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Hey folks! I hope you’re having a great start to your March 2023

Today is #ThrowbackThursday and with that, I am going to talk about one of the most important pieces of infrastructure in Canadian history – the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR).

Now, before we dive into the specifics, let me tell you why this topic is important. You see, the CPR played a crucial role in the development and growth of Canada as a nation, and in particular, the city of Calgary, Alberta. And understanding that history helps us appreciate the modern world we live in and the importance of infrastructure to our everyday lives.

So, let’s start at the beginning. The Canadian Pacific Railway was built in the late 19th century as a way to connect the eastern and western coasts of Canada. The idea was to create a direct route for trade and travel that didn’t require crossing the United States. And let me tell you, this was no small feat.

The construction of the CPR was a massive undertaking that required the labor of thousands of workers over several years. The terrain was rugged, the weather was unpredictable, and resources were scarce. But the project persevered, and in 1885, the last spike was driven into the ground, connecting the railway from coast to coast.

Now, you might be wondering why this matters. Well, the CPR was more than just a railway. It was a symbol of national unity and identity. It brought together the disparate regions of Canada and allowed for the movement of goods, people, and ideas across the country. And in doing so, it helped to solidify Canada as a distinct and independent nation.

But let’s bring this back to Calgary. You see, the CPR played a pivotal role in the growth and development of the city. In fact, the city owes much of its early success to the railway.

In the late 1800s, Calgary was a small outpost on the western frontier. It was a hub for cattle ranching, but not much else. However, when the CPR was completed, everything changed.

The railway brought new settlers, new industries, and new opportunities to the city. It allowed for the efficient transportation of goods, such as cattle and grain, to markets across the country. It also brought in new businesses, such as banks and law firms, that helped to establish Calgary as a regional center of commerce.

But perhaps most importantly, the CPR allowed for the movement of people. It enabled settlers to come to the city, and for Calgarians to travel to other parts of the country. This led to a vibrant and diverse community that helped to shape the city’s culture and identity.

Now, let’s fast forward to the present day. The CPR is still a vital piece of infrastructure in Canada, and in Calgary in particular. The railway continues to transport goods and people across the country, supporting industries such as agriculture, mining, and energy. It also serves as a major employer, with over 12,000 people working for the company.

But the importance of the CPR goes beyond its economic impact. It is a symbol of Canadian identity and history, and a reminder of the perseverance and determination of those who built it. It has helped to shape the country we know today, and it will continue to be an important part of our future.

So, there you have it, folks. The Canadian Pacific Railway is more than just a railway. It is a symbol of national unity, a driver of economic growth, and a reminder of our past. And in Calgary, it played a crucial role in the city’s development and success. So next time you’re on a train or passing by a railway, take a moment to appreciate the history and significance of this incredible piece of infrastructure.

Thank you and hope you have an amazing rest of your day!
Shane Wenzel

Shane Wenzel

Shane is the President & CEO of the Shane Homes Group of Companies and the namesake. Shane's responsibilities include strategic direction for the companies, policy advice for the building industry through BILD Calgary, and political involvement through the Alberta Enterprise Group on the economy, making him an industry leader in his field. Shane's sales and marketing background comes from growing up with two entrepreneurial parents, Cal and Edith, and participating in a business advisory group. On the personal side, Shane considers himself a bit of a "tech junky" and social media influencer on various platforms. He's also proudly apart of the LGBTQ community.