program has evolved into a rewarding relationship between CP and the Children's Wish Foundation. Today, CP's front line employees directly benefit hundreds of Children's Wish families in communities across Canada through a partnership that has raised more that $250,000 in less than a decade.

About Children's Wish Foundation

The Children's Wish Foundation of Canada is the authority on wish granting in our country. With 26 years of wish granting, and over 16,500 wishes behind us, we have fulfilled more wishes for children in Canada than any other wish granting agency. They work with the community to provide children living with high-risk, life threatening illnesses the opportunity to realize their most heartfelt wish.

SOURCE Canadian Pacific

For further information: For further information: Media: Mike LoVecchio, Senior Manager - Media Relations, Canadian Pacific, Tel.: (778) 772-9636, 24/7 Media Pager: (416) 814-0948, e-mail: mike_lovecchio@cpr.ca; Breanne Feigel, Manager - Strategic Communications, Canadian Pacific, Tel.: (403) 589-6949, 24/7 Media Pager: (416) 814-0948, e-mail: breanne_feigel@cpr.ca


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