Monday, April 20, 2015

The CPR Progresses

When I left off on Friday, the CPR was making more moves to establish the terminus in Granville. Or Vancouver, as CPR president, William Van Horne, wanted to call the settlement. However, there were investors and speculators who still refused to acknowledge this fact. They were set on Port Moody becoming the terminus.

On October 11, five days after Premier Smithe and Van Horne had come to an agreement and only 45 days before it was formally approved, the Port Moody Gazette wrote:

"It is well known at Lloyds that Port Moody is safe in every respect, but that in stormy weather, none of the other places is safe for ships. How anyone in his senses could believe the extension would be made, or if made, could be of any use, appears very droll to us."

The Victoria Colonist put a reporter at Port Moody to interview newcomers and assure them there was no such place on the inlet named Vancouver. Technically, this was right until April of 1886.

It didn't matter to the Canadian Pacific Railway what the papers and investors were saying. They pushed the survey of the right-of-way to Granville through the fall with the legendary Major Rogers in charge.

At dusk at Christmas Day, Rogers, his nephew, a man named Mitchell and Otway Wilkie of New Westminster drove a stake on the eastern boundary of Granville in a heavy snowstorm. Then they returned to Christmas dinner in George Black's hotel in Hastings. Guests at the dinner included Sam Brighouse, the shoemaker-naturalist Jack Fannin and other notables.

The survey party, comprised of H.J. Cambie, Hugh Walkem, a man named Strong, Tom Smith, Paul Marmette and J. W. Stewart finished the Granville end of their work in March 1885. The CPR offices were in Maxie Michaud's Hastings Hotel. Maxie though had left the inlet, rumoured to have returned to Paris.

The speculators in Port Moody ridiculed Granville's pretensions to be the terminus but some were not overlooking the threat.

A group of landholders, including Jonathon A. Webster, William Johnson, Henry V. Edmonds, John Johnston, W. A. Duncan, D.Chisholm, H.M. Stramberg and J. C. Armstrong won an injunction from Chief Justice Siir Matthew Begbie, which prevented the CPR crossing their property and the case went to the B.C. Supreme Courts.

While the litigation dragged on, the main line of the railway was progressing. The Marquis of Lansdowne was the first governor-general to cross Canada by land. At Revelstoke, he rode horseback across the 47-mile gap but on his return, two weeks later, he only had to ride 28 miles. On November 7, the last spike was driven at Craigellachie. A few days later Robert Mee was at the throttle of the first transcontinental train (a freight) to arrive in Port Moody.

Thanks to Vancouver, From Milltown to Metropolis by Alan Morley.

I hope you find the beauty around you.

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