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Did the Creation of the Cpr Railway Have More of a Positive or Negative Impact on Canadian History?

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Did the Creation of the CPR Railway have more of a Positive or Negative impact on Canadian History?




(All environmental positives mentioned are as of 2017)

GHG = Greenhouse Gasses

A single train takes approximately 280 trucks (the equivalent of 1,100 cars) off roads, highways and infrastructure.

According to the Association of American Railroads (AAR), railways are on average four times more fuel-efficient than trucks, depending on the commodity and length of the haul, reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 75 percent.

Trains reduce the pressure to build costly new roads and cut the cost of maintaining our current highway infrastructure.

GHG emissions from the railway industry represent only five percent of transportation-related GHG emissions and a corresponding total of only one percent of Canada's annual GHG emissions.

CP has reduced its annual GHG emissions by approximately 15 percent since 2015. Between 2014 and 2016, CP has reduced electricity use by 32 percent and natural gas use by 28 percent

CP has undertaken numerous initiatives to improve operational efficiencies and reduce it’s carbon footprint.



The CPR railway made it easier and faster to transport goods from coast to coast.

The CPR created many jobs and promoted immigration to Canada.

The CPR made a fledgling tourism industry a major one by promoting travel across Canada.

The railways contributed to general economic developments in return for funding.

The effect of railways on emerging urban centres was crucial and dramatic. Toronto's dominant position in south-central Ontario was clearly established by its rail connections.

Added B.C. and Alberta to the Confederation of Canada.

The government gave the CPR railway a 25 million dollar grant as well as 25 million acres of land. The grant of 25 million acres of land was sold at a cheap price of about 10 dollars per acre, giving fledgling immigrants and farmers a chance.

Let Canada compete with the U.S. for trading with B.C. (B.C.’s only trading partner was the U.S. at the time.)

After railway was constructed, business took off.


Other Positives

Transported 250 thousand troops during World War II.

Transported oil from Alberta all around Canada and the U.S., saving many sailors the cruel fate of drowning by being struck with a U-boat’s torpedo.

A series of grand hotels, including Banff Springs Hotel and Chateau Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City, and Hotel Vancouver, were built by the railway, along its routes in the late 19th and early 20th century to promote tourism. The hotels still survive today but are owned by Fairmont hotels.

Another benefit of Canadian Pacific Railway is the subsidiary businesses started or owned and operated at one point during the company’s history. Although many are no longer part of the current company, these subsidiaries included passenger rail service, Canadian Pacific Hotels, Canadian Pacific Airlines, telegraph, telephone, radio services, and steamship services.




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