14-Karat Gold Coin - 175th Anniversary of Canada's First Railway (2011)
Reduced mintage: only 3,000 coins available worldwide.
With a reduced mintage and a design inspired by an original painting from that era, this distinctive issue is an exclusive work of art. Exquisite detailing has been beautifully reproduced on this superb 14-karat gold coin.
Enthusiastic onlookers cheer as the steam locomotive Dorchester travels along the tracks. Based on the painting by Canadian artist J.D. Kelly (1862-1958) and provided courtesy of Rogers Communications Inc.
Passion and prosperity along the iron road
The story of Canada’s railway, a gargantuan feat of engineering, was the culmination of a 49-year long romance with the iron road that began with Canada’s first public railway in 1836.
The Champlain and St. Lawrence Rail Road was the brainchild of a group of Montreal businessmen that had noticed the prosperity the railway sparked overseas and saw its potential for Canada. In a land where roads were underdeveloped and waterways were frozen for months at a time, a railway between the St. Lawrence and Lake Champlain would significantly reduce the travel time between Montreal and New York.
Construction began in January 1835 and, by the end of the year, most of the railway’s infrastructure was in place. A steam locomotive, flatcars, baggage cars, and four passenger cars were also on order. When the locomotive Dorchester was delivered, trial runs were done at night to avoid frightening the public.
The Champlain and St. Lawrence Rail Road opened in July 1836 to a grand celebration. Lord Gosford, Governor General of Lower Canada, and Louis-Joseph Papineau were among the 300 guests to participate in Dorchester’s inaugural run. Canada’s love affair with the railway had begun. The iron road began to take off in all directions, spawning towns and cities, and ultimately uniting the nation from coast to coast.
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