Chinese Construction Workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway National Historic Event

Yale, British Columbia
Chinese work camp in Kamloops, BC ©
Chinese work camp
Chinese at work on CPR in Mountains, 1884 © work camp in Kamloops, BC ©
Address : Yale, British Columbia

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1977-06-06

Other Name(s):
  • Chinese Construction Workers on the Canadian Pacific Railway  (Designation Name)

Importance: Role of the Chinese workers in building the Canadian Pacific Railway


Existing plaque:  Yale, British Columbia

In the early 1880's contractor Andrew Onderdonk brought thousands of labourers from China to help build the Pacific Railway through the mountains of British Columbia. About three-quarters of the men who worked on the section between the Pacific and Craigellachie were Chinese. Although considered excellent workers, they received only a dollar a day, half the pay of a white worker. Hundreds of Chinese died from accidents or illness, for the work was dangerous and living conditions poor. Those who remained in Canada when the railway was completed securely established the basis of British Columbia's Chinese community.