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Tuesday, November 7, 2017

One Hundred and Thirty Two Years Ago

The front of this post card is a reproduction of a poster from 1945. It commemorates the sixtieth anniversary of the driving of the last spike in the Canadian transcontinental railway. World War II had just finished and these were pretty heady days in Canada - similar, I am sure, to the days after the completion of the cross-Canada railway. The driving of the last spike happened at Craigellachie, British Columbia at 9:22 A.M. 132 years ago today.

From Wikipedia: The circumstance of the CPR's last spike ceremony led several spikes to assume the honour of being the "last spike". In contrast to the ceremonial gold or silver final spikes often used to mark the completion of other major railroads, the Canadian Pacific Railway's "Last Spike" was a conventional iron spike identical to the many others used in the construction of the line. The symbolic iron spike driven by Donald Smith was badly bent as he pounded it into the railway tie. Roadmaster Frank Brothers extracted the spike and it was given to Smith as the "last spike". Smith had the bent spike straightened and cut several strips of iron from it which were mounted with diamonds and presented to the wives of some of the party assembled at Craigellachie. This spike was later donated to the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. This post card below was issued on the 100th anniversary of the driving of the last spike. It includes a commemorative stamp printed by Canada Post.

I have been to Craigellachie; it is what many would call "in the middle of nowhere". It is near half-way between Salmon Army, to the west, and Revelstoke. There is a lovely little tourist booth at which you can purchase several souvenirs and read about the history of the CPR's last spike ceremony. I have a T-shirt!!

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If you know anything about the history of the cards, the trains or the locations, please add them.