Canada’s Harper Government commemorates the Intercolonial Railway as a National Historic Event

July 28, 2015

A press release from Parks Canada:

MONCTON, NB, July 28, 2015 /CNW/ – Robert Goguen, member of Parliament for MonctonRiverviewDieppe, on behalf of the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, today unveiled a Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque commemorating the designation of the Intercolonial Railway as a National Historic Event of Canada.

As the first railway connecting central Canada and the Maritimes, the railway opened to traffic in 1876. The railway was mutually beneficial to both the Maritimes and the central provinces by providing infrastructure that would facilitate the central provinces with access to the sea for export purposes and enable greater access to larger interior markets to the Maritimes. From its headquarters in Moncton New Brunswick, the Intercolonial Railway integrated the Maritimes into the Canadian economy. Its main line initially linked Halifax to Québec City. The railway network was later extended to Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island.

Built to fulfill the promises of Confederation, the operation of the Intercolonial was never expected to be profitable. Freight rates were kept low to promote trade between the Maritimes and central Canada, while deficits were paid by the government. It provided a number of additional benefits in return, including the provision of employment and the creation of towns and villages that sprang up along the railway route.

As our country nears its 150th birthday in 2017, the Government of Canada invites Canadians to reflect on the people, places and events that have shaped Canada into the strong, proud and free country that it is today. Canada’s national historic designations enable us to experience our rich history and heritage in a special way and play a big part in the celebration of Canada 150.

Quick Facts

  • The creation of the railway was one of the conditions demanded by the Maritime Provinces under which they would enter Confederation.
  • In 1919, Intercolonial Railway became part of the Canadian National Railways, thus completing the second transcontinental network.
  • Following the advice of the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, this national historic event was originally designated in 1976, 100 years after the railway opened to traffic.
  • Parks Canada manages a nationwide network of 167 national historic sites, 44 national parks and four national marine conservation areas that make up the rich tapestry of Canada’s cultural and natural heritage.


“The Intercolonial Railway was the first major transportation undertaken by the new Dominion of Canada and remains a significant event in our country’s history. Our Government is pleased to recognize the commemoration of the Intercolonial Railway as a national historic event of Canada.”

Mr. Robert Goguen
Member of Parliament for MonctonRiverviewDieppe

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