Chinese Construction Workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway National Historic Event
Chinese construction workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway were designated a national historic event in 1977.
Historical importance: Role of the Chinese workers in building the Canadian Pacific Railway.
Commemorative plaque: Yale, British ColumbiaFootnote 1
Chinese Construction Workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway
In the early 1880's contractor Andrew Onderdonk brought thousands of labourers from China to help build the Pacific Railway through the mountains of British Columbia. About three-quarters of the men who worked on the section between the Pacific and Craigellachie were Chinese. Although considered excellent workers, they received only a dollar a day, half the pay of a white worker. Hundreds of Chinese died from accidents or illness, for the work was dangerous and living conditions poor. Those who remained in Canada when the railway was completed securely established the basis of British Columbia's Chinese community.
The National Program of Historical Commemoration relies on the participation of Canadians in the identification of places, events and persons of national historic significance. Any member of the public can nominate a topic for consideration by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.
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