Canadian Pacific Railway Set-off Siding
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6 April 2010

It Was the Second and the
Last Spike That Made History
7 Nov 1885
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The last spike that joined the east-west construction of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven at Craigellachie, British Columbia, on 7 Nov 1885. Pictured is Sir Donald A. Smith driving the spike. Immediately behind him is 17-year-old Edward Mallandaine who went on to found the town of Creston, British Columbia - 7 Nov 1885 Alexander Ross.

Craigellachie British Columbia - This story is dedicated to all those who bent a nail while hammering. I'll bet your nail never made it into a museum or history. There is one exception of course.

Donald A. Smith did just that. Smith was 65-years-old when he struck the last spike on 7 Nov 1885 which completed the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) when the west rail line met the rail line moving east. Canadian Pacific Railway was completed before a huge crowd at the Eagle Pass, Craigallachie, in B.C.

Before the last spike was thrust into the tie and history, Smith bent the spike. The bent spike is now in the Glenbow-Alberta Institute in Calgary. It was here, before the excited onlookers, that Sir William Cornelius Van Horne (1843-1915) CPR president, made his 15-word speech. "All I can say is that the work has been well done in every way."

The next day, the CPR special transcontinental train arrived in Port Moody at Pacific Tidewater, 4,800 kilometers away from Montreal.

So, the next time you bend a nail, think of the second last spike, and may all your bent nails be made of steel.

Ronald Wolf.

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