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First Railway in Western Canada

On December 3, 1878, the last spike was driven at this site in Dominion City (Rural Municipality of Franklin) to complete the first railway line built in the Canadian West. Known as the Pembina Branch, it ran some 100 kilometres from St. Boniface to the international boundary at Emerson, connecting Manitoba to eastern Canada by rail through the United States. Proposed in the 1860s, this line was ultimately endorsed by Prime Minister Alexander Mackenzie in 1874 as an alternative to a more expensive all-Canadian railway line. The route brought prosperity to the region, serving as an important link with eastern Canada until the Canadian Pacific Railway reached Winnipeg in 1883. This monument, located beside the Manitoba’s Biggest Sturgeon Monument, was erected in July 2008 by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

Photo courtesy Manitoba Historical Society, full page here.

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