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Rogers Pass National Historic Site of Canada

Designation as a National Historic Site of Canada

Rogers Pass was declared a National Historic Site in 1971 to commemorate the early route- finding, building and operation of the Canadian Pacific Railway's main line between 1881 and 1917, and the Pass' pivotal role in the development of Canada as a nation. By keeping the Rogers Pass route open through 30 difficult years of operation, the Canadian Pacific Railway had spurred the growth of other transportation linkages throughout Canada. The railway ended Canada's dependence on its waterways as transportation routes and opened up the nation's interior to settlement. Many towns grew up along the railway. Those with railway maintenance and divisional facilities expanded more rapidly. Many of the foreign railway workers settled in Canada after the line was completed, adding to the rich cultural diversity of the nation. Completion of the railway fulfilled Prime Minister John A. Macdonald's 1871 promise of a land connection to British Columbia, made when the colony joined the Canadian Confederation. It also realized Macdonald's vision of a trans-continental nation, ended the isolation of British Columbia, and helped to prevent the absorption of the colony into the United States.

Historic locomotive
Historic locomotive
© Parks Canada / R Greyell / 1974

With the declaration of Rogers Pass as a National Historic Site, presentation of the story of the pass and the railway became a priority for Parks Canada. The Rogers Pass Discovery Centre near the summit of the pass was officially opened in 1984 as the centrepiece of Rogers Pass National Historic Site.