A small celebration was held at the Grand Central Station Restaurant last Friday to mark the 100th anniversary of the Last Spike that completed the Canadian Northern Pacific Railway near Ashcroft.
Ashcroft Terminal and the restaurant hosted CN staff, local CN retirees, politicians and community representatives who observed the occasion with speeches and a light meal.
Ashcroft Mayor Jack Jeyes read The Journal’s 1915 account of the railway’s east and west joining near Basque station. According to reports of the day, the track laying equipment was as fast as it was fascinating to the townspeople, and the men could lay an entire length in under five minutes.
MLA Jackie Tegart recounted that it must have taken enormous effort on the part of the workers to lay the tracks without the modern equipment available now, while Ashcroft Terminal president Bob Landucci noted the importance of CN in Ashcroft as well as in Canada.
CN Superintendent Francois Boucher expressed his gratitude for the hard work and sacrifice made by the workers who laid the tracks, and also his thanks to CN retirees Bob Carson, John Fosty and Savo Nicolic.
M.P. Mark Strahl had to send his regrets.
There is a point of interest plaque on Hwy 1 just north of Spences Bridge to commemorate The Canadian Northern Pacific’s Last Spike on Jan. 23, 1915, although the exact site of the last spike is not known. Reports at the time noted that many photographs were taken, but neither the Ashcroft Museum nor the event’s organizers could find any.
Read Barb Roden’s historic account in her Past, Present & Beyond column this week.