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The Canadian Pacific Railway was a triumph of engineering and political vision. But at what cost? – RBC

December 8, 2023

Without the Canadian Pacific Railway, one could argue Canada wouldn’t exist. An engineering marvel, national rallying cry and crucial connector of west to east, the construction of the CPR also had a dark side. Author Stephen R. Bown shares the triumphs and horrors of the CPR.

In his book Dominion, The Railway and the Rise of Canada, Stephen R. Bown shares the history of the CPR, telling the stories of those involved – from the politicians to the financiers, the workers to the Indigenous communities. On this episode of Chatter That Matters, Bown joins to bring these stories to listeners and share the varying levels of irony and moral ambiguity that shaped the planning and construction of what is accepted as Canada’s greatest accomplishment of the 19th century.

Hear how the railway on one hand saved Canada from being an expansion of the U.S. And how on another, its horrific working conditions claimed the lives of countless workers – most of whom were Chinese or Indigenous.

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