100 years since the last spike

The “famous ” last spike at Craigellachie, BC

Most Canadians associate this photo with “The last spike.” The ceremony marked the completion of the Canadian Pacific Railway, Canada’s first transcontinental railway, in 1885.

It was nearly 30 years before a second route to the west was completed: the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. 100 years ago today (April 7), the Grand Trunk Pacific was completed, connecting Prince Rupert to Winnipeg. The last spike was driven about 137 km west of Prince George, near the community of Fort Fraser.

This other “last spike” ceremony is much less known but it changed northern BC forever. The GTP went on to become Canadian National and remains a vital transportation corridor linking northern BC to the east and, thanks to the Port of Prince Rupert, to the world

The anniversary almost went by without anyone really noticing. Thankfully, deep in the Archives of Northern BC, a photo of the event was discovered and shared.  It was shot by Parker Bonney, who had a long history in northern BC as a forester and surveyor before he passed away in 1977. The photo is one of 600 of Bonney’s images that are being preserved by the Archives.

Click here for more information about the story.

UNBC Archivist Ramona Rose shows Parker Bonney’s photo of “the last spike” for the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad

When UNBC was first established, it was described by some founders as the most significant development for northern BC “since the coming of the railroad.” 100 years after the coming of the railroad, it’s appropriate that UNBC has a part in preserving that history.

Rob

This entry was posted in The Tour by Rob van Adrichem. Bookmark the permalink.

About Rob van Adrichem

Rob van Adrichem is a UNBC grad and the University's Vice-President for External Relations. He was born and raised in Prince George and has been an employee of UNBC since 1992. He was appointed by former Premier Gordon Campbell to a provincial council on climate action and has been a champion of UNBC's efforts to be a model for sustainability. He is married with two young children.