Uniting Canada One Rail at a Time: Examining the Canadian Pacific Railroad Exhibit at the Canadian Museum of History

by Jasmine Renaud

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ABSTRACT

At the Canadian Museum of History there are many issues of representation within the space; specifically within the Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR) exhibit, which is located between the ‘Ontario Street’ and ‘The King Grain Elevator’ attractions in the Canada Hall. There are many instances of disconnect between the lasting history of the railroad, and the linkages of the CPR between different parts of the Canada Hall exhibit. The CPR has a history of uniting Canada socially, economically, politically and physically. The full impact of the railroad on Canada is not displayed at the Canadian Museum of History because the different impacts are scattered amongst the timeline. There is no connecting factor between these pieces, therefore hindering the way people learn about Canadian history and see the story of the CPR. The Canadian Museum of History has a role to play in making sure that the histories displayed are displayed correctly, and ensuring that the different pieces within each exhibit can relate to each other in some way, so that the visitor can get the full story on an event’s significance.

KEY WORDS

Canadian Pacific Railroad (CPR), Representations, Linkages, Museums

BIOGRAPHY 

Jasmine Renaud is a 4th year Canadian Studies and History student at Carleton University finishing her undergraduate degree. Jasmine has an interest in the way the railroads helped shape Canada. She is also very interested in Indigenous and social histories. Upon completion of her degree at Carleton, she will be attending Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia to complete a Bachelor of Education.