Creation of the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) was a task originally undertaken by the Conservative government of Sir John A. Macdonald to coerce British Columbia into joining the confederation of Canada.
As part of B.C.'s agreement to join the confederation, the government promised to build a railway linking the Pacific province to the eastern provinces within ten years of July 20, 1871.
In 1872 Sir John A Macdonald and other high-ranking politicians, swayed by bribes in the so-called Pacific scandal, granted federal contracts to the CPR Company and the Inter-Ocean Railway Company. As a result of this scandal, Sir John's party was removed from office with Alexander Mackenzie reigning as Prime Minister until October 16, 1878 when Sir John was re-elected. In 1880 construction began with $25,000,000 (approximately $625,000,000 in modern Canadian money) in credit from the Canadian government and a grant of 25,000,000 acres of land. The railway was foundering until March of 1884 the Railway Relief Bill was passed, providing a further $22,500,000 in loans to the CPR Company. On November 7, 1885 the last spike is driven in Craigellachie, B.C., making good on the original promise, albeit four years late.
Also: Canadian culture