E and N RR Fall Colours




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E and N RR Fall Colours



The Inspiration

The Government of British Columbia in the 1 9th Century was desperate for a railway to connect the remote communities on Vancouver Island. The building of the Cariboo Trail to the
Gold Fields had left the Province almost broke so they turned to the wealth of Robert Dunsmuir for private help.

Dunsmuir was a shrewd Scot and he drove a hard bargain. In exchange for building the rail line from Victoria to Nanaimo and on to Courtenay, he received massive land, timber and mineral grants on the east coast of Vancouver Island.

The railway was built in record time and was a marvel of 1 9th Century engineering, spanning massive gorges and rivers along its route.

When the railroad was complete, Sir John A. MacDonald, Prime Minister of Canada made the trip west to open the new Island rail link. A grand reception was planned however there was to be no booze served. The railroader’s wives had been firm on this issue.

However, Dunsmuir, as usual, was ahead of the game and took Sir John A. and his entourage on a tour of the underground coal mines. The wives in their Victorian finery were of course
excluded and the men found plenty of Scotch whiskey underground—much to the wives horror.

My favourite time of year is depicted in this painting of the “E and N Railway”, when the maples turning in their fall colors arch over the tracks creating a tunnel effect. When looking
from the train, you view a kaleidescope of colours as the maples flash by the windows and salmon rivers cut a swath through the forests.


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