Pretty Yet Weird When First Scheduled Train Rolled into
The first transcontinental passenger train from Montreal arriving at Calgary in
1886 - Mrs. H. Woods.
The first scheduled transcontinental train pulled into Calgary 2 Jul 1886 at 22:50 Mountain
As had been the case for the last spike ceremony the preceding fall, which had featured "an ordinary iron spike like all the others", Van Horne
decreed that hoopla surrounding the occasion be kept to a minimum.
Thus, when the train pulled out of Dalhousie Square Station in Montreal on 28 Jun 1886, there were no politicians on board and scarcely a senior railway
official to be seen.
Likewise, the festivities along the line were low-key affairs, largely left to the whims of the local citizenry.
In Calgary, awaiting the historic moment, the expectant townsfolk kicked up their heels at a ball in the roller rink, while their newly formed brass band
belted out all the favorite tunes.
W.F. Salisbury, on his way to Port Moody to take up his position as local treasurer for the CPR, recorded in his diary the scene upon arrival:
"The town, as far as I could see it, was one long street, and about all the inhabitants I should fancy had collected about the depot to see us arrive.
Their band was in attendance and played continuously while we were there.
There was also a bonfire and a display of fireworks.
The scene at Calgary was pretty yet weird.
The flames of the bonfire threw light sufficient to see many of the figures in the crowd.
There were ladies in light dresses, Squaws in their own peculiar costumes, gentlemen of all classes and dress, Mounted Police in their red coats, and the
Indians in their blankets all formed into a constantly moving crowd.
It was well worth seeing.
As we pulled out of Calgary Station (about midnight), the band struck up God Save the Queen, and I retired to roost, for the next morning we expected to be in