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General Store Site 12294 Harris Road Pitt Meadows, B.C.

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Woven Through Time - Canadian Pacific Railway,

Woven Through Time - Canadian Pacific Railway

Canadian Pacific Railway


Our third layer in a very layered story of Pitt Meadows is the train. A nuisance to a lot of people, but a vital transportation link for goods and services. Today, we think of waiting by the Harris Road crossing as the train seems to take its sweet time crossing…and nope wait, it’s backing up…and our commute is ruined.

History of the CPR

The Canadian Pacific Railway was founded in 1881, to construct a transcontinental railway. The railway was completed in 1885 with the driving of the “Last Spike” at Craigellachie, B.C. The first passenger train to go across the country left Montreal on June 28, 1886, and arrived in Port Moody on July 4th, 1886.

The promise of a transcontinental railway was made by Prime Minister John A. MacDonald in 1878. This would be used as a way to help grow Canada. With transportation of goods and immigrant settlers from the east to the west of our nation. It would help boost the population westward, stopping American claims in our country.

The CPR is not without its faults. The employment of Chinese workers with completely unsafe and unregulated working conditions. Hundreds died in the building of the railway, and then once it was built, Canada taxed Chinese immigration to stop them from coming here. Another large problem was the fact that they took over Indigenous Land (as with all of us in a settler nation) with no real care or thought of what would happen to the people on those lands. They did this through the Numbered Treaties (and other methods),which had a tragic outcome for a lot of First Nation communities and have left a dark mark on Canada’s past with our indigenous nations.

For a more detailed history of the CPR click here

History of the CPR in Pitt Meadows

Before 1885 the only way into and out of Pitt Meadows was by water, principally by river boats that plied the Fraser and stopped at the dock at Bonson's landing at the foot of Bonson Road. Construction of the C.P.R. through Pitt Meadows was completed in 1885, and by 1886 the community was a stop on the train's daily milk run through the area, with one westbound train in the morning and one eastbound train in the evening. Before the arrival of good roads to the area almost everything came and went by water including the mail, produce and milk to market, and supplies and catalogue orders to residents and businesses. Gradually the roads into and around the community became better and in 1915 a car bridge (using the original single-track C.P.R. bridge the railway had just replaced) over the Pitt River was finally opened. In 1918 the B.C. Electric Company began a jitney service into the area, and in 1931 the Lougheed Highway was pushed through Pitt Meadows. A newer bridge crossed the Pitt in 1957, and a second span was put in place in 1978. With road transportation routes firmly entrenched, local reliance on the railway faded away. However, this changed in 1996 when the new West Coast Express passenger service began and the Pitt Meadows Station was built just off Harris Road behind the Old General Store building. Today the railway is a part of living in Pitt Meadows. It provides a tax base for the community with rail yards located just to the west of the Harris Road crossing, and commuters are stopped regularly by trains that cross Harris Road as often as three times each hour.


So as we wait for the train, as we all have done at some point in our lives. Take a moment to understand that historically the train was a vital part of our community. It still is today, bringing goods across the region. It might be hard for us to remember the importance of the train as yet another one crosses the tracks…wait, there are two trains?! Okay, the commute is definitely ruined now.


Discover the other layers of Pitt Meadows.